Tulane holds off Houston in AAC tourney opener in Clearwater

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CLEARWATER, FL – Seventh-seeded Tulane got eight second inning runs and held off a game comeback effort by second-seeded Houston to emerge with a 10-8 win on the first day of play Tuesday at the 2023 American Athletic Conference baseball tournament.

The win vaulted the Green Wave to 16-39 overall, while the Cougars dropped to 33-22.

Tulane will now play Thursday against sixth-seeded Memphis in a game that should start at approximately 4:45 p.m. ET/3:45 CT. The Tigers won 10-6 over third-seeded Wichita State in their opener.

The Cougars and Shockers will play an elimination game Wednesday in the bracket’s Game 6 at approximately 6:45 p.m. ET/5:45 CT.

The offensive fireworks were plentiful Tuesday as Tulane and Houston combined for 15 runs in the first two innings of play, including 13 in the second inning alone.

The Cougars jumped to an early 2-0 lead but then the Green Wave responded with three-run home runs by right fielder Jacob LaPrairie and shortstop Gavin Schulz to go with a two-run shot by Brady Marget.

Houston closed within one in the bottom half of the frame before Tulane pushed the margin back to two on run-scoring single down the right field line by center fielder Teo Banks.

The two teams traded single tallies in the eighth and ninth innings, racing against Mother Nature to finish the contest.

In the bottom of the ninth, Tulane reliever Michael Fowler came on to get his first save, allowing just one walk, while getting one strikeout. Fowler’s effort made a winner of Chandler Welch (4-5), who pitched masterfully. He went five and two-thirds innings in relief, yielding one run on five hits with six strikeouts and one walk after starter Ricky Castro surrendered seven runs in the first two innings.

Cougars starter Josh Ekness (2-4) was tagged with the loss after Tulane put seven runs on him as he recorded just three outs.

Tulane’s Schulz also finished with three hits with three runs scored. Houston third baseman Zach Arnold drove in three runs himself, while left fielder Cameron Nickens had three hits.

The game started more than an hour late after the contest between top-seeded East Carolina and eighth-seeded USF went 11 innings, with the Bulls pulling out a 12-11 win.

For behind-the-scenes coverage, follow Tulane baseball (@GreenWaveBSB) on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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