Tulane starter Sean Morgan had a 1.5 earned run average, 60 strikeouts and just ten walks in getting the start in the first night of Conference USA play among league teams. But in the first inning, Morgan walked five Herd batters, including the first three, and trailed 3-0 without surrendering a hit to the Herd. Marshall starter Jeremy Sloan was cruising into the third when catcher Thad Ledford and first baseman Brendan Murphy mis-played a foul ball in front of the Herd dugout. That led to a three-run inning for Tulane and a tie ball game, thanks to a two-run home run by left fielder Anthony Scelfo of Tulane when there should have already been three outs. If the name Scelfo sounds familiar to Herd fans, he is the newphew of former MU football assistant coach and former Tulane head football coach Chris Scelfo.
Tulane would add two runs in the fifth and sixth, including a solo home run by Tulane first baseman Tim Guidry. But then Sloan buckled down, setting down the Green Wave in the seventh and eighth innings without a hit. Sloan pitched eight innings, allowing seven runs (all earned) on 10 hits with four strikeouts and one walk. In the meantime, Marshall rallied with one run in the seventh to cut the score to 7-4, but left the bases loaded. Then the Herd tied the game in the eighth inning with the big blow coming off the bat of left, then right, fielder Brit Vincent, whose two-run single to right tied the game at 7-7 with a hit off Latham. The Herd brought Nick Wolle in to pitch the ninth and two of C-USA's best relievers dueled into extra-innings.
Both pitchers set down the opponent in the ninth and tenth innings. In the top of the 11th, Tulane got a one-out hit by DH Jonny Weiss, followed by a hit by Jared Dyer. With pinch runner Scott Powell in for Weiss, Seth Henry laid down a perfect bunt on the safety squeeze to plate Powell for a 8-7 lead. In the Herd's last chance, Vincent led off with another hit but Murphy hit into a double play and Casamassima grounded out to give Tulane (17-7, 1-0 C-USA) the victory, the fourth consecutive close regular season win over the Herd. Wolle (1-1, six saves) took the loss while Latham got the win (2-0), throwing four innings of four hit, one run baseball with three strikeouts and no walks. Wolle pitched three innings, also with just one run, four hits and a strikeout. Vincent was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. Ledford was 2-for-5 and Nate Lape picked up his first hit in a Herd uniform after transferring from North Carolina when he doubled in the eighth inning.
The teams will meet in game two on Saturday at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W.Va. at Noon. The series wraps up on Sunday at 11 a.m. All C-USA games for the Herd at Appalachian Power Park can be heard on WRVC 930 AM, ESPN Radio for the Tri-State. Tickets are $7 for adults at the park.