Green Wave’s season ends at No. 4 Florida State

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–At the end of the day, Tulane University head baseball coach Rick Jones could not have been prouder of his club.

 Fielding a team that featured 15 newcomers and having to replace four positional starters, three-quarters of its starting pitching and the all-time saves leader in Tulane and Conference USA history, the 2008 Green Wave finished third in the regular-season C-USA standings and returned to the NCAA Regionals after a one-year hiatus as the No. 3 seed at Florida State.

 Tulane’s season, however, came to end on a hot, humid Monday night at Dick Howser Stadium as the host and No. 4 national seed Seminoles defeated the Green Wave, 16-7, in day four of the 2008 NCAA Tallahassee Regional.

 We ran into one of the hottest teams in the country,” Jones said. “There’s no question about that. I felt good about our club going into tonight… We came in and we had to win one ballgame…But when you’re facing a Florida State club who is as good offensively as they are, you can’t let them have anything other than what they earned.”

Junior designated hitter Warren McFadden went 2-for-3 with a home run, a double and a pair of RBI, and was joined on the two-hit club by junior centerfielder Anthony Scelfo, junior catcher Jared Dyer, junior first baseman Sam Honeck and sophomore shortstop Josh Prince. Three Green Wave errors, however, led to seven unearned runs, and the Seminoles out-hit Tulane, 18-11.

With the loss, Tulane concludes its season 39-22-1 overall. Florida State, meanwhile, improves to 52-11 on the year and advances to play the winner of the NCAA Stillwater (Okla.) Regional, Wichita State, next weekend in the NCAA Tallahassee Super Regional at Dick Howser Stadium.

Despite the season-ending loss, the future looks bright for the Green Wave as the vast majority of the 2008 team should return for next year.

“I didn’t run a senior out there tonight until Trey Martin went out in the ninth,” Jones said. “I’ve got a couple of juniors that we may lose in the draft, but this is a relatively young club that returns almost everyone next year position player wise as well as the vast majority of our staff. We’ve had a tremendous recruiting class, so if the draft is not too tough on us, I think our club a year from now certainly can resemble the club that we faced tonight.”

Junior right-hander Shooter Hunt gave the Green Wave a gutsy 3.2-inning start, and held the Seminoles scoreless over the first three innings. Florida State scratched across a pair of runs in the top of the fourth courtesy of an RBI-groundout to first by designated hitter Tommy Oravetz and a two-out wild pitch by Hunt which allowed third baseman Stuart Tapley to touch the paystation.

Hunt appeared to get out of the inning without any further damage done, but a dropped fly ball in shallow center gave the Seminoles new life and they capitalized by loading the bases before first baseman Dennis Guinn hammered a three-run double to right field to make it a 6-0 ballgame.

“We had some things happen tonight that is a little uncharacteristic of this club, and if you look at our numbers, they bear that out,” Jones said. “The dropped ball in the outfield where we had a little miscommunication (was big). That’s something we take a lot of pride in and it very seldom happens to us, but it happened at bad time tonight. You go from a two-run lead to a four-run lead there real quickly, and then they tacked on. They had the infield single after that, and they took advantage again. They’re just too good offensively.”

FSU got four more runs in the top of the fifth on a two-RBI single by centerfielder Tyler Holt and run-scoring base hits by catcher Buster Posey and right fielder Jack Rye, but Tulane responded in the home half of the frame. Junior designated hitter Warren McFadden got things going with a leadoff double, junior first baseman Sam Honeck followed with a single to right and sophomore shortstop Josh Prince plated McFadden with an RBI-single back up the middle. Honeck scored on an error by Seminole shortstop Tony Delmonico to cut the lead to 10-2.

Tulane continued to cut into the lead in the sixth when junior catcher Jared Dyer led off the frame with a triple to right, scored on an RBI-groundout off the bat of junior right fielder Drew Allain, and McFadden ripped a solo home run to left to make it 10-4.

The Seminoles, however, got all four runs back in the top of the seventh as Delmonico and Tapley hit back-to-back, one-out doubles, Tapley scored on a Tulane error and second baseman Jason Stidham roped a two-run single through the right side of the infield.

The Green Wave scratched across single runs in the each of the final three innings courtesy of a sacrifice fly by freshman third baseman Rob Segedin in the seventh, an RBI-double by Prince in the eighth and a run-scoring fielder’s choice grounder by McFadden in the ninth. Florida State, meanwhile, got a two-run double by Stidham in the top of the ninth to account for the final score.

McFadden and junior left fielder Scott Powell were named to the NCAA Tallahassee Regional All-Tournament Team after hitting .857 (6-for-7, 3 2Bs, 1 HR, 3 RBI) and .333 (5-for-15, 1 2B, 3 R) over the weekend, respectively.

Hunt (9-4) was tagged with the loss after allowing six runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out a pair during his time on the hill. Florida State starter Matt Fairel (11-2) earned the victory after allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk while fanning three in 5.2 innings of work.

Holt led all players with five hits in six at-bats and reached in all seven of his plate appearances. Stidham went 3-for-5 with four RBI, while Rye, Delmonico and Tapley had two hits apiece.