Roadrunners to play for Western Athletic Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday
GRAND PRAIRIE — Mike Warren hit an RBI double in the sixth inning and Matt Sims pitched five scoreless relief innings to propel No. 4 seed UTSA to a 1-0 victory against top-seeded CSU Bakersfield on Saturday in the final game of Pool A at the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Roadrunners (34-23), who now have won a season-high six consecutive games, finished pool play with a perfect 3-0 record and they advanced to Sunday's Championship Game, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. (opponent TBA).
"I told the guys they will never forget that ballgame," first-year head coach Jason Marshall said. "There was a lot of energy in the park and we were playing the No. 1 team. Then we get the weather delay last night. There were a lot of odd circumstances in the game, but I was very proud. I felt like we weren't going to lose today. We were on a mission to get it done and just found a way to win."
The contest, which was suspended in the top of the fifth on Friday night following a one-hour, 54-minute weather delay, began at 9:58 a.m. on Saturday and was completed an hour and 13 minutes later.
After play resumed, UTSA (34-23) was unable to advance John Welborn, who had doubled to lead off the fifth before action was suspended last night.
Sims took the ball in the bottom of the frame and struck out the first two hitters he faced. The right-hander then walked Jordie Hein with two outs. On the next pitch, Hein bolted for second, but he was thrown out trying to steal on John Bormann's perfect toss to second baseman Jesse Baker.
The Roadrunners capitalized on the momentum in the following panel.
Tony Ramirez grounded a 2-2 breaking pitch up the middle for a single and he was advanced to second on a Baker sacrifice bunt. Warren then ripped a double down the left-field line, which brought Ramirez across the plate with what proved to be the contest's lone run.
Sims (6-2), who worked a perfect seventh, walked to Kevin Younger to start the eighth. Younger then was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on Hein's groundout. However, Sims induced a pop out to third baseman RJ Perucki off the bat of Oscar Sanay to strand Younger 60 feet from the dish.
The Cypress native returned in the ninth and retired CSUB (37-22) in order to secure UTSA's first berth in a conference title game since 2005.
Sims, who won his second game of the week, held CSU Bakersfield hitless over his five stanzas of work. He walked three and struck out a pair.
"I just wanted to give my team a chance to win," he said. "If I could keep it scoreless, I knew our offense would come through."
UTSA out-hit CSUB, 9-3, and Bormann paced the Birds with a 3-for-4 performance.
Chuck Buchanan (3-3) allowed a run on three hits in five innings of relief of starter Scott Brattvet, who tossed four scoreless stanzas before the game was suspended on Friday.
UTSA will not know its opponent until the winner of Pool B is decided after the final game of pod play on Saturday night. The Roadrunners could face any of the four teams in the other pool – No. 2 seed UT Arlington, third-seeded Texas State, No. 6 New Mexico State or seventh-seeded Dallas Baptist. All four come into the final day with identical 1-1 tournament records.