NEW ORLEANS – Grant Brown drilled a single into left field and Jarret DeHart hustled home from second base to score the winning run and give Tulane baseball a 6-5 come-from-behind win in 12 innings to complete the series sweep of No. 25 UConn Saturday afternoon at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
The Green Wave now sit alone in first place in the American Athletic Conference with a 7-2 league record. Tulane earned its first sweep of the season in four opportunities, and is back to a .500 record – at 18-18 overall – for the first time since the opening weekend. The Wave have won four in a row and 15 of their last 21 games.
Tulane trailed 5-3 with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Lex Kaplan and Hunter Williams delivered back-to-back solo home runs to tie the score at 5-all. The Wave had trailed the entire game after the Huskies (19-14, 6-3 American) scored three runs in the first inning, and added two in the seventh.
Starter J.P. France settled in after the three-run first inning to throw five straight shutout frames. He left after 6.0 innings with five strikeouts, and seven hits and one walk allowed. Keagan Gillies, Christian Colletti and Chase Solesky combined to pitch 5.2 shutout relief innings. Colletti allowed just two hits and struck out two in 3.0 innings, and Solesky (2-2) tossed a scoreless 12th inning, and earned the win.
“France wasn’t his best early, but he bulldogged it. To me that’s what a true competitor does, when maybe he doesn’t have his best stuff, but has the ability to hang in there and keep the score where it is, so that we have a chance to come back,” Tulane head coach Travis Jewett said. “That was an awesome job by him. We made a couple of defensive mistakes that we haven’t been making that added to some of their run total, but luckily it didn’t hurt us too much. Then Kaplan and (Williams) come up in the last inning and have two balls leave the field to tie it. Colletti was just wonderful again. He was in control of his pitches, which allowed us to extend him a little bit. Brown’s plan was good. He got the pitch he was looking for, and he did something with it.”
DeHart drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the 12th, Hoese bunted him to second, and Hunter Hope was intentionally walked, setting up Brown’s at bat. The junior from Biloxi hit a fastball through the hole in the left side, and DeHart hustled home to beat the throw that was on the first base side of the plate.
Tulane went scoreless until the fifth inning when Jake Willsey doubled home Brown, and Kaplan followed Grant Witherspoon’s single with an RBI fielder’s choice groundout that plated Willsey, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
UConn extended its lead to 5-2 in the top of the seventh when Anthony Prato and Willy Yahn walked, and scored on a throwing error from the catcher with two outs, in an attempt to pickoff Yahn at second base.
The Green Wave got a run back in the bottom of the inning on Hunter Williams’ single through the left side that scored Willsey from second after a walk and passed ball. The Wave left runners at second and third in the eighth inning after infield singles by Kody Hoese and Paul Gozzo, but Kaplan and Williams came through with the home runs in the ninth to knot the score.
UConn took a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Troy Stefanski and Yahn singled to put runners at the corners, and Stefanski scored on an error on Zac Susi’s fielder’s choice grounder. An RBI groundout by Isaac Feldstein and a double by John Toppa plated two more runs. UConn pitchers tallied 18 strikeouts, including eight by starter Mason Feole and eight by reliever John Russell. Feole allowed two runs on five hits and four walks in 5.2 innings. Trevor Holmes (0-1) pitched the final 1.1 innings, and took the loss.
“That’s a good sweep, obviously. Coach (Jim) Penders and their coaching staff do a great job. That’s a good team, and they’re going to win a lot of games, especially with those arms,” Jewett said. “I keep telling our players we’ve found ourselves in this situation the last couple of weeks, and if they keep doing that, eventually something good is going to happen and they’re going to crack the third game of the series. They’re just believing, and I’m just happy for their success. It was fun to see that today, because they certainly deserved that.”
The Green Wave plays two midweek home games this week, facing Louisiana-Lafayette at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Southern Miss at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
Follow Green Wave Baseball on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Follow Tulane Athletics on Twitter and Facebook.
Tulane 6, UConn 5 (Apr 15, 2017 at New Orleans, La.)
UConn…………… 300 000 200 000 – 5 11 0 (19-14, 6-3)
Tulane………….. 000 020 102 001 – 6 12 2 (18-18, 7-2)
Pitchers: UConn – Feole, Mason; Radue, Ryan(6); Russell, John(7); Rajkowski, Dan(10);
Holmes, Trevor(11) and Susi, Zac. Tulane – FRANCE, J.P.; ISSA, Brandon(7); GILLIES, Keagan(7);
COLLETTI, Christian(9); SOLESKY, Chase(12) and GOZZO, Paul.
Win-SOLESKY, Chase(2-2) Loss-Holmes, Trevor(0-1) T-4:03 A-1960
HR TLN – KAPLAN, Lex (7); WILLIAMS, Hunter (6).
Weather: 78 Mstly Cloudy, Wind [email protected]