Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
SAN MARCOS — Sophomore Daniel Rockett's one-out sacrifice fly in the 10th inning lifted sixth-seeded UTSA past No. 3 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 3-2, in Thursday's opening game of the Southland Conference Tournament at Bobcats Ballpark.
The victory sent the Roadrunners (27-30) to the winner's bracket, where they will meet either No. 2 seed Stephen F. Austin or seventh-seeded Lamar at 4 p.m. on Thursday. It was UTSA's fourth win against the Islanders (34-23) in as many games this spring and the Birds now have won six of the last seven meeings with their I-37 rival.
"It is extremely big to get that first win," 11th-year head coach Sherman Corbett said. "It sets the tone for the rest of the tournament."
Senior Tyler Carpenter led off the decisive frame with a double down the left-field line before sophomore Ryan Dalton's bunt single pushed him to third. After junior Matthew James lined out to shortstop, Rockett, who fouled off back-to-back pitches while attempting to bunt, drove a 1-2 offering from Phillip Garcia into right center that allowed Carpenter to score the go-ahead run.
"I missed the first two bunts, so I had a little pressure on me, but I stayed relaxed and just got the bat on the ball," Rockett said.
Senior Kevin Clarke (3-4) worked around a one-out base hit by Jeramie Marek and a two-out walk to Trey Hernandez in the final frame the close out the victory.
Phillip Garcia (2-1), who entered the game with two outs in the ninth, was saddled with the loss for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which will play at 9 a.m. on Thursday in the tournament's first elimination game.
Rockett finished the contest 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.
The Islanders took a 2-0 lead in the third on back-to-back RBI singles by Montgomery and Trey Hernandez.
Four consecutive hits to lead off the fourth, including a double by James, helped the Roadrunners pull even.
The Roadrunners squelched a pair of threats to send the game into extra innings.
A&M-Corpus Christi strung back-to-back singles together in the fifth against UTSA junior starter Casey Selsor, but Hernandez grounded into a 5-3 double play.
After Selsor was chased from the game after surrendering a two-out base hit to Santiago Ruiz in the ninth, Clarke came on and promptly picked off pinch runner Sean Washington.
Selsor allowed a pair of runs on 10 hits and struck out three over his 8.2 innings.