Story by Will Carter / Sports Editor
While the Blue Raiders scored in more innings than the Roadrunners on Saturday afternoon, they weren’t able to overcome the barrage of runs that UTSA put on the board early in the contest, ultimately falling 12-4.
Middle Tennessee (21-19, 11-9 C-USA) broke the ice with one run in the second inning when Luke Vinson knocked a single to plate Brett Coker from third. Vinson then advanced to third base after a wild pitch and passed ball, but he was left on-base as Gabe Jennings struck out looking.
Then the Roadrunner (30-13, 14-6 C-USA) bats came alive in the third inning when they scored five runs on four hits. Consecutive singles and a HBP loaded the bases for UTSA’s catcher, and he ripped into a ball that was undoubtedly out of the ballpark for a grand slam. Three at-bats later, another run scored on an error.
UTSA scored three more runs in the fifth inning and four in the ninth inning, giving them 12 runs in only three innings.
“They hit it well, and their pitcher was really good,” Blue Raider head coach Jim Toman said. “We got a lot of hits, but they weren’t very timely hits. We needed to get hits when runners were on base. When they score, they score in bunches. They’re one of those teams that it’s hard to cut the faucet off when they get going. They just keep going and going.”
Despite the loss, sophomore Jackson Galloway had a fantastic day at the plate for the Blue Raiders as he finished 5-for-5 with two doubles and a solo home run. He is the first Blue Raider to have five hits in a game since Trent Miller did it in 2013.
The Blue Raiders totaled 11 hits for the game.
“I was just seeing it really well today. Being confident takes you a long way, especially in this sport,” Galloway said. “It’s not about me, obviously. It’s a team effort. End of the day, you just have to go compete. That’s what I like to do. Champions win on Sundays, so tomorrow means a lot. We’re looking forward to it.”
With the loss, the Blue Raiders are facing a possible sweep on Sunday – a position they have been in only twice this season. South Alabama completed their sweep in early March, but the Blue Raiders avoided a sweep by Old Dominion two weeks later by winning the Sunday matchup.
“We did the same thing against Old Dominion,” Toman said. “They beat us badly, and we came back and won the Sunday game. It’s really big tomorrow to maintain the lead we have against some of the bottom teams in the conference.”
The Blue Raiders will take the field at 11 a.m. for the series finale on Sunday.