May 22, 2004
HOUSTON - Tulane's Tommy Manzella blasted a three-run homer to break a 1-1 tie and the Green Wave held off a late rally to take a 5-4 win over the University of Houston baseball team on Saturday in the finale of a Conference USA series at Cougar Field.
The Cougars chipped away after Manzella's home run and pulled to within a run in the bottom of the ninth when Cole Bruce' sacrifice fly into center field scored Travis Tully and allowed Jake Stewart to advance to third base. However, Tulane reliever Daniel Latham struck out Rob Johnson on a check swing to end the rally and the game.
Tulane reliever Matt Goebel improved to 3-21 after holding the Cougars to two runs (one earned) off three hits with two strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work. Latham earned his fifth save after retiring all three batters he faced in the ninth.
UH starter Matt Varner saw his career-best three-game winning streak snapped after giving up four runs (three earned) off four hits with three strikeouts in only 4.2 innings. The West Columbia, Texas, native dropped to 7-4 this season.
Stewart went 3-for-4 with an RBI to lead the Cougar offense, which outhit Tulane 11-8. Johnson went 1-for-5 with an RBI and extended his hitting streak to a career-best 13 consecutive games, while Bruce finished the day 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. A day after his career-best 21-game hitting streak was ended, Tully went 2-for-4 with a run.
Greg Dini went 2-for-4 with a home run, and Manzella's three RBIs led all players for Tulane.
With the loss, the Cougars earned the No. 4 or No. 5 seed at the 2004 Conference USA Tournament presented by Sterling Bank and will face TCU at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday at Cougar Field. The Cougars' and Horned Frogs' exact seeding will not be determined until after the TCU-Charlotte game on Saturday night.
All Cougar games in the C-USA and NCAA postseason can be heard live on KAXF 88.3 FM or over the Internet at www.UHCougars.com with Nick Torina and Pat Cauley calling the action. Fans can follow live stats at www.UHCougars.com by clicking on the "Gametracker" link on the bottom of the main page.
Tulane grabbed the lead in the second inning when Mark Hamilton's double rolled to the wall in right center, allowing Brian Bogusevic to score all the way from first base.
UH tied the game in the third inning after rapping out three hits. After drawing a one-out walk, Kevin Roberts moved to second on Bruce' single into right field and came around to tie the game on Johnson's RBI-single to center field.
The score remained that way until the fifth inning when Manzella lifted a three-run homer over the left field wall.
The Cougars cut into that lead in the bottom of the frame. After lacing a single into center field, Roberts scored all the way from first base on Bruce's double down the left field line.
One inning later, UH made it a one-run game at 4-3. Papavasiliou drew a one-out walk and moved to second on Tully's single through the right side of the Tulane infield. Stewart then laced an RBI-single into right center to score Papavasiliou.
Dini pushed the Tulane lead to 5-3 in the seventh inning with a solo home run to left field. That set the stage for the Cougar comeback in the ninth inning.