Cougars sweep Tulane on Senior weekend

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

Tulane University baseball lost all three games to the visiting University of Houston Cougars in the final home series for the Green Wave. Following this weekend, Tulane takes last place in the American Athletic Conference while the Cougars top the standings.

Untimely injuries plagued Tulane’s roster. First baseman Brady Marget was ruled out for the second and third games while the team’s best relief pitcher, Michael Fowler, did not pitch the whole weekend.

Friday’s game saw the visitors dominate the Wave from the start. Tulane’s normally reliable ace Dylan Carmouche fell apart within the first four innings. Carmouche gave up 8 runs and 10 hits in 3.1 innings of work. Reliever Colin Reilly gave up a home run, giving Houston a 9-0 advantage. However, Tulane’s bullpen pitched well the rest of the game and did not give up another run. Reilly pitched 3.1 innings, struck out three, walked two and gave up just one hit — the home run. Behind him, Gavin Smith forced a ground out from the only batter he saw and Will Prigge delivered two scoreless innings while striking out three.

Offensively, Tulane only managed three hits all game but scored 3 runs in the fifth inning. Still, Houston finished 9-3 winners. 

Before Saturday’s game, Tulane President Mike Fitts conferred degrees to the team’s graduating seniors. The team plays an away series at the University of Memphis during commencement weekend.

In game two, Green Wave starting pitcher Ricky Castro’s solid outing put his team in a great position to win. In six innings, Castro struck out six, walked one, gave up six hits and 2 runs. Tulane’s offense quickly scored 4 runs in the second inning. With the bases loaded, Brady Hebert hit a double which scored 3. The next batter, Teo Banks, hit a hard ground ball to the shortstop. However, the fielder could not get the ball out of his glove as Hebert steamed around third and slid safely into home.

Tulane failed to keep their 4-2 advantage due to yet another bullpen collapse. In the eighth inning, three Green Wave pitchers failed to stop the Cougars from scoring twice. In the ninth, Houston added 1 more to take the lead. Tulane failed to mount a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, dropping the game 5-4.

“We gotta get it done, the only finger to point is at ourselves … I think as a team, we’re getting better everyday, we are doing the right stuff, we are deserving to win, now it’s just that one little thing to get us over the hump,” catcher Brennan Lambert said after the game.

In game three, Tulane baseball once again honored their seniors —  this time, spotlighting them during each half-inning. But before the game began, Tulane head coach Jay Uhlman and Director of Baseball Operations Curtis Akey were both ejected for arguing with the umpires. Pitching coach Anthony Izzio served as the team’s acting head coach for the game.

After a quiet first inning, Tulane’s Seth Beckstead opened the scoring with a solo home run to left field. Houston responded in the third with a 4-run inning. After walking in a run, Tulane gave up an RBI sacrifice fly and a 2-run RBI double. In the bottom of the frame, Banks hit a 2-run home run to center field to make it a 4-3 ball game.

Houston scored a run in the fourth, but the Green Wave responded with a 5-run inning in the bottom half of the frame to give the hosts an 8-5 lead. The Cougars hit an RBI single in the fifth, but opened the scoring up in the sixth when they scored 5.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Houston was hit by a pitch and then hit two consecutive singles to bring in 3 total. Another run scored despite the visitors hitting into a double play. Houston scored their fifth of the inning and 11th of the game after a wild pitch.

Tulane responded with a run in the seventh and Houston countered with a run in the eighth. Controversy then marked the bottom of the eighth inning as Tulane mounted a comeback. After Banks hit an RBI single, to make it a 12-10 ball game, the Wave had the bases loaded with two outs. Jacob LaPrairie hit a single that should have scored 2, but Jackson Linn tripped over the third baseman’s legs as he tried to round the corner. 

Initially, this was ruled as an obstruction, meaning Tulane tied the game. However, this was overturned after the umpires discussed the incident. 

After the game, Izzio spoke about the incident. “The umpire’s explanation was: there was two obstructions on the play. First being Linn with the fielder and second was Linn with [third base coach Justin Bridgman]. JB at that time was trying to alert the umpire that it was an obstruction and [the umpire] told JB it was good and the umpires got together as a group and decided to rule a certain way. We will check it out but tough break for sure.”

Houston scored 5 in the ninth to eliminate any doubt about the call, ending the game as 17-11 winners. 

This weekend is the final time that many of the team’s seniors will play at home. After game two, Uhlman spoke about the group, “Anytime you sacrifice as a student-athlete, there is a lot of demands on your time: weightlifting, study hall, travel, games and practice. You are trying to be an elite athlete and get an elite education. The fact that you can graduate from a school like Tulane, it sets them up for life. That I am really proud of. Happy for them that they get that opportunity to carry that degree with them for life.”

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