· Box score
|Ryan Dalton finished his first year as a Roadrunner with UTSA freshman records of 17 home runs and 51 RBIs.
— Blake Roberts launched two home runs and had a career-high six RBIs to lead Central Arkansas to an 11-6 victory against UTSA on Saturday in the season finale for both teams.
The Roadrunners (22-28, 13-20 SLC), who saw their season-long eight-game winning streak come to an end, entered the afternoon needing a win coupled with a Nicholls loss at McNeese State.
Neither happened, as the Colonels rallied for a 10-7 triumph with a seven-run ninth to earn the eighth and final spot in next week's Southland Conference Tournament in Corpus Christi (May 26-29). Texas State defeated UT Arlington, 8-6, on Saturday to claim its second consecutive regular-season title and the Bobcats will enter the four-day event as the top seed.
It marks the first time since 2003 that UTSA has not advanced to postseason play.
Roberts drove home a run with a fielder's choice as part of a two-run third, two more with a homer to left center two innings later and finished off the prolific day at the plate with a three-run shot to left in the eighth. The Bears' first baseman finished the series 7-for-14 with a pair of doubles to go along with today's long balls and half dozen RBIs.
Central Arkansas (19-35-1, 10-22-1 SLC) led throughout, scoring two in the third, one more a frame later and three in the fifth to go in front, 6-0.
The Bears rode the right arm of Michael Wild (7-8) from there.
Making his first start in more than a month, the senior right-hander retired the first 12 Roadrunners he faced and 16 of 17 overall before freshman Daniel Rockett hit his fourth homer of the season, a solo shot, with one down in the sixth.
UCA got the run back on a Michael Pair double in the bottom of the frame, but sophomore Casey Selsor left the park for the eighth time this spring with a one-out solo job in the seventh.
UTSA finally got to Wild in the next stanza, touching him up for four runs.
Rockett led off the inning with a walk and junior Tyler Carpenter followed singled when right fielder Jake Fuller lost his pop up in the sun. Senior Lance Brown then brought Rockett home with a base hit up the middle to extend his hitting streak to 10 games and, after junior Ryan Hutson struck out looking, freshman Ryan Dalton launched a towering home run to left center to pull the Birds to within one at 7-6. Selsor lined a single up the middle two hitters later to chase Wild from the game, but freshman Jake Wood grounded out to second on the first pitch he saw from Jeremy Brewer to end the threat.
The Bears scored four times in the bottom of the panel to put the game out of reach.
Wild gave up a half dozen runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out eight in his 7.2 innings of work. Brewer, meanwhile, got the final four outs for his second save of the year.
Junior righty Taylor Walton (6-2), who came into the contest riding a streak of four quality starts in a row, was saddled with the loss after coughing up five runs on six hits in 4.1 frames.
Dalton's homer was the 17th of his inaugural campaign, which is the third-best single-season total in program history, and he is tied with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's Trey Hernandez for the league lead (t-2nd NCAA among freshman). His three RBIs gave him a team-best 51, which also is a UTSA freshman record.
Zach Dickson, Pair and Tye Throneberry added three hits apiece as part of Central Arkansas' 15-hit offensive attack.
The victory made Bears eighth-year skipper Doug Clark the winningest head coach in program history. Today was Clark's 209th victory, which is one more than former record-holder Dr. Fletcher Lowry (1955-65, '67-70).