Tulane Eliminated From CWS By Baylor, 8-7

"I've been doing this for 30 years and that's the toughest loss I've ever had, no question," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "You've got to give Baylor credit. They didn't quit. We didn't have a ball fall our way late and that happens. That's why you play nine innings.

OMAHA, Neb.–The Tulane University baseball team began the season ranked No. 1 in the nation and held tight to the top spot throughout most of the 2005 season. The Green Wave handled the pressure, rose above it and got the job done. The team entered the postseason as the nation's No. 1 seed and overcame an opening round loss in the Super Regional to advance to the College World Series for the second time in school history.

On a balmy Tuesday in Omaha, however, it was not the Green Wave's night as Baylor overcame a 7-0 deficit to defeat Tulane, 8-7, in an elimination game of the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium. With the loss, Tulane concludes the 2005 season 56-12 on the year.

"I've been doing this for 30 years and that's the toughest loss I've ever had, no question," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said. "You've got to give Baylor credit. They didn't quit. We didn't have a ball fall our way late and that happens. That's why you play nine innings.

"We had 56 wins and we played in the CWS and had a grade-point average of over 3.0. I'm happy to coach these guys and it's something to build on. I think we'll be back and we'll be back pretty soon."

Tulane plated six runs in the second and held a 7-0 advantage after five innings. The Bears, however, refused to go away and scratched across three runs in the seventh and another pair in the eight to set up an eventful ninth.

With the Bears down by two, Baylor catcher Josh Ford and left fielder Reid Brees hit ground balls to start the bottom of the ninth, but both bouncers found holes to put runners at first and second with nobody out. The pair was replaced by pinch runners Jeff Mandel and Chase Gerdes, respectively, and designated Zach Dillon followed with an RBI double down the right field line to make it a one-run ballgame.

Jones brought in sophomore reliever Brandon Gomes to put out the fire, and the native of Fall River, Mass., nearly did the job. After intentionally walking the bases loaded, Gomes induced a pop-up by right fielder Seth Fortenberry for the first out of the inning, and got a potential double-play ball off the bat of shortstop Paul Witt. The throw to first for the final out, however, was wide of the bag, and that allowed Mandel and Gerdes to score and cut the Green Wave's season short.

Lost in the defeat was a solid effort by junior southpaw J.R. Crowel, who struck out seven and gave up just two earned runs in a 6.1-inning start. Crowel kept the Bears off the board during the first six frames, but gave up three runs on three hits and an error in the seventh.

Following a scoreless first, senior catcher Greg Dini put Tulane on the board with an RBI single to left, and sophomore left fielder Mark Hamilton followed with a two-run homer to right central to stake the Green Wave to a 3-0 lead. Tulane took advantage of a pair of two-out errors and an RBI-single by senior shortstop Tommy Manzella to push the advantage to 6-0.

Neither team scored over the next two innings, but Tulane added another run in the fifth when senior designated hitter Scott Madden drew a two-out walk and scored one at-bat later on an RBI-double by junior right fielder Brian Bogusevic.

From there, however, Baylor brought in Abe Woody (10-3) to replace starter Cory VanAllen, and Woody gave up just two singles over the final four and a third innings to earn the win.

Down by a touchdown, Baylor began its comeback in the seventh. Witt reached on a one-out error before a wild pitch by Crowel and back-to-back doubles by centerfielder Kevin Sevigny and second baseman Michael Griffin helped the Bears cut the lead to four. A two-run single by Griffin in the eighth off reliever Daniel Latham made it a two-run ballgame and set up the fireworks in the ninth.

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