NEW ORLEANS, La.–It was not always pretty, but in the end, all was right in the Green Wave's world as the No. 1 ranked Tulane University baseball team defeated Conference USA foe Memphis, 11-10, Saturday afternoon at Turchin Stadium.
The Green Wave committed a season-high four errors that led to three unearned runs, but Tulane found a way to score the necessary runs and thwart Tiger rallies when it had to. Senior second baseman Joe Holland, meanwhile, celebrated his 22nd birthday in style as the native of Beaumont, Texas, went 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored.
"We just didn't pitch or play well defensively," head coach Rick Jones said. "It's one of few times we haven't done that. Fortunately, we had enough offense to pull it off. Even your strengths aren't going to be as good as you want to be every single day. That's not going to happen. When they're not and you still win, that's a good thing."
With the win, Tulane improves to 41-8 on the year and 18-5 in C-USA play. Saturday's victory, combined with a 4-3 loss by TCU (33-15, 16-7) at Cincinnati earlier in the day, gives the nation's top-ranked team a two-game lead in the league standings. Memphis, meanwhile, falls to 10-35 overall and 4-19 in conference action.
Both teams tallied 13 hits, including three-hit performances by Holland and senior catcher Greg Dini, but the Green Wave had seven RBI hits to Memphis' four. Holland had three of Tulane's run-scoring knocks while junior centerfielder Nathan Southard plated three on a single in the fourth and a double in the fifth.
Unlike Friday's game with Tulane rolled out to a 13-0 lead after three, the Tigers jumped out to the early advantage as Memphis scored two in the first and added another run in the second to take a 3-0 advantage. Memphis scored single runs in fourth, fifth and sixth innings, and put up a four-spot in the seventh, but sophomore right-hander Brandon Gomes came on and pitched 2.2 no-hit innings to earn his second save of the season.
Tulane got on the board in the bottom of the second when Dini hit a leadoff single, advanced the bases on a walk and a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Holland's first base hit of the day. After a scoreless third, the Tigers reclaimed a three-run advantage as right fielder Chris Newsome singled, advanced to third on a balk by starting pitcher Brian Bogusevic (9-1), and scored on an RBI-single off the bat of left fielder Brent Moss to make it a 4-1 ballgame.
The Green Wave, however, would take control of the game momentarily with five runs in the home half of the frame. Senior designated hitter Scott Madden got things going with a leadoff single to right, Dini followed with a base hit up the middle, and sophomore left fielder Mark Hamilton was hit by a pitch to load the bases. From there, senior right fielder Matt Barket lifted a sacrifice fly to center to cut the lead to two, Holland ripped an RBI-single to center and Southard followed with a run-scoring single of his own to tie the game at 4-all.
The Tigers had a chance to get out of the inning without any further damage done, but third baseman K.K. Chalmers' throw to first on a hot shot off the bat of senior shortstop Tommy Manzella was high, and the error allowed a pair of runs to come home as Tulane claimed a 6-4 advantage it would not relinquish.
Memphis got a run back in the top of the fifth when centerfielder Chad House hit a leadoff single and scored from third on an RBI base hit by catcher Cory Barton, but the Green Wave plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame on Southard's two-run double down the left field line to give Tulane a 9-5 advantage.
The Tigers got another run in the sixth on an RBI-single House, and Tulane appeared to put the game away with three runs in the bottom of the inning courtesy of run-scoring singles by Barket and Holland, and a fielding error by House in center.
In the seventh, however, Memphis drew three walks and took advantage of the Green Wave's fourth error of the ballgame to plate four runs on just one hit to cut the lead to one. The Tigers had the tying run on base in the ninth when Moss drew a leadoff walk, but Gomes got leadoff hitter John Tolliver to pop up on a sacrifice bunt attempt that doubled off Moss at first, and induced a can-of-corn fly ball to center by Chalmers to clinch the victory.
Tulane and Memphis close out the series on Sunday with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. For ticket information, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at (504) 861-WAVE.
Six Tiger players including their best player. Ryan Martin. were left at home for unspecified disciplinary infractions.
No.1 Tulane Survives Depleted Memphis, 11-10
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