The Green Wave looked defeat in the eye twice earlier in the game as Tulane plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings, and another in the 10th to extend the contest, but the home team could not get the go-ahead run across the plate. With the loss, Tulane falls to 12-5 on the year while USC improves to 8-10.
Sophomore right fielder Brian Bogusevic went 4-for-6 with four RBI, but free passes issued by the pitching staff spelled doom for Tulane as the Green Wave pitchers issued six walks and hit five batters during the game. Two Trojans who were issued a base on balls and another pair who were hit by pitch scored, and a bases-loaded walk in the seventh drove in the tying run.
The Green Wave got off to a shaky start as sophomore right-hander Matt Goebel walked the first man he faced on four pitches and drilled shortstop Blake Sharpe before catcher Jeff Clement hammed a three-run shot to right center to put the Trojans ahead 3-0. Third baseman Michael Moon hit a solo shot in the second, but the Green Wave got a run in the first on an RBI single by senior third baseman Brian Bormaster, and Bogusevic hammered a three-run shot in the third to tie the score.
The Green Wave would plate two more runs in the third as junior shortstop Tommy Manzella roped an RBI double to left central and junior catcher Greg Dini hit an RBI single to cap the big inning, and Tulane added an unearned run in the sixth to give the team what looked like a comfortable 7-4 lead.
The advantage would evaporate in the next inning as freshman reliever Daniel Latham – who came on for Goebel to start the fourth – gave up a solo home run to Metropoulos, a double to left fielder Brian Frost and an RBI-single to designated hitter Jon Brewster to make it a one-run game.
After falling behind right fielder Billy Hart 2-0 in the ensuing at-bat, Latham was replaced by senior southpaw Joey Charron. Charron threw two balls to complete the base-on-balls and then plunked pinch-hitter Clyde Hankerd to load the bases. From there, Moon tied the game with a bases-loaded walk, and Sharpe drove in a run with an RBI-single up the middle to cap a four-run frame and give the Trojans an 8-7 lead.
USC added a run in the top of the ninth on an RBI single by Sharpe, but Tulane came right back with some two-out magic in the home half of the frame as Bogusevic scorched an RBI-double to left and junior centerfielder Matt Barket followed with a run-scoring single to send the game to extra innings.
The Trojans scored to retake the lead in the 10th when reserve left fielder Dale Legaspi reached on a leadoff base hit and scored on an RBI-single off the bat of Sharpe, but the Green Wave answered with an RBI single by sophomore left fielder Nathan Southard, giving Tulane runners at first and second but Trojan reliever Bret Butler got junior second baseman Joe Holland to fly out to right to get out of the inning.
Charron tossed a three-up, three-down top of the 11th and Tulane had something going in the bottom half of that inning with runners on the corners and two away. Manzella hit a bloop into no-man's land in short right field, but Trojan second baseman Rafael Torres scrambled back to get into position, saw the ball begin to pop away from his glove, but snared it on the rebound to send the game to the 12th.
The Green Wave had a shot in the bottom of the inning as Southard hit a two-out single and Holland followed with a walk, but Butler got Bormaster to fly out to right to seal the Trojan victory.
The two teams will do battle again on Wednesday when Tulane and USC square off at 6:30 p.m. at Turchin Stadium. For tickets to the Tulane/USC game, or season ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.