Baseball Earns Trip to Conference USA Finals



May 22, 1999

MILLINGTON, Tenn. - Tulane's (44-15) flawless defense and power hitting pushed the Green Wave past Southern Miss (38-21) 13-7 and advanced them to the 1999 Conference USA Championship game.

Southern Miss owned a 7-6 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, as lead off hitter Jake Gautreau smashed a solo home run over the centerfield wall to even the game. Mickey McKee then reached on a single to center and stole second. With one runner on, Jake Burnham powered his 18th home run to right, and gave Tulane a 9-7 advantage. Prior to the homer, Burnham failed to record a hit in his last 21 at bats.

Jason Sparks gave the Wave four insurance runs in the eighth, as he pounded his first grand slam of the season. Tulane went on to defeat USM 13-7.

Jeremiah Hood (1-0), who relieved Green Wave starter Raul Echeverz in the seventh, picked up his first collegiate victory. Echeverz went 6 1/3 innings, gave up five hits and five runs. Closer Brandon Belanger chalked his 15 save of the year, as he pitched two scoreless innings.

Six of Southern Miss' seven runs were recorded as Jonathan Broadus and DeQuincy Scott each hit three -run homers.

For Tulane, Gautreau went 4-for-5 with three runs, five RBI and a triple shy of going the cycle. Sparks recorded a season high five RBI, and went 1-for-4.

Tulane plays Houston in the Conference USA Championship for the third time in four years on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The game is to be braodcast on Fox Sports Net, www.broadcast.com, TeamLine and 88.3 WRBH FM.