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Friday, September 29, 2023


Cougars breakthe Green Wave

Houston’s 11-7 win against Conference USA foe Tulane on Sunday involved big offensive innings and impressive pitching as the Cougars move to 22-12 on the season with a 2-1 finish in the series against the Green Wave.

Coming off a rare poor offensive performance in Saturday’s loss, Houston opened the series finale against the Green Wave with a three-run first inning. Consecutive hits by senior left fielder Jake Stewart, senior third baseman Bryan Pounds and senior second baseman Ryan Lormand were capped off by a two-out double by freshman right fielder Matt Murphy, putting the Cougars in the lead 3-0 early.

After Tulane scored four times in the second to take the lead, Houston scored three times in the fourth and put up another three-run inning in the sixth, highlighted by a one out two-run home run by freshman shortstop Blake Kelso.

"We were just trying to get another run on the board, and I saw a good pitch and I was just looking to drive it," Kelso told broadcast announcer Jeremy Branham during the postgame show.

Kelso finished the game 2-for-5 with a run and four RBIs. Now batting .329 on the season and tied for the team lead in doubles (14) and triples (2), the freshman’s simple approach at the plate has been bringing him success.

"I just try to get a good pitch to hit every time, and when it’s there I just try to drive it," Kelso said. "With runners on I just try to get them in any way possible."

Kelso wasn’t the only Houston freshman with an impressive performance. Entering the game in the sixth with runners at first and second and one out, pitcher Chase Dempsay proceeded to strike out the next five Green Wave hitters, finishing the game with six strikeouts over 3.2 innings to earn the save.

Senior Bryan Tully earned the win, throwing 3.1 innings and giving up one run on three hits. Tully (3-2) entered the game with two on in the third after sophomore starter Donnie Joseph’s continued struggles.

In Saturday’s matchup, Tulane sophomore pitcher Matt Petiton held the Cougars hitless in his six innings of relief to hand the Green Wave the 7-5 win. Petiton (3-0) held the Houston offense in check, allowing his team to take the lead for good in the fifth inning.

"To do that against this kind of Houston team that has the kind of numbers that they have offensively – that’s not going to happen unless you can really spot up all your pitches, and (that’s) what (Petiton) did," Tulane head coach Rick Jones said.

Houston took the series opener on Friday night 4-3. Sophomore pitcher Wes Musick earned the win, giving up three runs on four hits over 7.1 innings to bring his record to 7-1 on the season. Presley went 2-for-4 on the night with two RBIs to lead the offense.

The Cougars are now 6-2 in their last eight games, with six of those being played against C-USA teams. Houston is now 7-2 in the conference, good enough for second behind Rice (10-2 C-USA). Tulane (24-11-1) is now fifth in the conference at 4-4-1.

The Cougars will head to Nacogdoches on Tuesday for a 3 p.m. game against the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. Additional reporting by Ronnie Turner

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