BILOXI, Miss. (WDAM) - And then there were six.
The first two games resulted in two teams being eliminated on the second day of The First 2019 C-USA Baseball Championship presented by Air Force Reserve at MGM Park.
The losers in Thursday’s remaining two games will be paired against the survivors of the day’s earlier games in win-or-go-home scenarios Friday.
Measured against his own standards, Texas-San Antonio second baseman Bryan Arias had been caught up in a bit of a slump.
Arias returned to fine form Thursday afternoon in the Roadrunners’ 3-2 victory over Old Dominion at MGM Park.
“That’s been the story of our year,” UTSA coach Jason Marshall said. “We’ve played a bunch of close games, one- and two-run games. So, it’s not out of the ordinary for us to be in that type of a game.”
The senior went 3-for-4 scored all three of the Roadrunners’ runs and picked up an RBI to boot with his 10th home run of the season.
Which proved just enough backing for UTSA starter Slater Foust (8-2), who allowed a run on four hits over 7 1/3 innings. He walked two, struck out five.
“Just very thankful for Slater Foust to go out there and pitch an incredible ballgame, get us into the eighth inning,” Marshall said. “Just really bulldogged that performance.”
ODU scored twice in the bottom of the inning, but Jake Harrison picked up his second save of the season, setting the Monarchs (35-21) down in order.
“It was tough, without a doubt, having to come back after a late night,” Chris Finwood said. “Their kid pitched a good ballgame, not taking anything away from him. Foust. Thought he did a fantastic job, but we hung in there.”
The Roadrunners (27-29) advanced to a 6:30 p.m. Friday elimination game against the loser of Thursday night’s Florida Atlantic-Western Kentucky game.
ODU’s Ryne Moore (6-4) took the loss, despite allowing just one earned run on five hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out four.
Ryan Stacy had a pair hits for the Roadrunners, who got five of their six hits out of the top two spots in the batting order. ODU got two hits from left fielder Andy Garriola.
Cade Edwards’ two-run double in the first inning got Rice off to a good start, and three Owls limited Louisiana Tech to five hits as the Owls eliminated the Bulldogs 4-3 Thursday morning.
Edwards, who also turned in back-to-back defensive gems at second base in the eighth inning, helped spark seventh-seeded Rice (25-30) to a 4-1 lead after six innings.
Third-seeded Tech (34-24) scored twice in the top of the seventh to give the Owls pause, Dalton Wood came out of the bullpen to cover the final 2 1/3 innings without allowing a baserunner and striking out six.
“This was a show of resilience because we have lost our last four games on walk-off fashion, so to be able to come back and hold on to that one (Thursday) is a great relief and our guys did a great job of fighting,” Rice coach Matt Bragga said. “Dalton Wood came in, in the end, and did a good job. Great poise for a freshman.”
As tough as taking a two-and-out, Louisiana Tech Lane Burroughs said the hardest road lies ahead, with the university still recovering from a tornado that wreaked devastation across the Ruston, La., campus, including excessive damage to the baseball program’s stadium, locker room, and other facilities.
“I don’t like losing, no matter what it is,” Burroughs said. “Credit Rice. We just didn’t play good baseball down the stretch and it’s on me. We have to get better.
“Now we have to look at some stuff we haven’t had to deal with. We don’t have a stadium, we don’t have a locker room. Stuff we’ve been able to avoid because we had a distraction and that distraction has been to play baseball. We have to deal with it now. It’s going to be tough. We have to put this behind us and we have to get better.”
Tech’s starting pitcher, David Leal (4-2), went the distance, allowing four runs on eight hits over eight innings. He walked one, struck out eight.
Rice left-hander Evan Kravetz (6-2) allowed a run on one hit over five innings, walking four and striking out five.
Tech got to Owls reliever Jackson Parthasarthy for two runs on four hits before Wood’s scoreless stretch earned him his first save and doomed the Bulldogs.
Tech first baseman Mason Mallard had a pair of singles, while designated hitter Steele Netterville and second baseman Hunter Wells each doubled.
Edwards led Rice with a double and single, driving in two runs and scoring a run. First baseman Bradley Gneiting had two singles.
To view the tournament bracket, click here.