May 31, 2003
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Green Wave bats hammered out 13 hits, including a 4-for-5 showing by freshman left fielder Nathan Southard and a 3-for-4 performance by junior first baseman Michael Aubrey, but it was not enough as the Tulane University baseball team dropped a heart-breaking 9-8 decision to UNC-Wilmington in 10 innings Saturday evening in the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional at Alex Box Stadium.
With runners at first and second with only one away in the bottom of the 10th, Seahawk right fielder Matt Sutton belted a single through the right side of the infield to score Chip Grawey from second to send UNCW (40-22) to Championship Sunday where they will take on host LSU at 1 p.m. Tulane, meanwhile, concludes its season at 44-19.
The Green Wave, who were coming off a tough 13-5 loss to LSU earlier in the day, battled all day long and found themselves on the wrong side of a 7-6 score going into the ninth inning. Junior shortstop Tony Giarratano led off the frame with a single up the middle, but was erase two batters later on a 5-4 fielder's choice off the bat of sophomore designated hitter Wes Swackhamer.
It looked like Tulane's season would end in the ninth as freshman right fielder Brian Bogusevic hit a ground ball right at Seahawk shortstop Aaron Smith, but the ball skipped off the lip of the infield grass and scooted into the outfield. From there, the ball got away from Grawey in left and Swackhamer scored the tying run courtesy of the error.
Freshman reliever Brandon Gomes stranded a leadoff single at second in the bottom of the frame, and Tulane took the lead in top of the 10th as Southard hit a leadoff single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by reserve third baseman Tim Guidry, and came around to score on an RBI single by junior catcher Brian Bormaster.
From there, Tulane called on junior reliever Joey Charron to put out the fire, but Sutton turned on the first offering from the southpaw to account for the winning run.
Gomes, who came on in relief of starter Cory Hahn in the sixth, was nailed with the loss despite a gutsy 4.1 inning performance to fall to 2-1 on the year. Cross (4-4), meanwhile, earned the win with a 5.0 inning showing in relief, giving up two runs (one earned) on eight hits while striking out seven and walking none.
Tulane jumped on the Seahawks early as Aubrey belted a two-out home run over the wall in center to stake the Green Wave to a 1-0 lead in the first, but UNC-Wilmington got a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI-single by Sutton and a two-out double by second baseman Russ Simmerman to take the lead.
The Green Wave tied the score in the second on an RBI-groundout by Bormaster to plate sophomore second baseman Tommy Manzella from third. Following a scoreless third, the Green Wave appeared to break the game open with a four-run fourth that included a trio of stolen bases and a two-run bomb by Bogusevic.
UNC-Wilmington, however, had other ideas and scratched across three runs in the bottom of the frame courtesy of a two-run homer by Hemingway and an RBI-groundout by Simmerman to cut the lead to 6-5. The Seahawks tied the score in the sixth when catcher Neal Eichhorn reached on a strikeout/wild pitch, and pinch-runner Robert White advanced the bases on a single and sacrifice bunt before touching the paystation on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Wright.
UNCW retook the lead in the eighth on a two-out RBI-double by Hemingway to score Grawey all the way from first before Tulane mounted a rally in the top of the ninth.