Tulane’s 12-game win streak ends in doubleheader split versus Houston
NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane University baseball team (24-14, 13-2 AAC) saw its 12-game winning streak come to an end in a 7-4 setback to Houston (16-23, 4-12 AAC) in the third game of the American Athletic Conference series on Saturday evening at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
The Green Wave held off the Cougars in Saturday evening’s second game, 6-5. The win marked Tulane’s 13th in their last 14 games, as they took the series 3-1 over the Cougars.
Redshirt sophomore outfielder Jared Hart went 3-for-3 with two RBI and a career-high four stolen bases, which are tied for the second most in a single game in program history. They are the most since Nick Boullosa accomplished the feat against Jackson State in 2011. Shortstop Collin Burns contributed three more hits, as Ethan Groff added two hits, two runs and two RBI.
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Hoffman improved to 4-1 on the mound this season with eight strikeouts over 5.1 innings of work while allowing just two hits and one run while walking three.
Graduate student Keagan Gillies worked around three hits in the bottom of the ninth to strike out the side and record his third save of the season.
The Green Wave got the engine rolling early with an aggressive approach at the plate and on the basepaths by putting up three runs on four hits and taking advantage of one error by the Cougars.
Groff hit a two-out double to left center that scored Luis Aviles from first after he took off on the pitch to get things started. Groff stole third, before Jared Hart singled him in and stole second base. Following a Trevor Minder walk, Burns doubled down the left field line to score Hart for the third run of the frame.
Groff extended the lead with two outs in the subsequent inning when he pulled a two-run home run down the left field line to make it 5-0. Hart hammered an RBI double to left with two outs in the bottom of the fifth to push the advantage to six.
Houston got into the Tulane bullpen with one out in the top of the sixth and scored its first run on a bases-loaded walk before reliever Zach DeVito escaped the jam.
The Cougars put up three runs in the seventh inning to cut their deficit to just two, before adding one more on a solo homer in the ninth, but Gillies slammed the door with his three punchouts to end the threat and seal the victory.
Senior right-hander Trent Johnson fired six innings of scoreless relief while surrendering just four hits and no walks while striking out three. Bennett Lee collected three hits, while Chase Engelhard added two more and three RBI.
The Green Wave lit up the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a one-out single by Jacob LaPrairie. Two batters later, he came around to score on an RBI single through the left side off the bat of Engelhard to put the Wave in front, 1-0.
The Cougars’ offense broke out in the top of the third by sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs while chasing Green Wave starting pitcher Donovan Benoit with two outs in the frame.
Tulane chipped away at the deficit with an Engelhard RBI on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the third and a solo home run by Luis Aviles in the fourth.
Engelhard drove in his third run on a groundout in the seventh inning to pull within three, but the offense went quiet until the bottom of the ninth.
With two outs, Lee and Engelhard hit back-to-back singles, before Frankie Niemann drew a walk to load the bases to put the go-ahead run at the plate, Unfortunately, Aviles was retired on strikes, as the Cougars held on.
Starting pitcher Ben Sears (2-3) earned the win for Houston on the mound.
Tulane visits ECU for a four-game AAC series starting next Friday and matching up the top two teams in the conference standings.
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