Tulane drops Houston in season finale at C-USA tournament

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Tulane's Sean Potkay, left, congratulates Garrett Cannizaro after a win at Turchin Stadium earlier this season. Potkay, a senior, scored the tying run in the Green Wave's season finale Saturday, a 3-2 win over Houston in the Conference USA tournament at Reckling Park.
Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Tulane's Sean Potkay, left, congratulates Garrett Cannizaro after a win at Turchin Stadium earlier this season. Potkay, a senior, scored the tying run in the Green Wave's season finale Saturday, a 3-2 win over Houston in the Conference USA tournament at Reckling Park.

HOUSTON — Already eliminated from the championship round of the Conference USA baseball tournament, Tulane came from behind Saturday afternoon to defeat Houston 3-2, notching three runs in seventh inning of the Green Wave’s season finale.

Tulane (30-28) avoided a .500 record by staging a late rally after Houston starter Jake Lemoine retired 16 straight batters during one stretch.

The Cougars (36-22) held a 2-0 lead to start the seventh. That’s when senior Brandon Boudreaux doubled down the right-field line and Sean Potkay drew a walk, giving Tulane its first two base runners since the first inning. Bowen Woodson scored Boudreaux with a single through the right side to cut Houston’s lead to one run. Another single by Tim Yandel tied the score at 2.

Chase Wellbrock came on in relief for the Cougars, and pinch hitter Andrew Garner flew out to center field, advancing both runners. An errant throw back into the infield allowed Woodson to come home for the go-ahead run, sliding in before the tag on a relay throw from second base.

“Bowen Woodson scored from second on a fly ball. (That) was special,” Tulane coach Rick Jones said. “I know this was not the kind of season our fans wanted, or expected, but I’m real proud of this team.”

Despite facing only three batters, senior David Napoli was earned his fifth win of the season. Andrew Garner pitched the final three innings for his sixth save. He struck out four.

Houston had ample chances to score, but the Cougars left 13 runners on base. Tulane stranded three.

Eleven seniors played their final game for the Green Wave, who finished 2-1 at the Conference USA tournament, which uses a pool-play format. A first-day loss to Southern Miss ultimately kept Tulane out of the championship round.

“I haven’t had a senior class that has been more committed to this program, and to see them get the win today against a team that desperately needed a win — and the way we did it, by rallying the way we did — was special,” Jones said. “I’m real proud to be the coach of these guys today, and all of these seniors will be very successful in their futures.”