Power surge propels Tulane past USF
No. 20 Tulane arrived at USF Baseball Stadium for its weekend series out-homering its opposition by more than a 3-to-1 ratio.
That power chasm remained profound on an unseasonably crisp Friday night against the Bulls.
No. 8 hitter Jake Willsey belted two of the Green Wave's three home runs in a 9-4 Tulane romp before an announced crowd of 581. Junior DH Jeremy Montalbano had the decisive blow -- a two-out, three-run shot in the top of the eighth that provided the final margin.
Willsey led off the inning with his second homer of the game.
"We left some balls up tonight, no doubt about it," said Bulls coach Mark Kingston, who watched seven of the Green Wave's nine hits go for extra bases.
"They're leading the conference in home runs; they've got big, strong guys in their lineup and that's what those guys tend to do when you leave the ball up."
Bulls junior RHP Phoenix Sanders, coming off arguably his best outing of the season (eight IP, two hits) in last week's shutout of UCF, struck out eight but scattered seven hits over five innings. His two-run homer to Willsey in the top of the second gave Tulane a 3-0 lead.
But USF (21-24, 6-10 American Athletic Conference) twice cut its deficit to one. Freshman Coco Montes' two-run double in the bottom of the seventh trimmed the Tulane lead to 5-4 before the Green Wave (29-14, 9-5) answered with their four-run outburst in the top of the eighth.
RF Luke Maglich homered for USF, extending his on-base streak to 10 consecutive games.
"I thought we took pretty good at-bats most of the game, but it's got to be better," Kingston said. "That's a very strong, regional-caliber team on the other side. That's where we're trying to get."