The UTSA Roadrunners on Friday backed the pitching of Luke Malone with three home runs, rolling to a 9-2 Conference USA baseball victory over the Rice Owls.
As Malone pitched into the seventh inning, the Roadrunners’ offense hummed with homers from Jonathan Tapia, Chase Keng and Shane Sirdashney on the home field of their C-USA rivals.
As a result, the Roadrunners (23-11, 8-5) won their fourth straight game. They also improved to 10-1 in their last 11.
Meanwhile, the Owls (10-25, 3-10) will try to turn it around in the second game of the series Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in Houston, at Reckling Park. The series finale is Sunday at 1 p.m.
For Rice, Guy Garibay produced three hits and two RBIs. But the UTSA pitching duo of Malone and Braylon Owens held the upper hand. Malone (5-1) allowed only two runs on five hits in 6 and 1/3 innings.
Owens, a freshman, worked 2 and 2/3 scoreless to finish the game. He gave up two hits and walked three, but he also struck out four.
In addition, the Roadrunners’ defense played error-free baseball in winning for the sixth time in their last seven C-USA games.
Tapia led the offense with a three-for-five day and three RBIs. UTSA’s leadoff man supplied the big blow with a three-run homer in a four-run second inning.
Keng and Sirdashney were also three for five in a 13-hit attack.
Keng, from Deer Park High School, hit a solo home run in the third inning and Sirdashney, also a Houston area player from The Woodlands, added solo blast in the eighth.