Tulane wins series over Houston with doubleheader split Sunday

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NEW ORLEANS – Tulane baseball defeated Houston, 2-0, in the first game of its doubleheader Sunday afternoon to clinch the series, before the Cougars took the final game, 5-3, at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.

Sophomore Keagan Gillies (3-4) and graduate senior Ben White combined to pitch a two-hit shutout of Houston in the first game of the doubleheader. That victory gave the Green Wave (16-21, 6-6 American Athletic Conference) its first series win over the Cougars (21-14, 7-5 American) since 2016, after pulling off a thrilling 17-16 comeback victory in the opener Friday night.

In the second game, Houston scored two runs in the top of the ninth to win the series finale. Tulane took a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning, fell behind after Houston scored three in the seventh, and then tied it, 3-3, in the bottom of the seventh.

“We played four games this week and we won three out of four so that’s a good thing,” Tulane head coach Travis Jewett said. “I’d rather be in the situation where we’re disappointed because we lost the opportunity to sweep, which means we won the series. For us to grab that second game (of the series) was huge so that we could put ourselves in that situation here today.”

Game 1: Tulane 2, Houston 0 (7 inn.)

Gillies struck out four and allowed two hits and three walks in 5.0 innings. White allowed only a walk in two frames to earn his first save of the season. The contest lasted only seven innings by conference rule regarding a doubleheader on the final day of a series.

Sophomore second baseman Jonathon Artigues delivered an RBI single in the third inning to score junior catcher Acy Owen, who had begun the inning with a single. Junior first baseman Trevor Jensen added the insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when he led off with a single, then scored on a throwing error off a ground ball by junior right fielder Tyler Heinrichs.

The Green Wave totaled eight hits in the game, paced by Jensen and junior left fielder Ty Johnson, who hit two singles each.

Gillies worked out of trouble to strand runners in scoring position in four innings. With two in scoring position in the second inning, he ended the inning with a swinging strikeout, then in the same situation in the third, he induced an flyout to end the frame. Aaron Fletcher (4-2) went the distance in the loss for Houston.

“When we got a quality start again from Keagan and took a 1-0 lead, I thought maybe we’re going to win a 1-0 game for him,” Tulane head coach Travis Jewett said. “We were able to string some at-bats together and take the lead. I was proud of the kids that way. They battled. It doesn’t always have to be pretty, you just have to find a way to win and that’s what they did.”

With the victory, Tulane clinched its second home conference series win. The Wave won two of three over Cincinnati last month to start league play.

Game 2: Houston 5, Tulane 3

Freshman Josh Bates was outstanding in his first weekend start of the season, striking out a career-high nine batters in 6.1 innings, his longest outing of the year. He recorded all nine punchouts and scattered four hits and three walks through six frames.

With the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Johnson singled into the hole at short to score junior center fielder Grant Witherspoon, and a throwing error on the play allowed Artigues to cross the plate and give the Green Wave a 2-0 lead. After the Cougars went ahead 3-2 in the top of the seventh, sophomore third baseman Kody Hoese tied it up in the bottom half on an RBI single to left that scored sophomore designated hitter Luke Glancy.

Houston scored three runs in the top of the seventh on two bases-loaded walks around an RBI single by third baseman Jared Triolo. Designated hitter Nick Slaughter hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to make the difference in the game.

Junior Will McAffer (0-3) took the loss in relief while Carter Henry (4-1) earned the relief win and Lael Lockhart earned the save.

At the end of the weekend, the Green Wave trail conference leaders USF, Houston and Cincinnati by just one game in the standings.

Tulane plays host to LSU at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.

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Tulane 2, Houston 0 (Apr 15, 2018 at New Orleans, La.) (Game 1)
Houston…………. 000 000 0 – 0 2 1 (20-14, 6-5)
Tulane………….. 001 001 X – 2 8 1 (16-20, 6-5)
Pitchers: Houston – FLETCHER, Aaron and REDDEN, Tucker. Tulane – GILLIES, Keagan; WHITE, Ben(6)
and OWEN, Acy.
Win-GILLIES, Keagan(3-4) Save-WHITE, Ben(1) Loss-FLETCHER, Aaron(4-2) T-2:18 A-0
Weather: 57 Sunny, Wind W @ 14 mph

Houston 5, Tulane 3 (Apr 15, 2018 at New Orleans, La.) (Game 2)
Houston…………. 000 000 302 – 5 8 1 (21-14, 7-5)
Tulane………….. 000 002 100 – 3 6 0 (16-21, 6-6)
Pitchers: Houston – RANDEL, Ryan; OTT, Kyle(7); HENRY, Carter(8); LOCKHART, Lael(9) and
REDDEN, Tucker; BARTLETT, Charlie. Tulane – BATES, Josh; BJORNGJELD, Sam(7); JOHNSON, Trent(7);
McAFFER, Will(7) and OWEN, Acy.
Win-HENRY, Carter(4-1) Save-LOCKHART, Lael(2) Loss-McAFFER, Will(0-3) T-3:23 A-1793
Weather: 59 Sunny, Wind WNW @ 14 mph
BJORNGJELD faced 2 batters in the 7th.
Tr. JOHNSON faced 2 batters in the 7th.
RANDEL faced 1 batter in the 7th.

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