By Ryan Decker
France pitched seven strong innings, keeping the Mountaineers off the scoreboard and largely off the base paths, limiting them to just four hits.
With France keeping WVU at bay, Tulane cruised to a 6-0 victory to claim the first two games of the three-game weekend series.
West Virginia was sat down in order in each of the first two innings, and only got a total of two runners aboard through the fifth frame.
The Green Wave, on the other hand, loaded the bases and scored one run in the first, and added two more runs in the second on back-to-back base hits that knocked WVU starting pitcher Carter Camp out of the game.
Tulane threatened again in the third, but Jacob Potock didn’t allow either runner to touch home. He wasn’t as fortunate the following inning, as once again the Green Wave had multiple runners reached base. Grant Witherspoon scored on a sacrifice fly by Jarret DeHart to give Tulane a 4-0 lead.
West Virginia’s best chance to break through against France came in the seventh, when Jackson Cramer walked to lead off the inning and Cole Austin singled to right to put two runners on with zero outs.
France buckled down, inducing a pair of infield pop ups with a strikeout in between to keep Cramer planted at second.
Potock had his best outing of the season, and longest of his career. The sophomore right-hander pitched 4.2 innings (1.1 innings more than he had pitched combined in his three previous appearances) and gave up just five hits and struck out four.
Two runs did score while he was on the mound, both coming around to score on sacrifice flies.
Tulane added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth with another sac fly against WVU’s Frank Vesuvio to take a six-run lead. Riley Troutt came in to relieve Vesuvio, and got out of the jam, inducing a pop up with a pair of runners in scoring position.
Darius Hill’s single in the ninth extended his hitting streak to twelve games. T.J. Lake was the only Mountaineer hitter to have a multi-hit performance.
West Virginia will try to salvage the series and end its two-game losing streak Sunday when it sends Conner Dotson (2-0, 1.50) to the mound. Tulane will call on Ross Massey (0-1) for the series finale.