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Tulane Green Wave

Wave Claims series against USF

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NEW ORLEANS – J.P. France struck out six over a career-long 8.1 innings, and Jake Willsey hit a two-run home run to lead Tulane baseball to a 4-3 American Athletic Conference series-clinching win over No. 25 USF Saturday at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium.

Willsey's fifth home run of the season gave the Green Wave (12-15, 2-0 American) a 2-0 lead in the third inning, and Grant Witherspoon added a two-run single in the seventh to make the score 4-1. The Bulls (23-5, 0-2 American) scored a run in the sixth, and two in the ninth.

France improved to 2-3 on the season, and allowed just two runs on seven hits. Freshman Keagan Gillies relieved him in the ninth and earned his first career save. USF starter Shane McClanahan (4-1) struck out four and allowed six hits across 6.1 innings in the loss.

The series finale is at 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available at the Tulane Athletics Ticket Office in the James W. Wilson Center. The game will be broadcast on 88.3 FM WRBH and the TuneIn Radio app, and live video and live stats can be found on www.TulaneGreenWave.com.

"We needed one from J.P. like that, and he deserved one like that too," Tulane head coach Travis Jewett said. "He was able to keep a really good offense at bay, and we were able to create enough of a distance there to handle that home run in the ninth. Keagan is starting to find himself a little bit of a role coming out of the bullpen, stop-gapping for us. It just shows a lot about his mentality and how far he's come."

In the third inning, freshman Kobi Owen, who made his second start of the season, recorded Tulane's first hit of the game on a wind-blown pop fly that landed just inside the right field foul line for a single. Willsey followed with his two-run homer to left field to make the score 2-0.

USF cut it to 2-1 in the top of the sixth on a solo home run by Coco Montes, but the Green Wave extended their lead to 4-1 with a pair of runs in the seventh.

Owen led off the frame by hustling a double similar to his hit in the third inning – a pop fly that blew toward the field and landed in shallow right between converging fielders. Willsey drew a walk, and Witherspoon lined a one-out single to right field, plating both runners to extend the lead to 4-1.

In the ninth, USF hit a leadoff double, and France was relieved after a pop out to second. Joe Genord hit a two-run home run to left field to cut it to 4-3, but Gillies induced a groundout and pop out to close the game.

The Tulane defense turned three double plays on Saturday, and has spun six in two games of the series. In the first inning, the Wave erased a leadoff single with a 3-6 double play from Hunter Williams to Jake Willsey. Willsey, Sal Gozzo and Williams teamed up for an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play in the second, and another one in the fifth.

"The ability to turn a double play changes the complexion of an inning, and it can change the complexion of a game," Jewett said. "We have guys all around that dirt out there that I know the pitchers trust. If they can get the ball down in the zone and get it on the ground, we're going to cover some turf. Certainly, both Jake and Sal can spin the heck out of it. Those are complexion changers."

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