UTSA holds off Florida Atlantic on Friday night, 6-4
SAN ANTONIO — UTSA claimed its first-ever Conference USA victory on Friday night, edging Florida Atlantic, 6-4, at Roadrunner Field.
Mike Warren and John Welborn each had two hits and a pair of RBIs to lead the Roadrunners (10-4, 1-0 C-USA) to their fourth consecutive victory and fifth in the last six games.
Warren got UTSA started in the bottom of the first with a hard-hit single that ticked off the end of the second baseman Robert Buckley's glove, which allowed Welborn and RJ Perucki to score from second and third, respectively, and give UTSA a 2-0 lead.
Back-to-back RBI singles by Billy Endris and Stephen Kerr in the next half inning tied the score at two.
Those were the only runs UTSA starter Brock Hartson surrendered. The sophomore right-hander stuck out six over five innings and then gave way to the bullpen with the game still knotted at two.
Jeremy Filipek entered in place of Hartson in the sixth and stranded two runners on base with a strikeout of Tyler Rocklein to end the frame.
The Owls (10-4, 0-1 C-USA) left 13 runners on base Friday night.
Wesley Cox (2-1) continued the Roadrunners' penchant for escaping unharmed with runners on base in the seventh. With a runner on third and one out, Cox fielded a Danny Murray squeeze bunt with his glove hand and flipped the ball to catcher John Bormann just before Ricky Santiago reached the plate from third. Cox then induced a ground out to second to finish the inning.
Feeding off the momentum from Cox’s fielding gem, the offense finally broke through against FAU’s bullpen in the eighth.
Warren belted a leadoff double into the left field corner to get things started and Mitchell Matulia followed with a walk. Bormann then dropped down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners into scoring position. After the Owls intentionally walked Tony Ramirez to load the bases and got a popup from C.J. Pickering for the innings second out, Welborn stepped to the plate.
C-USA's leading hitter stroked a two-run single to center, which gave UTSA a 4-2 lead. Ramirez scored a batter later on a wild pitch by Cody Mizelle (1-1) and Welborn added a fourth run in the inning on a balk.
The Owls got a pinch-hit two-run homer to left off the bat of Esteban Puerta in the ninth, but Matt Sims was able to finish off the Roadrunners' inaugural C-USA victory by inducing a Buckley groundout to second.
The weekend three-game series with conclude with an 11 a.m. doubleheader on Saturday due to the threat of inclement weather on Sunday.