May 30, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – If the first game of the 2008 Tallahassee NCAA Division I Baseball Regional is any indication, baseball fans are in for an exciting weekend of action. In a comeback performance, the No. 3 seeded Tulane Green Wave defeated No. 2 seeded Florida 7-4 Friday afternoon at Mike Martin Field at Dick Howser Stadium.
Tulane (38-20-1) advanced in the winner’s bracket and will face the winner of tonight’s game between Florida State and Bucknell Saturday at 7 p.m. Florida (34-23) will face the loser of that game, Saturday at 1:07 p.m. (Sun Sports TV) in an elimination game.
After four innings of scoreless ball, the Green Wave did strike first with a run in the top of the fifth. Shortstop Josh Prince led off the inning with a double to right center and after advancing to third on a bunt single, scored on a fielder’s choice but the lead would be short-lived as it was Florida’s turn with a four-run sixth inning.
Back-to-back hits by Gator shortstop Cole Figueroa (single) and first baseman Brandon McArthur (double) scored the first run for UF. McArthur scored on an error to give the Gators a 2-1 lead. A two-run blast by second baseman Jon Townsend stretched the UF lead to 4-1. With one out, Tulane pulled starter Shooter Hunt, who had given up just three hits heading into the sixth inning.
A six-hit, six-run, seventh inning for the Green Wave gave Tulane the lead and the lead for good. Tulane led off the inning with three straight base hits (Aja Barto, Josh Prince, Scott Powell) and after the second hit, Florida made a pitching change replacing lefty Stephen Locke with right hander Billy Bullock. The first run scored on a wild pitch and then two straight singles (Anthony Scalfo, Seth Henry) scored the next two runs. Another runner crossed the plate off of another wild pitch and a sacrifice fly (Jared Dyer) scored the fifth run. After another pitching change, Tony Davis for Bullock, the final run scored on a single to center by rightfielder Drew Allain. Pinch-hitter Aja Barto, who led off the inning with a single to center, ended the inning with a strike out swinging.
Tulane reliever Nick Pepitone (4-1) earned the victory and Bullock (4-5) recorded the loss for the Gators.
Prince led the Green Wave with three hits and also scored two runs. Florida’s Bryson Barber (DH) and Riley Cooper (RF) had two hits apiece.