HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM ) _ For more than three weeks, the University of Southern Mississippi baseball team had been on a roll, winning eight consecutive games and 11 of its past 12.
Then came Friday night in San Antonio, Texas..
The University of Texas-San Antonio beat up five USM pitchers for 15 hits, and Kara Patel limited what had been USM’s hot-hitting lineup to two hits over 7 2/3 innings as the Roadrunners pounded out a 12-2 Conference USA victory at Roadrunner Field.
The 12 runs were the most allowed by the Golden Eagles this season, topping the 10 runs Gonzaga University scored in 10 innings on March 2.
Since then, USM (16-7, 6-1 C-USA) had lost just once, including opening C-USA play with six consecutive victories.
But the Roadrunners (12-14, 4-3) tagged USM right-hander Walker Powell for four runs in 4 1/3 innings. Powell, C-USA’s co-Pitcher of the Week, allowed seven hits, including four for extra bases.
Powell (2-1) was lifted in the midst of a six-run, fifth inning that sealed the Golden Eagles’ fate.
Meanwhile, Patel was limiting USM’s offense to Bryant Bowen’s solo home run in the third inning. The only other Golden Eagle to get a hit Friday was Matt Wallner, who doubled and singled and drove in USM’s second in the top of the ninth inning.
Patel allowed two hits and one run over 7 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out nine.
Ryan Stacy, who finished with four hits and three runs scored, swatted a solo homer off Powell in the first inning before Bowen tied the game in the top of the third inning.
But Dylan Rock’s run-scoring single in the bottom of the inning put the Roadrunners up for good, and Hunter Grimes’ took Powell deep to open a fifth inning that soon would spin out of the Golden Eagles’ control.
Powell got an out before hitting a batter. He was lifted in favor of Aaron Ginn, who got the second out, but them gave up a run-scoring single and walked the next two to load the bases.
That ended Ginn’s stint and brought Sean Tweedy out of the bullpen and was greeted by a bases-clearing rocket to right-center by Chase Keng that put USM in an 8-1 hole.
UTSA tacked on another three runs in the sixth inning on a passed ball and RBI-singles from Rock and Griffin Paxton before closing down its side of the scoreboard with an RBI-double in the seventh inning.
Stacy finished with a homer, double and two singles, scored three times and drove in two. Bryan Sturges had three hits, including a double. Grimes and Rock each had two hits, with Grimes scoring a pair of runs and Rock knocking in two. Chase added a double to go with his grand slam.
The teams will meet in the second game of three-game series at 2 p.m. Saturday.