SAN ANTONIO – Columbia battled UT-San Antonio to a 4-4 tie much of the night Friday at Roadrunner Field, but a walk-off single by Mike Warren gave the Roadrunners a 5-4 victory in the series opener.
The teams combined for 26 hits, with UTSA edging Columbia, 14-12. Senior Aaron Silbar led Columbia with a 3-for-4 performance, while Nick Maguire, David Vandercook and Gus Craig each tallied two hits.
The second inning proved fruitful for the Lions, with four runs coming across the plate. Silbar, Nick Maguire and David Vandercook started it off with a trio of singles, including Vandercook’s bunt. That brought a mound visit from USTA, but Gus Craig worked the next count to full before blasting a double to right center, scoring Silbar and Maguire.
Senior catcher Mike Fischer brought Vandercook and Craig home in the next at bat with a single straight out to center, making it a 4-0 Lions advantage. Jordan Serena followed up with a sacrifice bunt, but UTSA was able to string together three straight outs to end the inning without any more damage.
UTSA cut the deficit in half in the bottom of third, with RBIs from Horacio Correa III and John Bormann. Correa drove in Jesse Baker, who walked earlier in the inning, while Bormann plated RJ Perucki who singled after Baker’s walk.
The fourth inning breezed by, as both teams went three-up, three-down, but the Roadrunners put together another two-run inning in the fifth to even the score at 4-4. Correa again came through for UTSA, this time in the form of an RBI triple, followed by a Mike Warren sacrifice fly.
The next three innings passed without scoring, as Speer pitched out the sixth and seventh frames, sitting down three to bring his total to six before Mike Weisman came on in relief to get the first three batters of the eighth frame.
Columbia threatened to take the lead in the top of the ninth, but Craig, who led the inning off with his second double, was stranded at third as reliever Matt Sims got a fielder’s choice and pop up to end the frame.
In the bottom half of the inning, lead-off hitter John Welborn walked and Baker singled before the Lions were able to get an out on a sacrifice bunt. Columbia reliever Zack Tax then intentionally walked Correa to load the bases. Warren then slapped a 0-1 pitch to left to score the game-winning run.
The Lions and Roadrunners meet again Saturday afternoon for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m.