Tulane Falls Short In Houston Series Opener, 3-2

Sophomore southpaw Brian Bogusevic (8-5) gets hard-luck loss after giving the Green Wave a complete-game effort on the mound, striking out four and walking none, but Tulane wound up stranding eight on base during the contest – including six in scoring position.

Cougar designated hitter Kevin Roberts went 2-for-4 at the plate, and struck out three in 2 and 2/3ds innings of relief work from the mound, as the Tulane University baseball team dropped the series opener to Conference USA foe Houston, 3-2, Thursday evening at Cougar Field.

Sophomore southpaw Brian Bogusevic (8-5) gave the Green Wave a complete-game effort on the mound, striking out four and walking none, but Tulane wound up stranding eight on base during the contest – including six in scoring position. Houston took advantage of a pair of Green Wave errors in the bottom of the sixth to break a 2-2 tie and plate the go-ahead run.

With the loss, Tulane falls to 37-16 on the year and 20-8 in C-USA play. The Cougars, meanwhile, improve to 27-26 overall and 18-10 in league action. The good news for the Green Wave was that the team did not lose any ground in the conference standings as Southern Miss dropped a 9-0 decision to East Carolina. The bad news, however, is that the Pirates' win clinched the regular-season title for East Carolina.

Houston struck the first offensive blow in the bottom of the first as leadoff hitter Jake Stewart was hit by pitch to open the frame, advanced the bases on a single by left fielder Travis Tully and a groundout by second baseman Cole Bruce, and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of right fielder Rob Johnson.

Following two scoreless innings, the Cougars padded their lead in the fourth as Roberts hit a leadoff single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Nick Bott, and scored on an RBI-single by first baseman Thanos Papavasiliou to make it a 2-0 ballgame.

The Green Wave made some noise in the top of the fifth as Bogusevic singled and junior shortstop Tommy Manzella walked to open the inning and chase Houston starter Brad Lincoln from the game, and junior second baseman Joe Holland loaded the bases with a single of his own. From there, junior left fielder Wes Swackhamer lifted a two-run single to right central to tie things up at 2-all.

In the bottom of the frame, Houston loaded the bases with one out courtesy of an error and a pair of singles, but it looked as if the Green Wave would get out of the jam as Bogusevic got Bott to hit a comebacker to the mound. The big lefty threw home to get Tully on the force-out, but junior catcher Greg Dini's throw on the double-play attempt sailed wide of freshman first baseman Mark Hamilton, and Bruce was able to touch the paystation all the way from second to account for the final score.

Hamilton put the tying run at second with a leadoff double in the next inning, but Roberts would retire the next three batters he faced to get out of the stanza unscathed. Then, in the seventh, Holland drew a one-out walk and went to second on a wild pitch, but Roberts would once again come through for the Cougars with a strikeout before giving way to Matt Farrington. Swackhamer gave Farrington's third offering a ride to deep left, but Tully made a leaping, full-extension catch over his head to once again snuff out the Tulane rally.

Roberts got the win for the Cougars, striking out three and walking one while scattering three hits, to improve to 5-4 on the season. Farrington kept the Green Wave off the board in 1.2 innings of relief, and Brandon Roznovsky came on with one out in the ninth and retired the two men he faced to earn his eighth save of the year.

Tulane and Houston return to action on Friday at 7 p.m. before closing out the regular season on Saturday with first pitch slate for 1 p.m. Following Saturday's showdown, Tulane will remain in Houston, Texas, for the 2004 Conference USA Tournament, which begins on Wednesday, May 26.


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