CHARLOTTE, N.C.–Junior first baseman Micah Owings went 4-for-4 with a double and a two-run homer, and freshman closer Sean Morgan pitched a pair of scoreless frames as the No. 2 Tulane University baseball team clinched the weekend series with a dramatic, 6-5 win over Conference USA foe Charlotte Saturday afternoon at Tom & Lib Phillips Field.
Tulane held a 6-3 advantage after four innings, but the 49ers plated a pair of runs in the seventh and had the tying run on third base with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Morgan, however, would get a strikeout and an infield fly ball to end the threat and earn his fifth save of the year.
The Green Wave out-hit the 49ers 13-11, including two-hit performances by seniors Scott Madden, Joe Holland and Greg Dini. With the win, Tulane runs its winning streak to eight games and improves to 28-5 overall and 9-2 in C-USA action. Charlotte, meanwhile, falls to 20-11 on the season and 5-6 in league play.
With Tulane up by three after six and a half, 49ers' second baseman Cory Lane opened the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff triple – his second three-bagger of the day – and would score one at-bat later when his twin brother Chris Lane singled up the middle. Third baseman Alex Bryant would move the Charlotte centerfielder to second on a sacrifice bunt, and following a popup off the bat of designated hitter John Stallings, shortstop Mike Ambrose ripped a two-out double off the wall in left to make it a one-run ballgame.
The eighth inning was an eventful one as Tulane had bases loaded with one out in their half of the frame and Charlotte had two on and nobody out in the bottom of the stanza, but Charlotte closer Erik Walker and Morgan would come on to thwart the rallies.
Walker gave up just a walk in the top of the ninth, and the 49ers would make things interesting in the bottom of the inning as pinch hitter Stephen Harris hit a leadoff single through the right side of the infield. Grant Hafer came on to pinch run, and would advance the bases on a sacrifice bunt by Stallings and a wild pitch by Morgan that ricocheted all the way into the Tulane dugout. That would be as far as Hafer would get, though, as Morgan retired the next two men he faced and the Green Wave celebration was on.
Tulane wasted little time getting on the board as freshman third baseman Brad Emaus was hit by a pitch with one out in the top of the first, moved to third on a single by senior shortstop Tommy Manzella, and scored on a groundball off
the bat of Madden to give the Green Wave a 1-0 advantage.
The visiting team would triple the lead one inning later when sophomore left fielder Mark Hamilton singled and Owings doubled to lead off the second, and the pair would score on a ground ball by Holland and a RBI-single by Dini, respectively to make it a 3-0 ballgame.
The 49ers would get on the board in the bottom of the second when right fielder Spencer Steedley hit a leadoff single, and Cory Lane would plate him with a triple to the gap in right center. Lane would touch the paystation on hitter later when Chris Lane layed down a successful suicide squeeze bunt to cut the lead to one at 3-2.
Charlotte would make it a new ballgame in the third when Stallings opened the frame with a double, advanced to third on a deep fly to right by Ambrose, and came home on an RBI-single by right fielder Adam Willard. The score would not remain tied for long, as Hamilton was hit by a pitch to start the fourth, and Micah Owings ripped his ninth home run of the year to left center to give Tulane a 5-3 lead. Holland followed with a single, advanced the bases on a single and an error, and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by junior centerfielder Nathan Southard to account for Tulane's final run.
Tulane starter Brandon Gomes got the win for the visitors, striking out six and giving up five runs on eight hits in six-plus innings to improve to 5-1 on the season. Derek McDaid did not fare as well as the 49ers' starter gave up six runs on 13 hits in a 7.1 innings to fall to 4-2.
Tulane and Charlotte close out the weekend on Sunday with first pitch slated for noon. The game will be broadcast on the radio on WRBH 88.3 FM, and it will also be televised in the New Orleans area on Cox 10.
Tulane Gets Clincher Against Charlotte, 6-5
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