UTSA wins, holds fourth place in Conference USA standings

The surging UTSA Roadrunners will return home this week to play Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Rice after winning a key weekend series on the road against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.

UTSA hosts A&M-Corpus Christi in non-conference on Tuesday before greeting Rice in a three-game set in Conference USA starting on Friday.

Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, Florida Atlantic and UTSA are 1-2-3-4 in the C-USA standings heading into the final three weeks.

The Roadrunners (24-18, 11-9 C-USA) bashed Blue Raiders pitching for 10 runs on 11 hits in the final three innings Sunday at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, rallying from a two-run deficit to claim a 13-7 victory.

As a result, UTSA won the series two games to one. It was the second C-USA series victory in the past two weeks after the Roadrunners took two of three at home last week against FIU.

UTSA has also won seven of its last nine overall.

Ben Brookover produced three hits and three RBI for the Roadrunners. He ignited a four-run rally in the seventh with a run-scoring triple.

Bryan Arias and Ryan Stacy also enjoyed solid days at the plate with two hits and two RBIs apiece.

Junior pitcher Palmer Wenzel recorded some momentum-changing outs in the middle of the game for the Roadrunners.

After the Blue Raiders had scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth for a 5-3 lead, he entered the game with two out and retired the only batter he faced on a ground ball, leaving a runner stranded.

In the fifth, Wenzel yielded two hits to start the inning. In response, UTSA right fielder Dylan Rock threw out a runner at third to keep Middle Tennessee in check.

After issuing a walk to put runners at first and second, Wenzel struck out Blake Benefield and coaxed Aaron Antonini into a fly ball, ending the threat.

Wenzel, a newcomer this season after transferring from McLennan Community College, retired three straight in the sixth to set the stage for the late-inning fireworks from the UTSA offense.

UTSA notebook

The Blue Raiders stunned the Roadrunners 12-5 in the series opener last Friday.

But UTSA responded with an 11-1 victory in Game 2 on Saturday.

The Roadrunners stroked a combined 29 hits off Blue Raiders pitching in the past two days.

UTSA closes the regular season with series against Rice, at Old Dominion and at home again against Charlotte.

The top eight teams in the conference will pay the C-USA tournament at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi. Tournament dates are set for May 23-27.