March 29, 2009
NEW ORLEANS- Houston (9-17, 4-2 C-USA) came out with back-to-back wins to take the Conference USA series from Tulane (16-11, 1-2 C-USA) with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory Sunday.
"It was a disappointing day," head coach Rick Jones said. "We hit three balls that on normal days go out of the ball park but with nothing to show for it. I was disappointing in the last four innings because we were noncompetitive at the plate and you can't be that way. We just didn't have enough competitive at bats late."
The Cougars put up a single run to open the contest after Blake Kelso reached on a base on balls. Zak Presley moved him over on a sacrifice bunt and Kelso was plated by the RBI single off the bat of Caleb Ramsey. But Tulane evened the score in their half of the frame after Seth Henry got the base hit to right field. Sam Honeck followed with a walk and Jeremy Schaffer (2-3, RBI) reached after taking a pitch off the helmet to load the bases for Karl Mundt. Mundt saw four straight balls and Cougars' starter Chase Dempsay walked in the tying run headed into the second.
The Green Wave picked up two more in the bottom of the third when Henry led off with a base on balls. With Henry on the move, Honeck took the Dempsay offering back up the middle, moving Henry to third on the play. Jeremy Schaffer plated Henry easily with an RBI single to left. Mundt followed with a single up the middle to score Honeck, a hit that would mark the end of Dempsay's outing on the mound. Jared Ray came entered the game in relief of Dempsay, who remained in the contest as the designated hitter but Tulane enjoyed a 3-1 lead headed into the fourth.
Houston added to their run column in the top of the sixth when Dempsay poked a ball into shallow right field for a hit. William Kankel sacrificed him over to second and David Murphy worked his way on via a base on balls. Dempsay scored when Ty Stuckey hit a bullet to center field for a double, bringing Houston within one, 3-2. With runners at second and third and two outs, Josh Zeid worked his way out of the jam, inducing the groundball to Honeck out of John Cannon to end the top of the sixth.
The Cougars strung together a couple hits and took advantage of a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh to take the lead. The Wave went to the bullpen in the seventh, after leadoff hitter Kelso reached on the walk. Ryan Doiron came in to face Presley, who sacrificed Kelso over to second, where he was subsequently knocked in on a Ramsey double down the third base line, tying the game again, 3-3. Ramsey, who had moved up to third on the strikeout of Dempsay, came into score on a single off the bat of Kankel and headed into the bottom of the seventh, the Cougars led 4-3.
Houston received stellar support from their staff all weekend, with Ray throwing 5.2 innings Sunday, only yielding one hit and two walks while striking out seven. Donnie Joseph came in to secure the win for the Cougars after shutting down the Wave in Saturday's contest. Joseph threw the bottom of the ninth, fanning the Tulane batsmen in order to pick up his third save.
Tulane will look to get back on track as they take on in-state rival Louisiana State University on Tuesday at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium. First pitch is slated for 6PM.