Junior Ryan Hutson sent the Roadrunners to their best start in program history with his eighth-inning grand slam in Saturday's nightcap.
SAN ANTONIO — UTSA continued its perfect start to the 2010 season with a doubleheader sweep of Indiana State on Saturday at Roadrunner Field.
The Birds won the seven-inning opener by a score of 4-2 before rallying for an 11-10 victory in the nightcap and they now have opened the campaign with five consecutive victories, which is the best start in the program's 19-year history.
Looking to top the previous record start of 4-0 by both the 1994 and '95 Roadrunners, UTSA found itself in a 9-7 hole with the bases loaded and one down in the eighth inning of game two.
Junior Ryan Hutson worked the count full against Sycamores right-handed reliever Phil Liniger, who moved to the mound after playing the first seven-and-a-third innings at first base. The Round Rock native launched a Liniger fastball over the left-field wall for a towering grand slam, which put the Birds back in front for good. It was Hutson's second home run of the season and the 26th of his career, which moved him into a sixth-place tie with Marc Perez (1995-97) on the program's all-time list.
"I haven't been as successful as I would like to be in those situations in our first few games of the season," Hutson said after the game. "I knew I was going to see a lot of fastballs with the bases loaded, so I just was looking for one in a spot. I was able to get a hold of one and help my teammates get a victory and, more importantly, help us win a series today. I felt good to get that monkey off my back."
That made a winner of right-handed reliever Taylor Walton (1-0), who came into the contest in the top of the frame. Junior righty Kevin Clarke, who saved the opener, gave up a sacrifice fly in the ninth but was able to retire the side following Jeremy Lucas' leadoff double off Walton and he fanned Ryan Strausborger to end the game for his second save of the day.
Brett Merkley (0-1) was saddled with the loss out of the Indiana State bullpen after giving up three runs on a hit and a pair of walks in just one-third of an inning.
Senior Jeff Taliaferro led the Roadrunners at the plate by going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and his first homer, a two-run shot in the sixth, in navy blue and orange. Aguilar and freshman Ryan Dalton both added two hits apiece.
After the Sycamores (3-3) got on the board first with a run in the third, UTSA erupted for three marks in the bottom of the frame, but ISU tied things up the following inning. The Roadrunners went back in front on Dalton's two-out RBI double in the bottom of the fourth, but Indiana State answered the bell once again with a three-run sixth. Taliaferro's long ball tied the game at six, but the Sycamores rallied once again, this time to the tune of three runs in the eighth, before Hutson delivered his game-winning hit in the bottom of the panel.
UTSA received another solid start on the mound in the lid-lifter, as sophomore southpaw Casey Selsor (2-0) took a shutout into the final frame in winning his second game of the season. The San Antonio native surrendered a pair of runs on just five hits in his 6.1 innings, walked two and matched his career-best with a half dozen strikeouts. Clarke allowed two hits that allowed a pair of inherited runners to cross the plate in the final frame, but he was able to close things out for his first save of the year.
The Birds got on the board in the third when freshman Daniel Rockett doubled with two down for his first career hit and he came home one batter later on senior Lance Brown's infield hit that got through the legs of Sycamore second baseman Grant Grgurich.
UTSA tacked on three insurance runs two innings later on a Hutson run-scoring single to left with two out and junior Brett Aguilar followed with a two-run liner to left to put the Roadrunners in front 4-0.
ISU left-handed starter Joe Rodriguez (1-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks in his 4.2 innings of work.
The Birds will go for the four-game sweep in Sunday's 11 a.m. finale (please note time change). Junior southpaw D.D. Towler will make his first UTSA start. ISU has not announced a starter for the contest.