BILOXI, MS (C-USA) - UTSA hit for the cycle in consecutive at-bats in a nine-run, third inning to pull off an opening-round victory as lower seed for a fourth consecutive postseason Thursday morning at the 2018 Conference USA Baseball Championship, presented by The First.
UTSA (32-32) collected 18 hits, including seven in the decisive frame against Charlotte starter pitcher Chase Gooding (4-2) and reliever Phillip Perry.
"It's just hard to recover from that," Charlotte coach Loren Hibbs said. "We try to stay away from big innings because that's what really hurts you in college baseball.
"But we couldn't stop the momentum. We didn't defend well enough and we didn't pitch well enough, especially in that inning."
UTSA leadoff man Bryan Arias became the 10th player in C-USA Championship history and second in past two days to collect five hits in a game. Arias hit a two-run home run, a double and three singles. He also was hit by a pitch, reaching base in all six of his plate appearances, and scored three runs.
Roadrunners starting pitcher Chance Kirby (7-4) allowed an unearned run on two hits on 6 2/3 innings, striking out two and walking two.
The two hits, both singles, came in the first inning, as Kirby retired 10 consecutive batters between the second and fifth innings. He set down 18 of the final 20 batters and 16 of the final 17 he faced.
"To come out and swing the bats the way we did was just fantastic, and a great way to start the tournament," UTSA coach Jason Marshall said. "(Chance), if you look at the numbers, he's just had that kind of year.
"We were fortunate to get those runs early and allow Chance to settle in. When he gets rolling with the strikes, he can be tough."
Charlotte (31-23) scored an unearned run in the first inning on second baseman Tommy Bullock's single before UTSA broke the game open.
Gooding didn't help himself, hitting Arias with a pitch to open the third. After a lineout, center fielder Trent Bowles singled before Goodwin hit first baseman Tony Beam to load the bases.
Right fielder Dylan Rock tied the game with an infield single, and the Roadrunners took a 2-1 lead when Charlotte third baseman Jackson Mims' throw went awry, allowing Bowles to score.
That ended Gooding's morning and brought Perry from the pen.
Third baseman Chris Estrada walked to load the bases, and then the Roadrunners strung together four consecutive hits.
Catcher Garrett Moon doubled down the line to bring home two runs and shortstop Joshua Lamb followed with a two-run triple off the left-field wall to give UTSA a 6-1 lead.
Second baseman Aldo Buendia brought home Lamb with a single before Arias capped the outburst with his eighth homer of the season.
Bowles had a run-scoring single in the seventh and Jonathan Tapia's sacrifice fly capped the scoring in the ninth inning.