June 11, 2005
NEW ORLEANS - Junior first baseman Micah Owings went 3-for-4 with a double, and junior centerfielder Nathan Southard sparked a four-run seventh with a two-run homer, but it was not enough as the Tulane University baseball team dropped game one of the NCAA New Orleans Super Regional to Rice, 9-5, Saturday afternoon at Turchin Stadium.
The Owls jumped out to a 7-0 advantage after three and a half innings, and pounded out 16 hits through five innings. Redshirt-sophomore Brandon Gomes, who came in for starter Brian Bogusevic at the beginning of the fifth, held Rice scoreless over the final four innings and retired 12 in a row at one point. The early deficit, however, proved to be too big to overcome.
"We just got behind too many too early," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "This is uncharacteristic of us. Everything Rice hit had eyes. They hit some balls well, but the balls they didn't had eyes - and that's going to happen sometimes - and they took advantage.
"I thought in the first four innings, they played great and we didn't play well. When that happens, the score is going to be what it was. The thing I would say is that you saw our club came back. I feel confident in our club still and I know we'll be ready to play tomorrow."
With the loss, Tulane falls to 53-10 on the year and finds itself in a must-win situation on Sunday in game two of the best-of-three Super Regional, which is slated to begin at noon. Rice, meanwhile, improves to 45-17 overall, and needs just one win over the next two days to advance to the College World Series. If Tulane wins on Sunday, the two teams will play again on Monday, and first pitch of that contest is still undecided.
Following a scoreless third, Rice added another run on a sacrifice fly by Pendleton. The Green Wave made some noise in the home half of the fourth as Owings and sophomore left fielder Mark Hamilton singled and pinch hitter Bogusevic walked to load the bases with only one out, and senior right fielder Matt Barket slapped a shot off the wall in right. Tulane, however, would only get one run out of Barket's hit, and the Owls posted a double play as the throw back in caught Barket drifting too far off the bag for the second out of the inning.
Rice would get out of the inning without any more damage done, and plated some insurance in the top of the fifth when shortstop Josh Rodriguez hit an RBI-single, and designated hitter Adam Rogers brought him home with a run-scoring single to make it 9-1.
Gomes kept Rice off the board the rest of the day, and the Green Wave began a comeback in the seventh when senior second baseman Joe Holland hit a leadoff double to set up Southard's two-run bomb in the ensuing at-bat. From there, senior shortstop Tommy Manzella and Owings hit back-to-back singles and Manzella scored on a two-base fielding error by Pendleton to cut the lead to five.
Cole St. Clair came on in relief of starter Josh Geer following the error, and promptly issued back-to-back walks to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Barket. Bobby Bell, who replaced St. Clair after his second walk, got a come-back fielder's choice and a groundball to third to end the frame.
Tulane had the leadoff man aboard in the eighth and runners at second and third in the ninth, but Bell was able to pitch himself out of the two jams to earn his first save of the year. Geer (12-4) earned the win after giving up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits while striking out three and walking four in 6.1 innings of work. Bogusevic (13-2) was not as fortunate as the big lefty allowed seven runs on 12 hits while striking out four and walking three in 4.0 frames.