SAN ANTONIO — Senior Ryan Hutson hit three home runs to break UTSA's career record, but UTSA fell short, 9-8, in Saturday's regular-season finale against Central Arkansas at the Bird Bath.
Hutson hit his record-breaking 48th homer in the ninth, a two-run shot that pulled the Roadrunners (26-30, 16-17 SLC) within one.
"It was an unbelievable feeling," Hutson said. "I had never hit three home runs in a game before and to do it today to break the record is amazing."
The Round Rock native broke Jeff Juarez's 12-year old mark of 47, which was set from 1996-99. Hutson, who finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs, became the fourth player in the program's 20-year history to hit three home runs in a game and first since Jose Hernandez accomplished the feat on March 6, 2009.
After Hutson's blast, the Bears (24-29, 13-20 SLC) turned to Blake Payne, who worked around a single by sophomore Daniel Rockett to close out the contest and earn his fourth save of the year.
UCA took a 9-6 lead in the top of the ninth after Jonathan Houston hit a grand slam with one out.
Senior Zach Calhoon (0-1) was saddled with the loss, while Ethan McKinzie (1-1) picked up the win after pitching four innings of relief.
UTSA scored three runs in the opening frame, capped off by a two-run shot from Hutson with two down.
After Central Arkansas plated a pair in the top of the second, the Roadrunners responded with two more on a two-run double by junior Matthew James.
Two panels later, the Bears pulled within one on Matt Bauer's RBI double.
Hutson then belted a solo bomb in the fifth to push UTSA's lead to 6-3.
Central Arkansas recorded marks in the sixth and eighth to again pull within a run.
Calhoon stuck out the first batter he faced in the ninth, but he proceeded to load the bases and set up Houston's decisive hit.
The Roadrunners, who won 15 of their final 24 league games after starting 1-8, will be the No. 6 seed at next week's Southland Conference Tournament in San Marcos. UTSA will play the first game of the four-day event at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 25, against third-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (34-22, 19-14 SLC). The Birds swept the Islanders from April 1-3 at Roadrunner Field earlier this season and have won five of the last six meetings between the two programs.