SAN ANTONIO — Michael Kraft struck out a career-high 11 batters, but Washington State built a five-run lead and held off a late UTSA rally to pick up a 6-3 victory in Friday's series opener at Roadrunner Field.
The Cougars (9-3) scored a run in the third, three in the fourth and another in the fifth to build the early five-run cushion.
The Roadrunners answered with a three-run seventh, which included a two-run double by Riley Good, but they were shut out the rest of the way.
Washington State tacked on an insurance run in the ninth to secure the three-run win.
Kraft (1-2), who struck out six batters in the first three frames, surrendered an unearned run in the third inning.
Trek Stemp produced a one-out single to start the stanza. He advanced to second on a passed ball and moved to third when John Bormann's throw sailed into center field. On the following pitch, Collin Slaybaugh dumped a double down the left-field line and Stemp trotted home for the first run of the night.
An inning later, the Cougars busted out for three tallies, including a two-run homer by Trace Tam Sing.
Washington State picked up its fifth run, also unearned, in the fifth.
UTSA's lone scoring frame began when Bormann drew a one-out walk. Jesse Baker followed with a single to center field, which allowed Bormann to move to third. Rodney Garza then reached on an infield single that pushed Bormann across the plate. After John Welborn reached on a fielder's choice, and Baker was forced out at third base, Good hammered a two-run double to the warning track in center.
The Cougars produced one final run in the ninth.
P.J. Jones led off the stanza with a single through the left side and Tam Sing laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Jones to second. Stemp then followed with a run-scoring single to right.
Stemp paced Washington State's 11-hit attack with a 3-for-4 performance, while Tam Sing was 1-for-3 with his first homer of the season and two RBIs.
Joe Pistorese (1-1) earned the win after allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out six in seven innings. J.D. Leckenby gave up a single to Welborn in the ninth but retired the side to pick up his fifth save of the season.
Kraft was handed the loss after giving up five runs (three earned) on nine hits over 6.1 frames.
The series continues with a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday.