May 12, 2006
METAIRIE, La. - Sophomore right-hander Sean Morgan struck out nine, and sophomore second baseman Brad Emaus ripped an RBI-double down the left field line in the fourth to break a 1-all tie as the Tulane University baseball team defeated Conference USA-rival Southern Miss, 2-1, Friday afternoon in the series opener at Zephyr Field.
Morgan (8-4) earned the fourth win in his last five starts, allowing one run on four hits in an 8.0-inning start, and junior closer Daniel Latham pitched his way around a leadoff single in the ninth to set a C-USA record with the 31st save of his career. Latham, who now has 12 saves on the year, broke the record formerly held by USF's Joey Livingston, who had 30 saves from 2001-04.
"We got a great pitching performance by Sean Morgan," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "Daniel Latham sets the Conference USA saves record, and we played great defense. The ball wasn't carrying as much today, but Sean just made some great pitches. Once he got out of the first inning, he was great. He cruised after that."
With the win - Tulane's sixth in a row, 13th in its last 14 games and 14th in its last 16 contests - the Green Wave improve to 35-16 overall and 11-8 in league play. Southern Miss, meanwhile, saw its winning streak halted at five as the Golden Eagles fall to 34-17 on the year and 10-9 in C-USA action.
Since the turn of the century, meetings between the Tulane and Southern Miss have been all about offense. In the last 24 meetings between the two clubs, the Green Wave have outscored the Golden Eagles 204-125.
On Friday, however, the game was decided by just one run for the first time in the series since Tulane claimed a 5-4 victory on March 30, 2003, in Hattiesburg, Miss. The 2-1 score was the lowest run output between the two teams since April 7, 1979, when Southern Miss claimed a 2-0 decision in the second half of a doubleheader at the old USM Baseball Stadium.
Maddox's homer would be the only offense of the day for the Golden Eagles, though, as Morgan faced just three more than the minimum over his final seven frames. He retired the side in order four times, and allowed only two runners to get as far as second base after the first inning.
Southern Miss starter Barry Bowden (2-2) was equally up to the task, but gave up a leadoff walk to senior centerfielder Nathan Southard in the fourth, and Emaus smoked a hot shot down the third-base line that ricocheted off the fence down the left field line which allowed the speedy Southard to score what proved to be the winning run all the way from first.
"Emaus put a real good swing on that ball, and we were a bit fortunate that it got down the line," Jones said. "But he put a good,short swing on it. If he gets that swing going consistently and gets hot for us, then we're a lot better club because he's such a talented player. That was a big boost for us."
Bowden allowed just one more hit the rest of his outing, before being replaced by Matt Caire, who retired all four Green Wave batters he faced, including three by strikeout.
The Golden Eagles had the tying run at second base in the ninth when designated hitter Michael Ewing hit a single through the right side of the infield, was replaced by pinch runner Chris Matesich, and Matesich advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of catcher Kevin Coker. From there, Latham got a pair of routine fly balls to center to break the tie with Livingston atop the C-USA saves record book.
Tulane and Southern Miss continue the series on Saturday, May 13, at noon, before closing out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on the flagship station of Tulane baseball, WRBH 88.3 FM, and will be simulcast on WODT 1280 AM, The Sports Monster. In addition, the games can be heard on the internet at www.TulaneGreenWave.com to subscribers of the All-Access Pass, and live stats are provided free via GameTracker.
For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at 504-861-WAVE. The Ticket Office has recently returned to its usual location on the first floor of the James W. Wilson, Jr. Center. Tickets can also be purchased on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com or www.TicketMaster.com, or via walkup at the Zephyr Field Ticket Office, which is located on the third base side of the stadium and opens two hours prior to first pitch.