Tulane shortstop Stephen Alemais was called out when the first-base umpire ruled he missed the bag on his way to what he thought was a leadoff double in the first inning against Southern.
The Green Wave did not miss much of anything else.
First baseman Hunter Williams crushed a grand slam to center field in the fifth inning, midinning replacement Grant Brown followed with a two-run liner over the wall in left field, and Tulane hammered the Jaguars 14-2 on Wednesday night at Turchin Stadium.
Both teams played to form. Tulane (33-14) has won 11 of its past 12 in a late-season surge toward a possible regional host assignment. Southern (12-30), rated 296th out of 300 Division I teams in the RPI calculations of WarrenNolan.com, lost by double digits for the 11th time in its final regular-season game.
“I think every guy went to home plate with the right intent, and we had good results,” Tulane coach David Pierce said. “They were facing different stuff. It was a lot of soft spin.”
The two home runs gave Tulane 52, after it hit 49 in the three previous seasons combined. The Wave finished one shy of its season high for runs and hits (18), set in a 15-0 win against Pepperdine on March 5.
Southern starter Troy Lewis (1-5), a junior who signed with Coastal Carolina out of Dutchtown High and ended up at Delgado, kept the game reasonably close through four innings. Tulane scored a pair of runs in the second on back-to-back singles by Jake Willsey and Cameron Burns and added two more in the third on a two-run single by Hunter Hope.
The fifth inning was where it all fell part. Lewis left after giving up back-to-back singles. Lex Kaplan drew a walk from soft-tossing reliever Bryan Melendez to load the bases. Hope singled in another run, and Williams unloaded on another pitch to clear the bases, still with no outs.
“You’re never thinking home run,” said Williams, who estimated his last grand slam came when he was a senior in high school. “You just try to take a good swing on it and try to hit the center of the ball. It felt good off the bat, and the wind blowing out definitely helped it a little bit.”
It was Williams’ fourth home run of the year and the second grand slam for Tulane, following one by freshman Grant Witherspoon against Connecticut.
By that point, Pierce was emptying his bench, sending in pinch runners and pinch hitters one after the other. The Wave used 17 players, and 13 had at least one hit, including freshman Tyler Heinrichs, who had the first of his career in the eighth.
Brown’s home run, his third of the year, got out in a hurry. The only question was whether it would be high enough.
“I wasn’t sure if it was going to hit off the wall or go out,” he said. “I was sprinting for that double. I’m glad it got out.”
Senior Tim Yandel (2-1) pitched 4.1 innings and earned the win for Tulane in his first start of the season, allowing two hits and striking out five. He entered with an 8.25 earned run average in 12 innings.
“We’ve seen him good (at the beginning of 2015, when Yandel had three strong starts), and for him to go out and throw 4.1 scoreless, it puts confidence back,” Pierce said. “It gives us confidence in him and him confidence in himself.”
The only drama at the end was whether Tulane would take over the nation’s lead with its 12th shutout. Southern had runners on first and third with no outs in the sixth, but Eric Steel pitched out of trouble with two strikeouts and a popup.
Christian Colletti almost got out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the eighth, but Southern pinch hitter Jacob Juge stroked a two-run single with two outs.
The inning began with Lewis’ third hit. He fared better at the plate than on the mound, getting three singles in four at-bats as the Jaguars’ leadoff batter in addition to being the starting pitcher.
Tulane, which leads East Carolina by a half-game at the top of the American Athletic Conference with two weeks left, entertains Memphis in a weekend series.
Southern next plays in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament, which starts May 18 at Wesley Barrow Stadium in New Orleans. The Jaguars will be the fourth seed in the West division and will face Alabama State, which went 24-0 in the SWAC, on the opening day.