Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
SAN MARCOS — UTSA tied an NCAA record with four consecutive home runs in the eighth inning of Friday's opening game of a doubleheader at I-35 rival Texas State.
With the score tied at one in the eighth, freshman Molly Fichtner, senior Kristin Kappler, junior Caitlyn Ivy and freshman Jori Fox each launched solo homers off Crystal Alaniz to start the inning. That gave the Roadrunners an insurmountable 5-1 lead.
UTSA tied Portland State's standard that was established to lead off the third inning of an 11-3 victory on March 31, 2006, against North Texas. The Roadrunners now hold a pair of national home run marks, as they hit an NCAA-record 10 bombs at Texas Southern on April 8, 2004.
The Roadrunners (27-24, 17-12 SLC) took both ends of a doubleheader following a 5-3 victory in the nightcap. The two trimuphs assure UTSA of its first series win in San Marcos since 1996 and the Birds now have won eight consecutive Southland Conference contests.
Senior Emily Humpal hit the first of five solo blasts in the second inning of the opener when she deposited the eighth pitch of her at-bat over the fence in left center for her second long ball of the year.
The Bobcats (26-22, 17-9 SLC) struggled against Humpal in the circle, as the senior escaped jams in the third and fifth.
Texas State loaded the bases in the third with two outs before Anna Hernandez lined out to junior Ashley Kappler at second. The Bobcats then put runners on second and third with one out two innings later, but Humpal kept the game scoreless with a strikeout and ground out to end the threat.
Texas State rallied to tie the game in the seventh on an run-scoring single to right by Hernandez to plate pinch runner Coralee Ramirez. McKenzie Baack advanced to third on the single but was left stranded following a grounder to end the inning. The Bobcats had a chance to tack on more, but a diving catch by junior Nikki Goff accounted for the second out and helped save the game.
Playing in its second straight extra-inning game, the UTSA bats came alive against reliever Crystal Alaniz.
Fichtner opened the record-tying frame with her team-leading 11th homer on a blast to left. Kristin Kappler followed with a shot to left for her sixth before Ivy notched her seventh to right center. Fox’s no-doubter to left capped the scoring and ended Alaniz’s night.
However, the Bobcats did not go quietly in the bottom of the inning and loaded the bases before Humpal (10-4) struck out Haley Lemons to end the game and match a career high with eight innings pitched.
Alaniz (1-3) allowed four runs on six hits in her 1.2 panels.
The Roadrunners took an early 1-0 lead in the opening inning of the nightcap after a two-out walk to Fichtner and run-scoring double to right center off the bat of Kristin Kappler.
Allyce Rother’s two-run homer in the fourth erased the deficit, giving Texas State its first lead of the day.
After retiring 11 consecutive UTSA hitters, Chandler Hall hit Goff in the fifth and then issued bases-loaded walks to Ashley Kappler and Fichtner with two outs, which allowed the Birds to reclaim the advantage.
The Bobcats promptly tied the game at three in the bottom of the frame with an unearned run off of reliever Morgan Luksa (4-7).
UTSA put together a two-out rally to take the lead for good in the seventh. Ashley Kappler reached on a low throw from shortstop Jordan Masek and Fichtner drew a full-count, leading to Kristin Kappler's game-winning single. Ivy then smashed the next pitch off the glove of Hall (12-14) to score FIchtner for the final two-run margin.
Texas State put runners on first and second but a sliding catch by Fichtner in foul territory and a ground out secured the two-run triumph.
The Roadrunners will look for their first series sweep of the Bobcats in seven years when the two squads meet at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The contest will wrap up UTSA's regular season.