NEW ORLEANS – Redshirt junior J.P. France turned in another outstanding effort, striking out five batters over 7.0 innings, but Tulane baseball fell to Houston, 4-0, Saturday afternoon at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
The Green Wave (23-28, 10-10 American Athletic Conference), tallied five hits, including a double by senior Jeremy Montalbano who was in the lineup for the first time since he was injured on March 5. Senior Hunter Williams collected a pair of doubles, and sophomore Grant Witherspoon and senior Lex Kaplan each singled.
All five of France’s (5-4) strikeouts were called third strikes. He sat down the Cougars in order twice and stranded seven baserunners, and two of his four runs allowed were earned. Houston’s Trey Cumbie (8-1) went the distance and struck out 11 in the win. The Cougars (33-17, 13-7 American) scored four runs on two sacrifice bunts, a groundout and a steal of home.
“J.P. gave us a good effort, which he always does, and unfortunately we weren’t able to give him any breathing room,” Tulane head coach Travis Jewett said. “You have to give credit to their pitcher. He was throwing the ball to both sides of the plate and changing speeds, and got to pitch out of the windup a lot today. We didn’t have ability with guys on base to really challenge him.”
The Green Wave had runners at first and second with two outs in the first after Williams doubled down the left field line and senior Jarret DeHart walked, but were unable to push a run across. Four of Tulane’s hits came with two outs in the inning, and a leadoff batter did not reach base for the Wave.
In the fifth inning, Montalbano doubled into the right field corner in his second at bat of the game. He was in the lineup at designated hitter, making his first start since March 5 when he was catching and inured on a plate at the plate. He had made three pinch-hit appearances since returning to action on May 2, and the double Saturday was his first hit since he homered in the second inning of that March 5 game.
Houston took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Connor Wong doubled, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored on a groundout to short. A pair of sacrifice squeeze bunts plated a run in the fourth and seventh innings, and Corey Julks doubled in the eighth and stole home after moving to third on a wild pitch.
Tulane will celebrate Senior Day during the series finale on Sunday, which is set to begin at 1 p.m. The seniors will be honored individually between innings throughout the game, rather than in a pregame ceremony. The players will be joined on the field by their families one-by-one beginning in the middle of the first inning. As part of Senior Day, and to celebrate Mother’s Day, the seniors’ mothers will throw out the ceremonial first pitches.
Tickets are available for Sunday’s game through the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office in the James W. Wilson Center. The game will be broadcast on www.TulaneGreenWave.com with free audio and live stats available, and live video available via subscription.
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Houston 4, Tulane 0 (May 13, 2017 at New Orleans, La.)
Houston…………. 001 100 110 – 4 8 0 (33-17, 13-7)
Tulane………….. 000 000 000 – 0 5 2 (23-28, 10-10)
Pitchers: Houston – CUMBIE, Trey and WONG, Connor. Tulane – FRANCE, J.P.; GILLIES, Keagan(8)
and GOZZO, Paul; ARTIGUES, Jonathon.
Win-CUMBIE, Trey(8-1) Loss-FRANCE, J.P.(5-4) T-2:39 A-1927
FRANCE faced 1 batter in the 8th.