May 17, 2001
NEW ORLEANS -- Tulane overcame a three-run deficit with four runs in the seventh and went on to take a 9-7 victory over Cincinnati on the second day of the FedEx Conference USA Baseball Championship Thursday at Zephyr Field. The sixth-ranked and top-seeded Green Wave improved to 46-10 with the victory while No. 4 seed Cincinnati fell to 34-24.
In the seventh, Jon Kaplan's two-run single plated Matt Groff and Anthony Giarratano to tie the game at seven and Andy Cannizaro followed with an RBI single to give Tulane an 8-7 lead which they would not relinquish. Starting pitcher Michael Aubrey walked to open the inning and Groff followed with a double to chase Cincinnati starter Tony Maynard. UC reliever and eventual loser Curtus Moak (6-4) struck out Jay Heintz before walking Giarratano to load the bases. Moak then hit pinch-hitter James Burgess to bring the Green Wave within two at 7-5 and set the stage for Kaplan and Cannizaro.
Aubrey added a solo home run in the eighth, his 13th of the season, to provide the final margin.
Melius, a senior from Metairie, La., relieved Aubrey in the seventh and retired all eight batters he faced to pick up his team-leading 10th win of the season and improve his record to 10-1 on the year.
"I thought this was a good win today," said Tulane Head Coach Rick Jones. "We didn't play our best, but we scrapped pretty well. We were fortunate to get some clutch hits late in the game. Kappy (Jon Kaplan) had two huge RBI and Michael Aubrey's home run gave us some breathing room. I thought it was a good team effort."
Groff had three hits on the day to lead Tulane's 12-hit attack while Heintz, Aubrey and Jake Gautreau tallied two hits each. Seven different players drove in runs for Tulane, led by Kaplan.
Cannizaro said the Wave did not get nervous about trailing late in the elimination game. "We knew that we have won something like 13 games in our last at-bat, so nobody panicked," he said. "We knew it was a nine-inning game and that we would push some runs across. You always want to play your best ball at the end, so hopefully this win will help get us on a roll."
Tulane will take on the loser of tonight's game between Charlotte and Memphis Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Zephyr Field on day three of the tournament.