May 18, 2007
METAIRIE, La. - Perhaps it was only too appropriate that the fire alarms at Zephyr Field sounded a moment before senior catcher Ty Wallace stepped to the plate with two on and the score knotted at 2-2 in the eighth inning of Friday afternoon's baseball game between Tulane and Chicago State.
With Wallace representing the hottest hitter in the lineup recently - he entered the ballgame hitting .406 in the last nine ballgames - a brushfire outside of the stadium caused the alarm to go off and smoke could be seen billowing in from the third-base side of the grandstand.
Unfazed by the distraction of the noise or the puffs of smoke, Wallace capped a 3-for-4 showing by hammering a two-run single to centerfield to lift the Green Wave to a 4-2 win over Jaguars.
"I saw the smoke, but that's happened a million times during the year and nobody leaves," Wallace said. "The fire alarm has gone off several times during practice, and we just continue to work through it. I just try and go up there and get a hit every time. If it works out, it works out. If not, I'm going to take a hack. I guess it's a big hit. It got us up and I'm just glad that it did."
Wallace led all players with three hits, including a double in the sixth, and accounted for all four of the Green Wave's runs. After reaching on a fielder's choice in the second, he advanced to third on a double by sophomore centerfielder Anthony Scelfo and scored one hitter later when junior left fielder Rustin Rebowe lifted a sacrifice fly to right to give Tulane a 1-0 advantage.
The score would remain 2-0 until the sixth when the Cougars used a two-out rally of their own to cut the lead in half. Shortstop Alex Hall singled to center, and like Wallace, was able to score all the way from first on a double off the bat of designated hitter Sean Murphy.
Chicago State tied things up in the seventh when right fielder Bryan Packard drew a leadoff walk, advanced the bases on a pair of 6-3 groundouts, and after a walk to nine-hole hitter Chris Goya, scored on a single by left fielder Thomas Creal.
After Hall walked to open the eight, Tulane head coach Rick Jones went to the bullpen and brought in rookie southpaw Aaron Loup. Loup responded by retiring all six batters he faced, including two via strikeouts, to help set up Wallace's eighth-inning heroics.
"When you're going down the same road we've been going down for a while, you have to have something that looks like a real positive happen," Jones said. "I thought Aaron Loup was that on the mound. He shut those guys down. I thought (starter) Sean (Morgan) pitched very, very well, but Aaron was really good in relief there. That was tremendous stuff."
With the score knotted at 2-all heading into the bottom of the eighth, junior second baseman Brad Emaus got things going with a leadoff single through the left side of the infield. Emaus' single chased CSU starter Kyle Kupiec from the ballgame and Murphy turned in his role as the DH for time on the mound.
Sophomore designated hitter Warren McFadden, who went 2-for-4 on the day, greeted Murphy rudely with a base hit to left, and Wallace turned on a 2-2 offering for what proved to be the game-winning base hit.
"What can I say?" Chicago State interim head coach Husain Mahmoud asked rhetorically after the game. "(Wallace) killed us all day. We couldn't get him out. One time, we had the ball in the glove and dropped it, we didn't get the guy out all day. He scored two runs and had two RBI - including the game-winning RBI. We just didn't do a good job on him."
Tulane starting pitcher Sean Morgan turned in an admirable performance, striking out nine while allowing a pair of runs on four hits and five walks in seven-plus innings. Loup (2-0) picked up the win after tossing 2.0 innings of perfect baseball.
Kupiec (0-4) was tagged with the loss after giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks in seven-plus innings. Murphy, meanwhile, was touched up for one run on two hits in his lone inning of work.
Tulane and Chicago State close out the regular season on Saturday with first pitch slated for noon. Prior to the start of the ballgame, the Tulane Athletics Department will recognize several baseball student-athletes who have completed their degrees during the spring semester. In addition, the team will also recognize its six-member senior class - pitchers J.R. Crowell, Matt Goebel, Brandon Gomes and Daniel Latham, first baseman Tim Guidry, and Wallace - with a special ceremony.
For ticket information to Saturday's regular-season finale, as well as C-USA Tournament packages, contact the Tulane Athletics ticket office at (504) 861-WAVE. Tickets can also be purchased on the day of the game at the Zephyr Field Ticket Office, which is located on the third-base side of the stadium and opens approximately two hours before first pitch.