Sophomore left fielder Mark Hamilton went 4-for-5 with a double, a three-run homer and a grand slam in Friday's 17-7 NCAA New Orleans Regional win over Southern (AP).
June 3, 2005
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Sophomore left fielder Mark Hamilton went 4-for-5 with a double, two home runs and seven RBI, and junior centerfielder Nathan Southard added a career-high five hits as the top-ranked Tulane University baseball team defeated Southern, 17-7, Friday afternoon in the opening game of the 2005 NCAA New Orleans Regional at Turchin Stadium.
Southern scored runs in five of the first seven innings, but the Green Wave used a pair of five-run frames to take a commanding lead. The Jaguars made things interesting in the eighth as Southern loaded the bases and had the tying run at the plate, but sophomore reliever Daniel Latham got a popup to end the threat. From there, Tulane blew the game open with a six-run eighth and the Green Wave celebration was on.
"It was what I thought it was going to be...a really tough ballgame," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "Everyone who saw it knows that the final score is not indicative of how tough that game was.
"(Hamilton) was a great hitter coming out of Texas and had some wrist injuries and vision problems last year, and this year he's missed a lot of BP and had to be held out of some games because of some more wrist injuries. But now he is starting to really get into a groove because he's getting the reps he needs. Today, you saw the Mark Hamilton we recruited - a guy who is zoned in, and in RBI situations, is very aggressive and getting a good bat on the ball."
With Hamilton and Southard leading the way, all nine starters had at least one base hit, including a 3-for-6 showing by freshman third baseman Brad Emaus, who ripped a pair of doubles and drove in four. Tulane's 21 hits are the second most in school postseason play, falling just two shy of the mark set by the 1986 team in a 16-6 win over Western Kentucky in the NCA South I Regional.
With the win, Tulane improves to 51-9 on the year and advances in the winner's bracket at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, where it will play the winner of tonight's Alabama/Louisiana-Lafayette game-two matchup. The loser of that contest will play Southern in an elimination game on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Following a scoreless first, Southern drew first blood in the second as the first four batters to come to the plate all singled, including a two-RBI hit by designated hitter Darren Clark to give the Jaguars a 2-0 advantage. The lead did not last long, though as the Green Wave loaded the bases before Southard delivered a two-out RBI single and Emaus cleared the bases with a three-run double off the wall in left to make it a 5-2 affair.
The Jaguars cut the lead to two in the third, and two innings later, made it a one-run ballgame when centerfielder Demarcus Coats hammered a fifth-inning, leadoff homer to left. In the bottom of the inning, though, the Green Wave sandwiched a pair of walks around a base hit by senior catcher Greg Dini, and Hamilton made the free passes hurt with a grand slam over the wall in straight-away center.
Southard and Emaus hit back-to-back doubles later in the frame to make it a 10-4, but the Jaguars continued to battle. Southern got a run in the sixth on an RBI-double by third baseman Kevin Cox, and added a pair of runs in the seventh on an RBI-triple by right fielder Gerald Gause and a run-scoring single off the bat of left fielder Demetrius Myles to cut the lead to 10-7.
Senior shortstop Tommy Manzella pushed the lead back to four with an RBI-single in the seventh, but the Jaguars got a two-out rally going in the top of the eighth when Coats was hit by a pitch and catcher Brandon Mason and first baseman Kevin Nelson drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Latham thwarted the rally to claim his 10th save of the season, and the Green Wave halted any talks of a ninth-inning comeback with six runs in the bottom of the eighth, including a three-run bomb by Hamilton.
NOTES: Tulane's win over Southern is the third consecutive over the Jaguars, and all three came in NCAA Regional play...all nine starters had at least one hit for the 11th time in 2005, and the Green Wave are 11-0 in those games...Mark Hamilton's seven RBI is one off the school single-game record of eight (Tom Morton vs. Virginia Tech on 3/26/82 and Mickey McKey vs. Southern Miss on 5/9/98), but is a school record in NCAA postseason play...Daniel Latham's save gives the Green Wave a school-record 19 in 2005...Latham now ranks tied for fourth in single-season saves, and fourth in career saves with 16.