Friday May 30, 2008Tulane Defeats Baseball, 7-4, In NCAA Opener
Down 4-1 entering the seventh inning, third-seeded Tulane (38-20-1) erupted for six runs on six hits during the frame to post a 7-4 victory over second-seeded Florida (34-23) on Friday afternoon at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional at Dick Howser Stadium. The Gators will next face the loser of tonight’s matchup between top-seeded Florida State (48-10) and fourth-seeded Bucknell (29-22-2) tomorrow at 1 p.m. in an elimination game that will be carried live on Sun Sports. The Green Wave will meet the Seminoles or Bison in a winner’s bracket tilt at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Tulane freshman reliever Nick Pepitone (4-1) threw 2.2 scoreless innings for the win, while freshman Rob Segedin recorded the final three outs for his fifth save. The Green Wave held a 15-8 advantage in hits, as sophomore Josh Prince and junior Scott Powell were each 3-for-4 and three other players chipped in with two hits apiece. Sophomore Billy Bullock (Balm, Fla.) (4-5) was roughed up for three hits and four runs in one-third of an inning to take the loss after junior starter Stephen Locke (Tampa, Fla.) worked into the seventh. Gator senior Jon Townsend (London, Ky.) clubbed a two-run homer as part of a four-run sixth, senior Bryson Barber (Pensacola, Fla.) had two doubles and freshman Riley Cooper (Clearwater, Fla.) was 2-for-4 with a stolen base.
Although Florida had a prime opportunity to begin the scoring in the third with two runners aboard and one out, junior All-American Shooter Hunt worked out of the jam. Junior Teddy Foster (Jacksonville, Fla.) had drawn a one-out walk and junior Avery Barnes (High Springs, Fla.) followed with the Gators’ first hit of the afternoon with a single into left center. The fireballer struck out sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and had sophomore Cole Figueroa’s (Tallahassee, Fla.) grounder force Barnes at second.
The Green Wave mounted a two-out rally in the top of the fourth, as juniors Sam Honeck and Drew Allain came through with consecutive singles for runners on the corners. However, the game remained deadlocked when junior Andrew Rodgers was called out on batter’s interference.
Tulane loaded the bases with none out in the fifth and broke the ice against Locke on a fielder’s choice by junior Seth Henry (2-for-4). Prince started things off with a double to right center, Powell legged out a bunt and junior Anthony Scelfo was hit by a pitch to fill the sacks. Henry hit a grounder to freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.), who stepped on third base and threw over to Townsend at second to complete the double play as Prince came across with the initial run.
In the bottom of the inning, Cooper poked a leadoff single and moved into scoring position with his fourth stolen base. After Cooper went to third on Barnes’ fly ball to center, Hunt closed the frame with another punch-out of den Dekker.
UF exploded for four runs on four hits in the home part of the sixth to seize a 4-1 lead and chase Hunt. Figueroa stroked a single down the right-field line and senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, Fla.) bashed his 12th double to score his teammate all the way from first base for a 1-1 score. Adams laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance McArthur but Hunt threw the ball wide of first base, scoring McArthur and allowing Adams to occupy third. With one down, Townsend launched his fourth homer off the scoreboard overlooking left field for a three-run margin. Over 5.1 innings, Hunt surrendered seven hits and four runs (three earned), with five strikeouts and two walks.
Tulane countered with six runs on six hits, two wild pitches and a walk in the seventh to take a 7-4 lead. Back-to-back singles by junior pinch hitter Aja Barto and Prince to open the stanza prompted a Florida pitching change. Bullock replaced Locke (6.0 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 K) and permitted a bunt to Powell that loaded the bases. The right-hander uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Barto to score and gave up an RBI single to Scelfo that brought in Price and narrowed the gap to 4-3. Henry evened the contest with a base-knock into left and Segedin earned a free pass to fill the sacks again with none out. Another wild pitch by Bullock gave the Green Wave the lead and a sacrifice fly into left field by junior Jared Dyer increased the margin to 6-4. Sophomore Tony Davis (Cooper City, Fla.) was summoned from the bullpen and struck out Honeck before sophomore Kyle Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.) yielded a two-out RBI single up the middle to Allain to put the Gators down by three runs.
Sophomore Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, Fla.) began the ninth with a walk to end the afternoon for Pepitone, who permitted only an eighth-inning double by Barber. Segedin moved over from third base to take the hill and had Barnes line out to shortstop before den Dekker grounded into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.