Notes From NOLA

NEW ORLEANS - Matt Snyder took quite a self-inflicted hit on his left shoulder when he dove into first base trying to get a runner out on an unassisted play, which he successfully did. But it came at some price, at least in the short term.

Snyder dislocated his shoulder and is out of action for the rest of the weekend, and nobody really knows when he will return. But the sophomore first baseman says it won't be long.

"I'm allright," he said. "It was a pretty big play, bases loaded, two outs. I really, really wanted to get the out for the team, you know. I wanted to make sure there was no shot he would be safe."

Snyder knew immediately that beating out Nick Boullosa would be a challenge.

"I saw he was a pretty quick runner," Matt said. "I got the ball, and I wanted to get there as fast as I could. When I dove, I think my arm was a little bent. Once I hit the ground, it just popped out. I'll be allright."

Snyder said it had happened to him before.

"My first scrimmage of my junior year (in high school)," Matt said. "It hurts. But I'm pretty happy with what the doctors and trainers think. I won't miss very much time at all. It feels fine right now. It might be pretty quick."

It's been a tough month for the Snyder twins. Mike had an appendectomy not long before the first game, and then he injured a finger in pregame warm-ups last weekend.

"I know," Matt said of the hard-luck Snyders. "But we'll be allright."

Sports Center Highlight

Tim Ferguson made one of Friday night's most important plays when he robbed Cody Robinson of a multiple-scoring hit in the bottom of the seventh.

"It was close," the Rebel junior said of the ball going over the wall. "I know it was over the fence."

Which means the athletic Ferguson had to make a sensational, well-timed play to catch it for the second out. Then he had to think quickly as the runners were on the move. He threw it into Kevin Mort, who launched a throw to Miles Hamblin at first for a threat-ending double play.

"I caught it, turned, and wheeled it into Mort," Ferguson said of the completion of the play. "He did the rest."

Ferguson said he had given the play some thought beforehand.

"I knew the guy on first was going to be going, because we were up three runs at that point," he said. "I knew he was going to be trying to score. I did throw it to where I wanted it, and (Mort) did a good job getting it."

Ferguson said they work on just that situation daily.

"We practice it all the time," he said. "You do it, but you never think it's going to happen."

Surely their preparation paid off Friday night.

Mileage For Miles

Miles Hamblin wasn't supposed to play Friday night. But when Snyder went out, Hamblin went in.

The juco junior had struggled mightily at the plate to date. But Friday night he was a real key to victory, with a three-run home run and a single. Although he had already hit a home run this season, those swats Friday night were only the third and fourth hits for him this season.

"It's been tough," Hamblin said of his start to the season. "The whole team has had my back. I just kept believing in myself. So that's what I've been doing."

Hamblin said the home run came at an opportune time for him and for the team.

"It was a fast ball," he said. "I got a good part of the barrel on it. I didn't know (it was a home run). I knew it was in the gap. About when I got to second, I knew."

Bad Decision

Tulane made the biggest mistake of its athletic life back in 1966. The Green Wave, a charter member, left the SEC.

Georgia Tech had done so two years before that, in 1964. But the Yellow Jackets, after many years of wandering, landed on their feet when the ACC took them in.

Tulane and Georgia Tech were once in the same conference, even after they both left the SEC. That was the Metro Conference, and it was a basically the equivalent of today's Conference USA. Memphis, Louisville and Cincinnati were members.

So was South Carolina, another school that landed upright after leaving a power conference. The Gamecocks were ACC members before leaving that league and ending up in the Metro, then the SEC. Florida State was in the Metro, too, but wound up in the ACC, like Tech. The Metro was basically a basketball and spring sports league.

The bottom line is Tulane, like Vanderbilt, would still be a member in good standing in the SEC if it hadn't struck out on its own. What were they thinking and who was doing the thinking?

Tulane could be a part of that huge SEC TV pie. They could be on the tube several times a season. They could be drawing 35,000, maybe 40,000, on average at their conference football games, if for no other reason than the visitors would bring huge crowds to New Orleans.

And their own fans would be more interested in home games with say Ole Miss, Auburn, and Alabama than they would UTEP, Tulsa, and Memphis from C-USA.

I'm sure most affiliated with Green Wave athletics wish they'd stayed in the SEC. They weren't going to get kicked out, and they'd be in a better situation than they are today.

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