May 15, 2005
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Freshman third baseman Brad Emaus went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI as the top-ranked Tulane University baseball team clinched a share of the Conference USA regular-season championship with a 15-4, 10-run-rule shortened contest Sunday afternoon at the Billiken Sports Center.
With the game tied at 3-all after four innings, Emaus ripped a first-pitch offering from Saint Louis starter Eric Brewer off the scoreboard in right field to open the floodgates on a four-run fifth, and the Green Wave plated four more runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to clinch their first sweep at Saint Louis since 1997.
With the win, Tulane improves to 45-8 on the year and 22-5 in C-USA play. The Green Wave now hold a three-game lead on current league runner-up TCU, which Tulane will take on in the final series of the regular season starting on Thursday, May 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Turchin Stadium. Saint Louis, meanwhile, falls to 12-38 in 2005 and 7-20 in conference action.
"We swung the bats well, had some quality at-bats, and played well defensively," head coach Rick Jones said. "This club has played well all year long, but we have not won (the C-USA title) outright. We've got a big weekend coming up, it's going to be challenging for us, but the reason we're in the position we're in is because this club has been responsive to those kind of challenges.
"The last seven games have been games we've been expected to win, and that can be a tough thing to do. Sometimes you get the other team's best arm or someone gets hot at the plate, and fortunately, we've been able to come out of that successfully."
For the second time during the weekend, all nine Green Wave starters had at least one, including two-hit performances by junior centerfielder Nathan Southard, senior shortstop Tommy Manzella and senior catcher Greg Dini. Dini led all players with four RBI, while Emaus was next with three.
The Billikens got on the board first as Saint Louis loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a base hit before third baseman Drew Eder hit a sacrifice fly to right to make it a 1-0 ballgame.
Tulane took advantage of a pair of walks and big error by Brewer in the second to take the lead. Dini got the inning started with a leadoff double to center, and following walks by senior second baseman Joe Holland and senior left fielder Matt Barket, Southard hit a one hopper back to the mound. Brewer pumped twice, but his throw to the plate was high and wide, and the miscue allowed both Dini and Holland to touch the paystation.
Emaus followed with an RBI groundout to short to stake the Green Wave to a 3-1 advantage, but the Billikens stormed back in the fourth when catcher Bill Musselman walked, right fielder Neil Graser doubled, and designated hitter John Bridges ripped a two-run single through the right side of the infield to tie things up at 3-all.
The score did not remain tied for long as Southard was plunked to open the fifth before Emaus hammed his 12th home run of the season to open the floodgates on a four-run frame.
Emaus' bomb chased Brewer from the game, but reliever Etienne Ratte-Delorme could not put out the fire as junior right fielder Brian Bogusevic and junior first baseman Micah Owings ripped back-to-back, one-out doubles to push the lead to 6-3, and Dini hit a deep sacrifice fly to center, which allowed Owings to score all the way from second.
Southard and Emaus hit back-to-back singles to open the sixth, Manzella drove in one with a sacrifice fly to center, and following a strikeout and a hit batsmen, Dini hammered a three-run homer to left off Charlie Blume to make it 11-3.
Barket and Southard followed a similar script in the top of the seventh with base hits to lead off the frame, and Emaus walked to load the bases. Form there, Manzella ripped an RBI-single through the left side of the infield, Bogusevic hit into a run-scoring error, Owings followed with an RBI fielder's choice, and pinch-hitter Rustin Rebowe accounted for Tulane's final run with a sacrifice fly to center.
Following Thursday's game vs. TCU, the two teams continue the weekend on Friday at 6:30 p.m. before closing out the regular season on Saturday with first pitch slated for 2 p.m. For tickets information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.