The Houston Cougars’ trip to New Orleans to take on No. 20 Tulane yielded both positives and negatives. The teams split the series after the Sunday game was cancelled due to inclement weather. Houston is now 24-17, and 6-8 in the conference, and largely still on the outside looking in when it comes to post-season.
Tulane looked to be a significant challenge to the somewhat struggling Cougars. But the opening game of the series showed what they are capable of. Houston played uncharacteristically, scoring 10 runs.
With their bats finally coming alive, they didn’t have to rely on pitching, as they usually do. Ace Andrew Lantrip struggled a bit. He allowed six runs on ten hits. But he still struck out seven. And in the sixth, John King took over on the mound. King, and Nick Hernandez, who came in at the bottom of the ninth to close out the game, stopped the bleeding, allowing no runs or hits, eliminating any chance that the Green Wave could claw their way back into the game.
Houston showed that they are capable of clutch hitting. Going into the ninth inning, the game was tied, 6-6. At the most opportune time, they had their most prolific inning of the night. Four runs later, they were ahead 10-6. And after some impressive Hernandez pitching to close the game out, Houston got a nice road victory over a ranked conference opponent.
Both Corey Julks and Josh Vidales went 3-for-5. For Vidales, this was an especially great night, as he had been struggled at bat since his return from injury. This was, kind of, a return to offensive form for the Cougar who bleeds scarlet and albino.
On Saturday, after the game was delayed due to rain, the Cougars struggled. Seth Romero, the dominant sophomore pitcher, had a tough outing on the mound. Well, more precisely, he had a tough inning. In the fifth, he allowed five runs. Unlike Friday, the bullpen struggled similarly, as Bubba Maxwell allowed another five runs.
The offense didn’t have as dominant a performance as they did in the preceding game. They were held scoreless, aside from an outpouring of scoring in the top of the fifth, where the Cougars drove four runs in. Obviously, though, this wasn’t enough, and they fell to Tulane 10-4.
Although they looked to redeem themselves on Sunday, and take home a series victory, the weather did not cooperate. They spent hours waiting for the rains to let up to no avail. The game was eventually called off and the Cougars returned home with a split series. This wasn’t necessarily a bad result, and Houston still has a series remaining against Tulane, where they can prove that they are a team worthy of the post-season. Here’s hoping.