May 30, 2003
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Green Wave plated five runs in the eighth inning and junior reliever Joey Charron tossed 3.0 scoreless innings of relief as the Tulane University baseball team defeated third-seeded UNC-Wilmington 8-3 in the first round of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional Friday evening at Alex Box Stadium.
Tulane (44-17), the No. 2 seed, pounded out 15 hits in the win, including three each by senior centerfielder Jonny Kaplan and sophomore second baseman Tommy Mazella, but none was more important than sophomore designated hitter Wes Swackhamer's three run homer in the eighth to give Tulane a five-run lead. With the win, Tulane advance in the winner's bracket where the Green Wave will face host and top-seeded LSU at 3 p.m. UNC-Wilmington (38-22), meanwhile, dropped to the loser's bracket and will take on No. 4 seed Northeastern at 11 a.m. in an elimination game.
With the game knotted at 3-3 and the Green Wave stranding 11 runners after seven and a half innings of play, junior catcher Brian Bormaster got things going with a leadoff single, and Kaplan followed with a double to left. UNC-Wilmington left fielder Chip Grawey's throw hit Bormaster on the way to third, and skipped into the Green Wave dugout which allowed Bormaster to score the go-ahead run. Kaplan went to third on the play, and junior shortstop Tony Giarratano brought him home with a single up the middle to make it 5-3.
2003 Conference USA Player of the Year Michael Aubrey single to center in the next at-bat, forcing the Seahawks to make a pitching change, but Swackhamer belted the first offering from Chris Coughlin over the wall in straight-away center to account for the final score.
Tulane got on the board first in the third inning when Kaplan hit a leadoff homer to left center. Following back-to-back walks by Aubrey and Swackhamer, rookie right fielder Brian Bogusevic came through with an RBI-single to right to put Tulane ahead 2-0.
The Seahawks cut the lead in half in the fourth when first baseman Matt Wright hit a leadoff single, advanced the bases on a pair of groundouts, and scored on a single by designated hitter Jason Schindler. UNCW tied the score on an unearned run off Green Wave freshman starter Billy Mohl in the fifth when Pat Murphy hit a leadoff single and third baseman Brad Denson reached on a sacrifice bunt attempt that Mohl could not handle. Grawey's fly ball to right allowed Murphy to advance to third, and the Seahawks used the extra out to its advantage on hitter later when Wright lifted a sacrifice fly to center.
Tulane answered in the home half of the frame as Swackhamer led off the inning with a single, advance the bases on a wild pitch and a single by Manzella, and touched the paystation courtesy of an RBI-base knock off the bat of freshman left fielder Nathan Southard.
UNC-Wilmington refused to go away, however, and tied the game in the top of the sixth to score on Tulane starter Billy Mohl as Schindler roped a one-out double to left and scored two hitters later on an Aaron Smith single through the right side of the infield.
The Seahawks had the Green Wave in a tight spot in the top of the seventh as nine-hole hitter Denson reached on an error before Grawey and Wright followed with bunt singles to load the bases with nobody out. From there, however, Charron (4-7) struck out Jamie Hemingway on three changeups and got clean-up hitter Matt Sutton to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to get Tulane out of the inning unscathed.
Mohl gave the Green Wave an admirable effort, giving up three runs - two earned - on seven hits while walking one and striking out three in 6.0 innings. Seahawks starter Brad Overton did not fare as well, however, lasting just 2.1 innings, giving up a pair of earned runs on three hits while walking four and striking out one.
2003 Baton Rouge Regional Results/Schedule
Friday, May 30 Game 1: No. 1 LSU def.. No. 4 Northeastern, 11-8 Game 2: No. 2 Tulane def. No. 3 UNC-Wilmington, 8-3
Saturday, May 31 Game 3: UNC-Wilmington vs. Northesastern, 11 a.m. Game 4: Tulane vs. LSU, 3:00 p.m. Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 1 Game 6: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 1:00 p.m. Game 7: Same Teams Play If Necessary