UTSA’s dream run in the Conference USA baseball championship came to an end at the final hurdle as UTSA fell to an 11-5 loss at Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg, MS in the championship game on Sunday.
The result sees Rice wrap up a regular-season, post season double for the fifth time in the last nine years, and their second CUSA title straight.
It was a much closer game than the score line reflects as Rice only hit the lead through the ninth, as they managed seven runs in the last two innings.
Michael Aquino was able to claim the tournament MVP award after a stunning performance, going 12-for-21 over the week, with a 3-for-4 in the final, scoring two runs and managing four RBIs, thanks to a two-run home run.
For the Roadrunners, it was a phenomenal tournament, coming in as the No. 7 seed they were not expected to have the impact they had, going close to winning the title and coming from behind twice.
After Rice took an early lead, UTSA came back in the fourth, pushing two runs across the plate to take the lead.
The Owls responded and pushed three runs of their own over in the fifth and sixth innings to get the lead back at 4-2.
In an entertaining, offensive, match up the Roadrunners responded again in the sixth as they managed to hit three more runs to push out to a 5-2 lead.
That lead would prove enough until the top of the eighth, as they held on solidly defensively before Rice managed back-to-back singles to start the eighth.
An error on a Connor Teyki’s bunt allowed Rice to load the bases, before a ground ball fielders-choice allowed Rice to level the scores.
With the scores level, Keenan Cook hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Leon Byrd to score and put Rice in front, before five more runs in the ninth put the game, and the title away for the Owls.