HOUSTON — UTSA scored four runs in the seventh inning, but 18th-ranked Rice answered with a five spot in the bottom half of the frame and the Owls pulled away for a 11-5 victory in front of 3,052 fans on Wednesday night at Reckling Park.
Rice (16-7), which won its seventh consecutive game, sent all nine batters to the plate and scored all five runs with two outs in the decisive stanza.
After a pair of ground outs, Connor Tekyl drew a walk and Keenan Cook then was hit by the following pitch. The Owls followed with four consecutive hits, including a Leon Byrd RBI double, which capped the scoring.
The Roadrunners (13-8) picked up a run-scoring single from Rodney Garza a panel later, but their future Conference USA foes responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning and never looked back.
Matt Walker (0-1) was handed the loss after allowing a run and a hit in 1.2 innings of relief.
Meanwhile, Chase McDowell improved to 3-3 on the year after 6.2 stanzas of four-hit ball in which he yielded three runs and fanned three.
Rice took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Cook.
The Owls scored four times an inning later, thanks to Christian Stringer's two-run double and Michael Aquino's two-run single.
UTSA was unable to break through against McDowell until the seventh.
Tony Ramirez belted a one-out solo home run to right and, two batters later, Garza kept the inning alive with a single. Jesse Baker then hit a double and John Welborn drew a walk to load the bases before John Bormann was hit by a pitch to push Garza across the plate. Horacio Correa III followed with a two-run single up the middle that pulled the Roadrunners to within a run. However, UTSA left two on the basepaths, as Jordan Stephens entered the game and forced RJ Perucki to ground out to end the threat.
Rice, which tied a season high with 16 hits, was led by Geoff Perrott's 4-for-4 performance.
The Roadrunners collected nine hits on the evening, including two apiece by Garza and Mike Warren and Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
UTSA will open Western Athletic Conference play at home this weekend against UT Arlington (10-10). The three-game series will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday.