Struggling on offense in the middle innings, UTSA exploded for five runs in the bottom of the eighth Friday night and emerged with a 7-2 victory over the UAB Blazers at Roadrunner Field.
Chase Keng, Ian Bailey and Kody Darcy hit home runs in the inning to help the Roadrunners set a school single-season record with their 18th Conference USA victory.
Coming out of the bullpen, Luke Malone shut down UAB on no runs and two hits in the final 2 and 1/3 innings to earn the victory.
Solo home runs from Shane Sirdashney in the first inning and Jonathan Tapia in the third propelled UTSA into an early 2-2 tie.
The five home runs for the Roadrunners tied a team season high established only one other time — on March 6 — in a 15-7 victory at home over the Southern Jaguars.
UTSA and UAB, with one win apiece, will play the finale of their C-USA weekend series at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
UAB 31-22, 13-16
UTSA 34-19, 18-11
Saturday — UAB at UTSA, 11:30 a.m.
Southern Miss 22-7
Louisiana Tech 19-10
Old Dominion 18-11
Florida Atlantic 18-11
Middle Tennessee 17-12
UTSA has been playing a C-USA schedule since the spring of 2014. Previously, the UTSA school record for C-USA single-season wins came in 2015 when the Roadrunners went 17-13.
This year’s Roadrunners had their first chance to get No. 18 in the series opener on Thursday night, but the Blazers denied them, putting together two big innings for an 18-7 victory.
On Friday night, the Roadrunners scored a run in the bottom of the third on a Tapia homer to tie the game 2-2. But from there, the bats went cold.
Blazers pitching held the Roadrunners hitless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. In the seventh, Bailey led off with a double, and UTSA went on to put runners at second and third with one out. But the Roadrunners failed to score.
UTSA finally broke through in the eighth. Shane Sirdashney led off with a single to left. Ryan Flores legged out a bunt single, putting men at first and second. With Josh Killeen at the plate, both moved up on a wild pitch.
Killeen broke the tie with a fielder’s choice ground ball that brought Sirdashney in from third for a 3-2 UTSA lead.
At that point, the Roadrunners’ power game materialized with back-to-back homers. Chase Keng launched a two-run homer to right center and Bailey smoked a solo shot to left. One out later, Darcy connected on a solo shot to left for the 7-2 lead.
For Darcy, it was his second home run of the year. He hit the first one in the season opener on Feb. 18 at Tarleton State. Bailey has 13 homers on the season, while Keng has seven, Tapia six and Sirdashney five.