Tulane sports information contributed to this story
The Tulane baseball team exploded for nine runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and got six more in the seventh to claim the series with a victory against the USF Bulls in a 20-11 slugfest Saturday afternoon at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.
While not giving up the lead outright, USF (15-18, 2-9 The American) made things interesting with their seven-run fifth inning to cut Tulane’s (24-11, 6-2) 10-run advantage to just three. Fortunately, the team wasn’t done scoring just yet and was able to put up six more in the bottom half of that same inning to squash any notion of a comeback attempt.
The Green Wave (24-11, 6-2) tattooed USF pitching on the day, plating their 20 runs on 16 hits, including producing five doubles and three home runs. In the game the Green Wave were 11-for-23 with runners on base and a staggering 10-for-18 with runners in scoring position, with 13 runs coming with two outs.
“After they put up that seven spot in that inning, there was a bit of a challenge among ourselves in the dugout. It’s good to see because we’ve got to hold each other accountable because when we get these kinds of leads, we’ve got to smell the finish line,” head coach Travis Jewett said. “We have a thing called respond frames, and our guys came out and responded after that.”
Trevor Jensen was one of five Tulane players to earn multiple hits in the win on Saturday, etching his name in the record books with six RBI, becoming the first player since Rob Segedin to do so. He finished the game going 4-for-6 as the only thing he was missing was a triple to complete the cycle.
Luke Glancy drove in four for the second time this week, going 2-for-5 with a home run. Kody Hoese’s only hit helped him extend his nation-leading total to 19 and Jensen having the other long ball on the day.
Tulane starting pitcher Keagan Gillies (2-1) pitched five innings and struck out a season-high eight USF batters, allowing four runs on seven hits. Brendan Cellucci (3) earned the save as he came on after the Bulls scored seven runs to pull within four in the seventh, with the game-tying and go-ahead runs lying in wait.
The top of the order for USF in Kyle Phillips, Jake Sullivan and Jordan Santos combined for nine of the visitors’ 14 hits, as Phillips and Joe Genord each drove in three. Sullivan wound up with the loss as he finished the day allowing eight runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings, with his relief not faring much better after he exited the game.
Jensen opened the Tulane first with a single to left center, and after two outs Glancy got one up into the jet stream and the centerfielder jumped to try and make the catch and instead the ball bounced off the wall and back into center as Jensen and Glancy were both able to get in for the inside-the-park home run.
USF got a run on two hits in the third, and it would be until the bottom of the fourth before Tulane struck again which began with a smoked Collin Burns double to right center to reach. Sal Gozzo followed with a ripped shot down the right field line to score Burns and make it 3-1.
With a 2-0 count, Jensen turned on one that cleared the park and pushed the Green Wave lead to 5-1.
However, USF got a few more in the very next half inning as in the fifth a three-run home run cut the Tulane lead back to one at 5-4.
After walking two consecutive batters to load the bases in the fifth, USF replaced Sullivan with Richie Cruz. With an 0-2 count to Gozzo, the next four pitches were outside of the zone and the floodgates opened from there as the team used four hits in the frame and a few more walks to turn a tense, 5-4 game into a 14-4 lead.
Jensen singled to bring two more in for the Green Wave. Hoese was hit to put three back on and Hudson Haskin doubled himself through the right side to plate two, with Glancy poking a single through the right side to clear the bases and bring in two more.
Frankie Niemann walked and Grant Mathews came through with a looping ball that fell fair between a trio of USF fielders for the double to plate runs eight and nine for the inning to push the lead to 14-4.
With a much different game at hand in the bottom of the seventh, Hoese returned some of the wind to the team’s sails with his solo shot to left to open the inning. A single by Haskin and consecutive walks loaded the bases for Tulane, as Mathews and Jonathon Artigues each hit singles to bring in a run each.
Following a strikeout, Gozzo drove in Niemann with a sacrifice fly to center, with Jensen putting the finishing touches on the game with a two-RBI double to left to put the game out of reach at 20-11.
Tulane will close out the series against the Bulls on Sunday. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.