METAIRIE, La.–Senior centerfielder Nathan Southard went 2-for-3 with a triple, a home run and two walks at the plate, and made a game-changing play with his glove in the seventh inning as the Tulane University baseball team defeated Oral Roberts in game one of the weekend series, 7-5, Friday evening at Zephyr Field.
Tulane trailed 2-0 after two and a half innings, but Southard's two-run homer in the third tied the ballgame, and then, following a single by
sophomore shortstop Cat Everett, junior first baseman Mark Hamilton clubbed a two-run homer into the teeth of the wind to straight-away
centerfield to give the Green Wave a 4-2 lead they would not relinquish.
With the win, Tulane improves to 11-5 on the year. Oral Roberts, which entered the game riding the crest of a four-game winning streak, fall to 9-4 on the season.
"We swung the bats better tonight, which was encouraging. With the wind blowing out, that might be a psychological thing with our big guys. They feel like if they hit a ball well, they have something to show for it. We played well defensively, and we pitched well enough."
Southard erased a 2-0 Golden Eagles lead with a two-run homer to left field in the third, and following a walk in the fourth, ripped a triple
down the left field line and scored in the sixth. His biggest play, however, may have come while patrolling the outfield when he ran down a
sinking fly ball off the bat of ORU shortstop Tim Torres and doubled off second baseman Jake Kahaulelio at second to thwart a two-on, one-out rally.
"Nathan Southard has been a catalyst for us for a while now, and he certainly was again tonight," Jones said. "He had a major impact with his effort."
Sean Morgan (3-1) gave the Green Wave a solid 6-and-a-third inning stint as a starter, striking out five and walking three while giving up four runs on eight hits, and sophomore Trey Martin allowed one run on a pair of hits in 1-and-a-third frames of relief. The Golden Eagles threatened to creep back in the game in eighth, loading the bases on Martin on a pair of hits and a walk, but junior right-hander Daniel Latham thwarted the rally with a strikeout and retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up his fourth save of 2006.
"Sean was a little wild early, but settled in and made some pitches when he had to," Jones added. "And I thought Daniel Latham was just
outstanding – coming into a bases-loaded situation and getting us out of a jam, and then really was good in the ninth inning."
Oral Roberts drew first blood with a two-out rally in the top of the third when designated hitter Andy Bouchie ripped an RBI-single to left
and right fielder Travis DeBondt clubbed a run-scoring double to deep right to stake the Golden Eagles to a 2-0 advantage. Southard's first homer of the year tied the game, and Hamilton's bomb gave Tulane a two-run lead.
From there, Tulane got single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings on an RBI-single by Everett, an RBI-fielder's choice ball off
the bat of rookie designated hitter Nate Simon, and an RBI-ground out by Everett, respectively.
The Golden Eagles got a run in the sixth on a solo home run by DeBondt, and made things interesting in the seventh. Left fielder Pat Warfle led the frame with a single, and after a
fly-ball out by centerfielder Brendan Duffy, catcher Brian Aguillar and Kahaulelio hit back-to-back base hits to make it a 7-4 ballgame. Things could have gotten worse for the Green Wave as Torres then sent a sinking fly ball to left center, but Southard was able to track the ball down and doubled off Kahaulelio at second
to end the inning.
Oral Roberts had a chance to make some noise again in the eighth as Bouchie and third baseman Carter McQuigg singled before Warfle walked
to load the bases to chase Martin from the game. Latham plunked Duffy in his second pitch of action to make it 7-5, but got Aguillar to strike out on a pitch in the dirt, allowing freshman catcher Max Kwan to touch the plate, forcing Bouchie to end the stanza.
Golden Eagles starter Nick Jones (3-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing seven runs on eight hits while walking four and striking out six in 6 innings. Ronnie Ball went the rest of the way for ORU, walking two and striking out a pair in two shutout innings.
Tulane and Oral Roberts return to action on Saturday at 2 p.m. and close out the weekend on Sunday with the first pitch slated for 1 p.m. For tickets to this weekend's series or future Green Wave events, contact the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office at 504-247-1240. The ticket window on the third base side of Zephyr Field opens two hours prior to first pitch, and tickets can also be purchased on-line at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.
Wave Takes First Game From Oral Roberts, 7-5
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