Wave sweeps Huskies in weekend series, take sole control of AAC
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With its 18-19, 7-2 American Athletic Conference record, underdog Tulane took down AAC champ UConn. In an early weekend series, the Wave swept UConn (21-14, 6-3 AAC).
Heading into the series, UConn had not lost a game in conference play and sat atop the conference standings. After the sweep, the Green Wave finds itself atop the AAC standings.
Tulane started the season with an uphill battle ahead, going 3-12. In the five weeks since, the Wave claimed 15 wins and crawled to the top of conference competition.
“I told the kids all along we are not 3-12 players or coaches or people or anything like that,” head coach Travis Jewett said. “We needed some things to change, and the kids just kept coming. They are getting rewarded for it now.”
Tulane kicked off the series on Thursday with an 8-3 win. Junior left-handed pitcher Sam Bjorngjeld threw in a spot start and delivered six innings of one-run ball, despite giving up eight hits and two walks.
After giving up a run to UConn in the second inning, Tulane immediately responded with seven runs in the third. Senior first baseman Hunter Williams drove in the first two runs on an RBI single which scored sophomore outfielder Grant Witherspoon and senior outfielder Lex Kaplan. After a fielding error, redshirt junior outfielder Grant Brown kept the bases loaded for senior infielder Jake Willsey, topping off the inning with a three-run double.
The Wave then dug deep for a 3-1 win on Friday. Senior right-hander Corey Merrill allowed only one run on three hits and three walks through seven innings.
Tulane closed out the series on Saturday with a 6-5 win in 12 innings. Despite allowing all five runs off throwing errors by Willsey and freshman catcher Paul Gozzo, Kaplan and Williams hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings.
Finishing out the 12th, Brown singled for the walk-off hit after two walks and a sacrifice bunt loaded the bases.
Through the series, Tulane’s starting pitchers worked at least six innings apiece and allowed only one earned run in each of their starts.
“That was a great weekend for them,” Williams said. “They gave it everything they got out there. You look out there and one, two, three, all of them. They were just pitching their tails off.”
Tulane begins its next weekend series against Houston at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Darryl and Lori Schroeder Park in Houston.