Tulane Falls Short In Series Finale At UAB, 6-5

Blazer catcher Eugene Rodriguez hit a walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth as the Tulane University baseball team dropped a 6-5 Conference USA contest in the series finale at UAB Sunday afternoon at Jerry D. Young Memorial Stadium.

Sophomore third baseman Tim Guidry hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the second, and junior designated hitter/left fielder Wes Swackhamer hit a solo homer of his own in the eighth, but it was not enough as Rodriguez's bomb sent the Green Wave away with their first league series loss of the 2004 season.

With the loss, Tulane falls to 26-12 on the year and 10-5 in C-USA play. UAB, meanwhile, improves to 16-19 overall and 4-10 in league action.

With the score deadlocked at 5-all in the top of the ninth, Tulane had runners on the corners after junior outfielder Matt Barket led off with a double, advanced to third on a groundout and senior first baseman Brian Bormaster drew a one out walk. UAB then brought starting right fielder Cole Helms to the mound, and Helms got Swackhamer to pop out to short and struck out Brian Bogusevic swinging to get out of the jam and set up Rodriguez's heroics in the bottom of the frame.

Tulane took the early lead as Bormaster ripped an RBI single up the middle to plate junior second baseman Joe Holland in the bottom of the first, but the Blazers would answer right back in the home half of the inning with three runs of its own to take a two-run lead.

Tim Guidry cut the Blazer advantage in half with a two-out, solo home run to right in the second, and the Green Wave tied the score one inning later when Holland hit a leadoff single, advanced to second on an error and scored on a single off the bat of Barket.

The Blazers reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the third, however, on a solo homer by first baseman Daniel Hill. Tulane, however, was able to tie the score in the top of the fourth when an RBI groundout off the bat of Guidry plated Swackhamer from third base.

The score would remain tied at 4-4 until the bottom of the sixth when centerfielder Sam Clark hit a leadoff double and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Josh Miljavac before designated hitter Nathan McCorkle ripped an RBI single off Bogusevic's glove to give the home team a 5-4 lead.

Swackhamer would tie things up at 5-all in the top of the eighth with a leadoff homer, but that would be the final run of the weekend for the Green Wave as Helms thwarted the ninth-inning rally.

Helms earned the win after retiring the only two batters he faced in the top of the ninth to improve to 2-1 on the year. Bogusevic (5-3), meanwhile, was saddled with the loss after giving up a pair of runs on six hits while walking two and striking out four.

The Green Wave return to action on Wednesday, April 21 when they play host to Louisiana-Lafayette at 6:30 p.m. at Zephyr Field. Following the midweek showdown with the Ragin' Cajuns, Tulane will host C-USA foe Southern Miss over the following weekend at Turchin Stadium. For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.

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