NEW ORLEANS, La. -- No. 20 Houston Baseball used an all-around effort, highlighted by a strong pitching performance by freshman Seth Romero to earn a 7-1 win over Tulane on Sunday afternoon to close out the weekend with its fourth straight series victory in American Athletic Conference play.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 32-16 on the year and are now tied with just East Carolina in league play with an 11-7 record. Houston went 4-2, and won both series, against the Green Wave this season as the two teams met home and home as part of the alignment in league play.
The showdown against both first place teams will take place this weekend at Cougar Field in a three-game series, set to begin Friday at 6:30 p.m. Saturday's 4 p.m. game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network and Sunday's finale will be played at Noon. For tickets to the weekend series, visit: UHCougars.com/Basetickets
NUMBERS OF NOTE
4 -- Houston has won four straight series, dating back to April 10.
8 -- With the series win, the Cougars have now won eight series this season.
10 -- Kyle Survance walked and has reached base in 10 straight games.
18.1 -- Houston's pitching staff held Tulane scoreless for 18.1 innings before allowing one run in the ninth.
Houston's pitching once again was dominant, as it nearly earned three shutouts in one week. Today's effort was led by Romero (8.1,5,1,1,2,6), who improved to 6-3 on the year with his one-run, five-hit performance, allowing just two walks, while striking out six in 8.1 innings.
The southpaw earned his third straight win in his third straight start and has now last at least 6.0 innings in all five starts as a true freshman.
Romero held Tulane scoreless until the Green Wave plated their only run of the game in the ninth. Prior to that ninth-inning run, Romero had retired 10 straight Tulane hitters after a leadoff single in the sixth.
Fellow freshman Aaron Fletcher (0.2,1,0,0,0,1) fanned one and was able to escape an inherited jam to close out the win for the Cougars in relief.
The Houston offense provided Romero all the run support he needed as it scored five combined runs over the second and third innings, and added single runs in the sixth and ninth for seven on 13 hits in the effort today.
Leading the way offensively was junior Ian Rice, who went 3-for-4 with a run, three RBI and a walk, while freshman Corey Julks also tallied three hits, scored a run and had an RBI. Junior Jacob Campbell finished the day, 2-for-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a walk, while junior Justin Montemayor drove in a run and had a two-hit day and junior Ashford Fulmer added a hit and RBI, while freshman Connor Wong had a hit and scored a run.
After a quick 1-2-3 first inning, the Cougars broke open the scoreless game with a pair of runs in the second after Campbell singled to get things going, moved to third on a double down the left field line by Julks and both came around to score on a single by Rice to make it 2-0 Houston.
The Cougars would add to their lead with three runs in the third after Survance and Vidales reached on back-to-back walks to open the frame. A flyout by junior Chris Iriart moved Survance to third, allowing Campbell to single home another run, making it 3-0 in favor of the Cougars.
Julks would follow up with a hard single, his second hit of the game, scoring Vidales, while Rice then reached on a fielder's choice, but would score Campbell to give Houston the 5-0 lead.
Romero worked around two hits, stranding a pair on the corners in the third to keep Tulane off the board through four innings, allowing Houston to add another run in the fifth after Wong and Rice reached on back-to-back 1-out singles, allowing Montemayor to plate Wong on a bloop single that found the left field line to give the Cougars a 6-0 lead.
Tulane threatened in the sixth with a leadoff double and walk with a flyout, putting runners at the corners with one out, but Romero was able to induce a big strikeout and inning-ending groundout to keep the Green Wave off the board and keep Houston ahead, 6-0.
The Cougars would add an insuruance run in the ninth when Rice scored on a two-out RBI single up the middle by Fulmer to make it 7-0.
Tulane would scratch across its only run in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI-double following a one-out double and walk in the frame.
The Green Wave would throw eight different pitchers against the Cougars, but starter Patrick Duester (2.1,5,5,5,5,2,3) would suffer the loss, falling to 5-5 on the year. Duester's ERA entering the game was a meniscal 1.78, but was increased to 2.55 following the five runs he allowed in just 2.1 innings of work.
Head Coach Todd Whitting
"Two back-to-back series wins on the road for us, last week at USF and now here at Tulane. It is tough to go on the road in back-to-back weekends, but to come away with two series wins is big. I thought this weekend, we pitched off-the-charts.
On the starting pitching all week
"We had a great 3-1 week. In all three games, we had lights out starting pitching. We had great pitching by all four starters, beginning with [David] Longville on Tuesday vs. Sam Houston State, followed by [Andrew] Lantrip with the tough-luck loss on Friday, followed by great performances by [Kyle] Dowdy and [Seth] Romero today, who were both nails in their starts. For us to get to the postseason and play well in the postseason, we need pitching performances like that, holding opponents to a minimal amount of runs, while our offense is trying to put runs on the board."
Houston will return home and play its final eight games in the city of Houston with seven being played at Cougar Field. The Cougars will begin the stretch with a midweek contest vs. McNeese State on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Single game tickets for the remaining seven home games at Cougar Field can be purchased by clicking here: UHCougars.com/Basetickets.
Along with the online option, fans can purchase tickets by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office at TDECU Stadium Monday through Friday, 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m. or can call 713-GO-COOGS.
Houston Baseball offers variable pricing on its single-game tickets and group rates.
For the first time ever, the pricing breakdown will be determined whether or not you purchase your single-game tickets online vs. at the gate the day of the game as well as whether the Cougars play on a weekday (Monday-Thursday) or weekend (Friday-Sunday).
Weekday: Monday-Thursday; Weekend: Friday-Sunday.
As noted in the table, variable pricing occurs. For weekday (Tuesday nights) online purchases, fans can take in a game, ranging from $5-$7 depending on the choice of seating. If you choose to purchase the day of the game as a Weekday Walk-Up, you will pay roughly $2 more than the online price ($7-$9).
Weekend (Friday-Sunday) online pricing will range from $6-$8 per game, while Weekend Walk-Up pricing the day of the game will run a fan anywhere from $8-$10.
Group rates are also available (as noted in the table). Weekday (Tuesday) and Weekend (Friday-Sunday) pricing occurs. Groups of 10-24 are set at $4-$5 per person, while groups of 25+ are $3-$4 per person.
HOW TO PURCHASE
To purchase tickets in advance, fans must visit the Athletics Ticket Stadium Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m. or you can call 713-GO-COOGS.
JOIN THE DUGOUT CLUB
Nationally-ranked Houston Baseball would like to encourage those wishing to support the efforts and success of the baseball student-athletes to consider joining the Dugout Club for as low as $25 a month or $300 annually.
For a minimum monthly installment of $25 or a minimum one-time gift of $300, supporters can take advantage of the Pinch Hitter level, which will guarantee an invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball team apparel.
For a minimum monthly installment of $100 or a minimum one-time gift of $1,000, supporters can take advantage of the Diamond level, which will guarantee batting practice passes for two to any home game, invitation for two to exclusive Dugout Club events and Houston Baseball apparel.
**Cougar Pride points will be applied accordingly.
For more information on joining the Dugout Club, please contact the Houston Baseball office at (713) 743-9396.
For more information regarding Cougar Pride, please call (713) 743-GOUH.
Stay up to date with all Houston Baseball news and highlights by following us on Twitter @UHCougarBB or on Facebook at /HoustonCougarBaseball. Fans can also follow head coach Todd Whitting @toddwhitting on Twitter.