HOUSTON - The UTSA baseball team added four late runs to break a 3-1 game wide open for a 7-1 final over the Rice Owls Sunday afternoon at Reckling Park.
Rice won the C-USA weekend series two-games-to-one and is now 26-16 on the season and 14-7 in conference. The Roadrunners improved to 23-17 overall and 9-8 in league play.
The Owls had a chance to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning with one away and two runners on base. UTSA right-hander Chance Kirby worked out of the jam and proceeded to pitch a complete game to improve to 4-1 on the season.
In the top of the third the Roadrunners drew a leadoff walk and scored a run on just one hit. UTSA added two more in the fifth on a pair of hits and an Owl fielding error to take a 3-0 lead.
Rice struck for a run in the sixth. Ford Stainback lined his second hit of the day and then opportunistically hustled for an extra station as the Roadrunners mishandled the ball in the outfield. Stainback sprinted for third base on a fly out and was driven home by John Clay Reeves for a 3-1 game with three full innings to play.
UTSA responded with four big runs in the top of the seventh. The frame was a mix of Rice making two different fielding errors and two UTSA home runs, including a three-run shot by C.J. Pickering after the Owls should have been safely out of the inning.
Rice was able to get baserunners in the seventh and eighth, but UTSA held on for the 7-1 final. Stainback and Connor Teykl both paced the Blue & Gray with two hits. In the weekend series Stainback went a combined 5-for-9 with four RBI and a run scored. The senior from Dallas also drew two walks and was hit by a pitch for a .571 on-base percentage.
The Owls have wrapped-up the four-game homestand. The team next plays a three-game C-USA weekend series at Western Kentucky April 24-26. After the WKU series, Rice University enters its final exams period where the team will be off from April 27 to May 5.