Tulane tops LSU at Superdome

NEW ORLEANS – The combination of timely Tulane hitting and costly LSU errors led to a 9-5 win Tuesday night for the Green Wave.<br><br>The biggest crowd for a college baseball game this year, 16,423, was at the Louisiana Superdome to see Tulane claim the best-of-three series with the Tigers.

The Green Wave (33-13) beat LSU 5-4 in 11 innings at Zephyr Stadium on March 11, and lost to the Tigers in Baton Rouge, 8-0, on April 15.

LSU (30-14-1) cut a 6-1 Tulane lead down to two runs in the top of the fifth inning, but let the Green Wave pull away in the bottom half when Jon Zeringue muffed Michael Aubrey's fly ball to right field. The error came with two outs and two men on, and after Tulane had added a run on a wild pitch.

"Just a couple of errors killed us," said Zeringue, who told reporters he lost Aubrey's fly ball in the lights. "Without the errors, it would have been a 5-5 game."

Tulane took a 3-0 lead in the second inning when Johnny Kaplan hit a two-out double to left field with the bases loaded. The Green Wave added an unearned run in the third, and answered LSU's first run with two more in the bottom of the fourth inning.

"Their pitchers are always throwing well," said Kaplan. "Tonight we had a good approach and threw something back."

Jake Tompkins (1-5), the winning pitcher for LSU from the April 15 game, gave up the first six runs to Tulane in 3 2/3 innings before being lifted for Greg Smith. Tulane scored its final three runs against Smith, who rallied and held the Green Wave to one hit in their final three at-bats.

Tulane starter Billy Mohl held the Tigers to one run over the first four innings, but crumbled in the fifth inning when the Tigers strung together four hits. Ryan Patterson followed Ivan Naccarata's lead-off single with a home run to left field. It was his tenth of the season, tying him with Clay Harris for the team lead.

Mohl left the game after Patterson's homer, but Zeringue greeted Brian Bogusevic (3-1) with a homer of his own, another blast to left for his ninth long ball of the year.

Matt Liuzza singled next but was thrown out at first after straying away from bag on a wild pitch that Tulane catcher Brian Bormaster tracked down and threw to Michael Aubrey for the tag. Bogusevic rallied to strike out the next two LSU hitters and seemingly stifled the Tigers' momentum.

LSU leads its series Tulane 159-119-3, but Green Wave head coach Rick Jones said winning the series with the Tigers this year was important beyond the long-standing rivalry.

"It's big in the fact that we can build on it," said Jones. "It helps the RPI and our cause. If we continue to play well, it improves our chances in the postseason of hosting, which is our goal."

"We were taking this game seriously," said Aubrey. "We want to use the momentum from this game because we want to earn ourselves a regional so we don't have to play in one at Baton Rouge."

The Green Wave heads into their weekend Conference USA series with Cincinnati at Turchin Stadium in third place in the league standings.

LSU leads the Southeastern Conference and will host UNO Wednesday at Alex Box Stadium before going to Starkville, Miss., for three games with Mississippi State.

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