UTSA baseball pat hallmark 2024

UTSA Baseball Improves to 5-1 in AAC Play After Sweeping Tulane on the Road

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Baseball certainly has its ups and downs. After another successful conference weekend, the UTSA Baseball team is in the up category. They continue to find themselves as a team and are playing good baseball. Despite others stacking the odds against them, they are winning games. The latest is a road series sweep, their third series win in a row, adding up to a five-game winning streak. The Roadrunners are tied for first atop the conference standings. Of the twenty-seven innings the Tulane series presented, the Roadrunners were in control for almost all of them. It’s safe to say it was UTSA’s most complete weekend series they have played. There were plenty of good things to take away and a few areas to work on.

The Good…

Even though a run wasn’t scored until the third inning on Sunday, the Roadrunners’ offense jumped on the Green Wave pitching early and forcefully. The productive hitting caused Tulane to go to their bullpen before five full innings in each game. The Tulane starter didn’t record three innings of work in two of the three games. Getting to the bullpen early on a weekend series is such an advantage. As the visiting team, early runs support your pitcher before he even takes the mound. After having so many games early in the season where this wasn’t the case, it’s a welcomed change. 

I will get to some aspects of the weekend pitching that admittedly are nit-picky. In a lot of ways, UTSA’s pitching was solid this weekend. They only used four pitchers through eighteen innings to open the series, leaving almost an entire bullpen at Coach Hallmark’s disposal for the series finale. They worked out of jams and kept the early scoring to a minimum outside of Saturday evening. On Thursday and Friday, the relief pitcher logged more innings than the starter. This is okay, and it’s nice to see that UTSA has some options for long relief when needed. In the three games, the pitchers struck out twenty-nine batters. The highlight in my book was seeing Uli Quiroga go seven complete innings while only allowing two runs on four hits. 

Several noteworthy individual performances were mixed in the productive offense that put up twenty-nine runs across the weekend. Matt King went 9-13 and had three RBIs and three runs. Mason Lytle and Tye Odom had big moments, going 9-12 with 4 RBIs and five runs and 6-14 with 6 RBIs and five runs, respectively. These three seemed to be in the action constantly. Tye Odom’s at-bat on Saturday helped UTSA find their production again. Another individual who had a breakout weekend was Hector Rodriguez. After drawing two walks on Friday, he was responsible for five RBIs the rest of the weekend and went 3-5 on Sunday. 

One area that UTSA has struggled in at times this season was strikeouts. They only reached double digits in one of the three games, the minimum at ten. In each game, multiple players had multi-hit games, and in each game, at least one player at the bottom of the lineup had a multi-hit game. That is the production you need to have to enjoy weekend sweeps like UTSA’s. 

The Not So Good…

There have been some points this season when UTSA overthrows the cutoff man. At times, it allows the batter to take an extra base. Other times, it has allowed runs to score. I don’t want to take away aggressiveness from the team. It only happened one time that I noticed this weekend. So, it is not something that constantly presents itself. It is something, however, that you don’t want to lose a game over. It can be cleaned up fairly easily. 

Throughout the weekend, UTSA’s pitchers fell behind in the count early multiple times. While there are numerous reasons for this, it puts pressure on the pitcher early. With UTSA holding the lead almost all weekend, it didn’t stand out as much. It can create deficits early, and free passes swing momentum in the opposite direction. To the Roadrunners’ credit, in plenty of those situations mentioned, the next pitch either generated an out or battled right back with a strike. 

In each of the three games, Tulane scored late. UTSA had a comfortable lead going into the final frame in all three situations. The total damage was seven runs in the eighth inning or later. Two of the games were relievers finishing the game and using the run differential to preserve the bullpen. The other was letting guys working through ups and downs get some work. If the situation was different, it likely plays out differently. Similar to the part of cut-offs and first-pitch balls, though, you don’t want to lose a game down the road because of that. 

Looking Ahead…

The Roadrunners will take their five-game winning streak into a Tuesday midweek matchup against cross-town foes, the UIW Cardinals. It is where Coach Hallmark and Coach Aguayo were before UTSA. The Roadrunners lead the all-time series 17-11. Last year’s games featured a close 2-1 win in UTSA’s favor and a heartbreak walk-off in UIW’s favor. The first meeting between the teams in 2024 is certain to have some drama. It is important to note that the first pitch is slated for 2:00 PM. 

UIW will bring a similar record as UTSA, at 15-11, into the midweek game. The Cardinals, however, have gotten off to a less-than-stellar conference record at 2-4, where they are coming off a series loss to New Orleans. Despite the four wins above-.500 record, their RPI is sitting at 206. Last month, they won a football-style shootout against Prairie View, 23-20. 

From their regular lineup, they have a handful of guys hitting above .300 and five players slugging above .500. The long ball could also be something to watch, as they have five players with between four and six home runs. 

In last year’s matchup at UIW, the Cardinals had nine different pitchers throw. Each logged one inning of work, constantly switching up what was coming from the mound. Outside of one-weekend starter and two relievers with less than two innings pitched, they only have one reliever with an ERA under 5.00. They don’t seem to strike out a ton from the mound. Hopefully, the hot hitting the Roadrunners have brought in the last few weeks can show up early and often. 

You’ve heard it a hundred times: Tuesday games are weird. At times, the favored team has an odd night. I feel comfortable saying UTSA is favored. Paper is different from grass, though. We’ll see what Tuesday afternoon offers. Hopefully, the result will be a Roadrunner win which will extend the winning streak going into a big home series against Charlotte. 

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