By: UTSA Athletics
SAN ANTONIO – UTSA matched its second-best start through the first 10 games of a season behind another dominant performance by Slater Foust Friday.
The Roadrunners moved to 8-2 on the campaign with a 4-1 triumph over Grambling State, which fell to 5-5, in the opener of a three-game weekend series at Roadrunner Field. In 1994, the third year of the program’s existence, UTSA opened with one defeat in the first 14 contests, while the 2008 squad suffered the third setback in game 12.
Foust also extended a personal unbeaten streak in the process. He improved to 6-0 in 10-career starts on his home mound, while his team is 9-1 in the 10 starts. He becomes the first pitcher in Conference USA with three wins this season, working at least six innings in each start and allowing just four earned runs.
The Tigers squandered a golden opportunity to open the scoring when the first two batters of the contests reached. After a lead-off single and hit batsman, Foust settled in and coaxed a grounder to Griffin Paxton at first, who fired to shortstop Joshua Lamb. He fired a strike to Foust, who was covering first for a momentum killing double play. Grambling State’s clean-up hitter struck out, extinguishing the threat.
Over the next five innings, the Tigers registered a two-out double in the fourth and a single with one away in the fifth. Foust retired 17 of the final 19 batters he faced, including a stretch of 10 in succession. They attempted to capitalize on Foust being lifted prior to the seventh with a 4-0 lead. Grambling State pushed across one in the top of the seventh but Jack Engelmann limited the damage.
In the eighth, Cole McKay sat the guests down in order for the fourth time, preserving a three-run cushion.
A base knock and walk off of Luke Malone brought the tying run to the dish in the ninth. Head coach Pat Hallmark wasted little time going back to his bullpen and calling on Palmer Wenzel. On his fourth delivery, Wenzel coaxed a ground ball to the second baseman, Shea Gutierrez, inducing a 4-6-3 double play. Wenzel extinguished the uprising, striking out the next batter on four pitches and securing his team-high third save.
UTSA capitalized on the Tigers defense and exploited control issues by Grambling State’s starting pitcher, Brian Delgado, in the second inning, seizing a 3-0 advantage without recording a hit. Hunter Grimes reached on a fielding error and moved station-to-station on a four-pitch walk to Paxton and a sac bunt by Lamb in which all three runners advanced safely, loading the bags.
A balk by Delgado handed the home side a 1-0 edge, seeming to wiggle off the hook with limited carnage after recording two outs, however unable to command the strike zone led to his undoing in the frame. He hit Jonathan Tapia, loading the bases again, before walking Dylan Rock and Bryan Sturges in succession, racking up two more tallies.
Rock singled and stole his second base of the night in the fourth. Sturges smashed a comebacker up the middle and Rock scampered home for the Roadrunners final marker of the game.
The middle game of the series begins at 2 p.m. Saturday at Roadrunner Field.