· Box score
|Junior Taylor Walton now has recorded three consecutive quality starts for the Roadrunners.
— Junior Taylor Walton made every pitch of his 21st birthday count, as the right-hander allowed just an unearned run in an eight-hit complete game and UTSA finished off a weekend sweep of Nicholls with a 6-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Roadrunner Field.
UTSA (17-27, 8-19 SLC) not only picked up its first sweep in Southland Conference play this season, but it now has won three consecutive contests for the first time since opening the campaign with a program-record five victories in a row. The Roadrunners also stretched their winning streak to 11 games overall and 14 in a row at the Bird Bath against the Colonels (22-24, 11-16 SLC). This weekend's three triumphs enabled UTSA to move within three contests of Nicholls for the eighth and final spot in this month's Southland Tournament with a half dozen league tilts remianing (Colonels hold one-and-a-half-game edge on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and two over Sam Houston State).
Walton (5-1) was outstanding in his fourth start of the spring. The Midland native, coming back just two days after throwing a pair of relief innings in the series opener, retired the last seven hitters he faced and 12 of the final 14 overall in the 130-pitch, 87-strike performance. He struck out two and did not walk a batter in his third consecutive quality start.
"I knew this was an important game for us because every one from here on out is a must-win for us," Walton said after the game. "I was able to keep the ball down and my fastball was really moving a lot today. I also was able to mix in my change-up to keep them off balance."
It marked the third time in the last month that Walton, who allowed just three runs (two earned) in 11 innings this weekend, has started on a Sunday after throwing in relief on a Friday night. It is something that he not only has been successful doing, but a challenge he has relished.
"It's been pretty easy because I'm playing baseball," Walton said. "My arm feels great and knowing that Coach Corbett has the confidence to put me in these situations is a great feeling every time I step on the mound."
The Roadrunners gave him all the support he would need with a two-run second and they never looked back.
Freshman Ryan Dalton led off the stanza with his team-leading 14th home run of the year (t-2nd SLC/ranks second nationally among frosh). Junior Ryan Hutson followed with a double down the left-field line and he came home three batters later on an infield single off the bat of freshman Daniel Rockett.
UTSA tacked on three more runs with two down in the fourth, which chased Nicholls starter Jarret Dunnam (3-7) from the contest.
Rockett began the rally when he was hit by a pitch with one down. After sophomore Casey Selsor drew a walk two hitters later, senior Lance Brown followed with an RBI single to left center to plate Rockett. Senior Ryan Rummel then laced a double to left center, which brought home two more runs.
The Birds went on to add a mark in the eighth on Selsor's run-scoring double down the left-field line that scored senior Jeff Taliaferro, who led off the frame with a two-bagger of his own.
Dunnam coughed up five runs on a half dozen hits, walked four and struck out three in his 3.2 innings of work.
Rummel went 3-for-4 with two doubles to lead UTSA at the plate, while Hutson and Selsor added two hits apiece.
Blake Bergeron and Steven Gauthe led Nicholls with two hits.
UTSA continues its season-long eight-game home stand next weekend when McNeese State (27-20, 15-12 SLC) comes to town. First pitch in Friday’s opener is slated for 6 p.m.