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The UTSA Roadrunners completed their opening weekend of baseball for the 2023 season. It also happened to be their home opener. Overall, it was a positive weekend that included a little bit of everything. The weekend ranged from an exciting walk-off win to missed opportunities that resulted in an extra-innings loss. A sweep would have been nice, but there is still plenty to talk away from the three games against the Tarleton State Texans.
My plan with this blog is not to include a series of breakdowns of box scores and scoring plays. As always, we want to cater to you all as the Domeheads. This content is for you all. So if you want more traditional recaps, let us know, and we can include that. Instead, I will spend a few moments discussing what I felt good about this weekend and what I didn’t feel good about and provide some “game balls.” I also won’t cover every good/bad reaction from this weekend, but rather a few takeaways. I’ll wrap up the blog looking ahead to the mid-week match. This week will feature the University of Houston Cougars.
WHAT I FELT GOOD ABOUT
Getting out of jams – There were plenty of times across the weekend that the Roadrunners’ pitching staff worked out of jams. Not every time, or else the box scores would look different, and we would talk about a weekend sweep. On Friday alone, nine Texans were left on base. Working out of jams is crucial to success and will pay dividends when conference play comes to town. Some well-timed mound visits contributed to the next Texan making an out.
Immediate response – Four times throughout the weekend, the Roadrunners immediately responded to runs that Tarleton put on the board. Like many sports, but perhaps more so in baseball, momentum plays a huge part in success. Shutting that down as the home team by putting runs on the board with the next opportunity gets the team excited and can put confidence back in your pitcher, knowing your team is producing runs.
Multi-run innings – Across the three games, there were five different innings where the Runners brought across multiple runs. You may be thinking, five, that’s it! I get that mindset. It’s early in the season. It can take some time for the hitters to find their timing. At this point, it was encouraging to see UTSA capitalize on players on the bases and bring them in.
WHAT I DIDN’T FEEL GOOD ABOUT
Runners left on base – Let me preface with this. Runners will be left on base if there is enough hitting, walks, or errors. You don’t want that number to be too high. The Roadrunners left 35 runners on base across the weekend. On Friday, ten runners were walked. This was a mix of control issues by TSU and patience at the plate. I don’t recall the last time I saw as many walks in a game and only three runs being scored by the same team. At any rate, there were some crucial moments where the opportunity was there to either pull ahead, pad the lead, or in the case of Sunday, win the game, and UTSA couldn’t capitalize. I would be more concerned if we are still talking about this in mid-March or mid-April. Coach Hallmark and his staff will help the guys get this worked out.
Strikeouts – 33. UTSA players struck out 33 times this weekend. Now, TSU struck out 34 times. So, the pitching staff did work as well. Sunday’s game also had an extra three innings, so there is a slight outlier with the stat line for that game. There is a tendency to look at strikeouts like any other out. It also doesn’t allow double plays. On the opposite side, runners can’t advance, and the ball is not put in play with strikeouts. Hopefully, UTSA can have fewer strikeouts against Houston on Wednesday.
Luke Malone – Luke’s season debut stat line finished with 6.0 IP allowing two hits, 1 BB, 5 K, and 0 runs. He had some control issues that saw 2 HBP and a few innings with an increased pitch count. Overall, an excellent outing on a cold night and the season’s first game. I predict that Luke will pick up right where he left off last season and that this will not be his last game ball.
Leyton Barry – No surprise here. The senior 2B came up big in the bottom of the 9th, delivering a walk-off two-run triple to give UTSA their first season win in dramatic fashion. I am partially giving Leyton the game ball for the at-bat itself. I believe he saw nine or ten pitches before finding the gap in right center and cementing the win. Barry was also responsible for the other lone run in the 3rd inning after beating out a fielder’s choice.
Simon Miller – If you watched the game Friday night or looked at the box score, you might wonder why I am giving Miller a game ball. He put in 3.0 innings of work, which saved the rest of the bullpen for Saturday and Sunday. He recorded seven, yes, seven strikeouts through three innings. If not for a throwing error by Matt King (which I believe was a rushed throw due to the runner’s speed), he would have gotten out with a clean sheet.
UTSA Batting (Saturday) – I couldn’t decide whom to give the game ball to for Saturday. I will say kudos to Matt King for getting the first Roadrunner HR of the season. But everyone contributed on Saturday. Fifteen hits, with 7 BBs, only 6 K, and 13 runs made for a lovely Saturday.
Daniel Garza – Garza entered Saturday for mid-game relief with UTSA holding just a one-run lead. He pitched four innings giving up one run on each end and recording five strikeouts.
Caleb Hill– A beautifully timed jump allowed Hill to rob TSU of a homerun early in the game. While UTSA would ultimately lose in extra innings on Sunday, the snag kept the game within reach for when the Roadrunners would come back to tie things up. Caleb Hill would also have a clutch hit in that 8th inning.
Again, some good, some bad, and some great. I mentioned that I had hoped UTSA could get the sweep in my weekend preview. They just missed it—still, plenty to feel good about going into the mid-week game vs. Houston.
37-24; 13-11 in the AAC. RPI 79 and a Non-Conf. RPI of 110 with a 105 SOS.
Predicted to finish 3/8 in the AAC; Not projected for a regional bid.
They have balance and versatility on offense and raw pitching talent. There is also an aspect of unproven-ness the pitching staff presents.
The Cougars are 1-2 coming into this game and are coming off an 8-6 win vs. California.
Players To Watch
OF – Brandon Uhse – A good mix of athleticism and impressive speed. He also has the potential to be a power hitter.
C- Anthony Tulimero – A premier catcher and a great batter. Hit .326 last season with five HR and 39 RBIs.
LHP – Kyle LaCalameto – Fourth-year player who started nine games last year and made 21 appearances. Solid stuff with a fastball that can reach the low 90s.
RHP – Travis Phelps – A transfer that had a substantial fall out of the bullpen. Has a nasty slider that pairs nicely with a fastball that tops out at 94 mph.
I want to close by saying this. Just how crazy was the walk-off win on Friday? The win-probability chart (courtesy of D1 Baseball and 6-4-3 charts) went from 93% for UTSA to 87% for TSU and back to 100% for UTSA. Baseball is a funny game. But what Friday showed is do not count the Runners out this season! It’s an exciting time to be a Roadrunner.
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