Follow Alamo Audible:
Editors Note: If you weren’t aware, this weekend’s games were not streamed. There was some audio at times, but not every game. A huge thanks to the UTSA parents who kept the Roadrunner fans not in attendance in the loop. A specific thanks to Erica Fernandez and @DIAZ2024 for the videos.
This week was a good counterargument for the “Baseball is always the same” crowd. The Roadrunners started with an exciting but narrow 5-3 defeat against I-35 rivals, Texas State. The game featured a rowdy fanbase contributing to the largest attendance at the Birdbath this season (1,095). It had a controversial no-home run call, and head coach Pat Hallmark got tossed for the first time this season.
Fast forward to the weekend series against FIU. Fans were notified just before the first pitch that the Panthers would not provide a stream for the games. UTSA opened the weekend series with a 22-8 demolishing of FIU. Saturday’s game was suspended in the bottom of the seventh, forcing both teams to play a 12-inning game essentially to conclude the series. After dropping their first Sunday game since the season’s first weekend, the Roadrunners fell to 30-10, 14-3 in the conference. With the game-two win, Coach Hallmark earned his 100th win as the head coach at UTSA.
WHAT I FELT GOOD ABOUT…
Bringing them in; Leaving them on: UTSA loaded the bases in every inning, from the third to the seventh on Friday. Not only that, but they brought runners in each time. The highlight of those situations was first the grand slam by Taylor Smith in the fourth and a ten-run seventh inning that put the game even further out of reach. On the defensive side of the ball, UTSA left runners on several times. Early on, it looked like Friday would be a back-and-forth battle. Aside from the bottom of the fifth, where the Panthers went down in order, UTSA left at least two runners on in each inning from the second through the seventh. This ability to bring them in but leave them on was one of the difference makers in the lopsided final on Friday.
Picking up the pitcher: I will mention this more later, but despite leaving seventeen Panthers on the basepaths on Friday, the pitching staff didn’t get out of every jam. Across the slate, even in the loss to Texas State, the Roadrunners picked up their pitcher. They did this on Tuesday by at least putting up a run twice when the Bobcats scored. The same response was seen over the weekend multiple times. This type of production shows your pitcher that you can pick him up quickly when needed.
No tough-loss hangover: You could tell that the Roadrunners wanted that win on Tuesday for several reasons. They battled until the end and came up just short. When a team loses a game like that, the fans often wonder how they will pick themselves up. Like all season, they responded to the loss with a win. Friday’s win was the opposite of a hangover game. UTSA put up twenty-two runs on twenty-one hits. They hit two home runs, both grand slams. It wasn’t the best outing for the pitching staff, but they still worked out of jams and recorded seven strikeouts. The Roadrunners have yet to lose two consecutive games this season, another good metric to show how well they bounce back after a loss.
Home Runs – No, this is not another shameless plug on Matt King’s foul ball that seemed fair. I’ve mentioned that enough. This is about the Roadrunner’s hitting three home runs in the second inning on Saturday. The home runs accounted for almost half of their hits for the game and proved vital as the final score was 9-8. This brought their total for the weekend to five and their total for the season to forty-two. While I don’t know if they will match last season’s sixty-nine, it is always nice to see multi-home run games.
What I Didn’t Feel Good About…
Baserunning Blunders: There were two situations where the Roadrunners made mistakes on the basepaths on Tuesday. The first came when Antonio Valdez got caught in no man’s land on a chopper to shortstop. After the first pickle toss, it was apparent he would be tagged out. Matt King was on first but did not advance to second base on the run down. A situation like that is a tough break, but King has to get to second base there to keep a runner in scoring position. Clark Henry ended up walking in the next at-bat, so King advanced anyway and even scored, but initially, it seemed to be a crucial error. The second came at the bottom of the seventh. Taylor Smith did not tag up on a deep fly ball to CF. This left Valdez on first, which he might have had a chance to advance on a wild pitch, putting two in scoring position. King ended up striking out, but having two in scoring position would have put more pressure on Texas State.
Plethora of hits: Despite the ability to work out of several jams, the pitching staff gave up a lot of hits this weekend. Not being able to watch the games, it’s hard to know what might have contributed to this. If anything, it was just a weekend where FIU hit the ball hard, and it paid off for them. As a team, they came into the weekend hitting .284, putting them at 118th in batting average. They found those bats this weekend. While the number of hits surrendered isn’t a great feeling, the Roadrunners did their part overall and still came away with the series win. Despite being outhit by the Panthers 45-33, UTSA had several batters reach on walks and still outscored FIU 32-22 across the slate. These stats show there is always more to look at than just the R, H, and E box score.
Ruger Riojas – The freshman has become quite the staple out of the bullpen this season. He entered Tuesday’s game in the second inning with no outs, inheriting one runner. It took him a few batters to settle in, and the inherited runner did score on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. However, Riojas struck out the next four batters across two innings and did not surrender another run. He gave three quality innings of relief, striking out seven total Bobcats.
Garret Poston: The first baseman had himself a weekend. With the Roadrunners banged up in the OF, Friday’s game saw Poston start in Right Field. He started the weekend on the right foot, going 3-5 with two RBIs, two runs scored, and a walk. The hot bat continued into Saturday as he went 2-4 with another three RBIs and two runs scored. While Poston didn’t register a hit on Sunday, he was walked three times, which helped put the pressure on the FIU pitchers.
Matt King: Matt King just missed hitting for the cycle on Friday. He is at least the second Roadrunner to come within one bag shy, as Leyton Barry was a double short last week against MTSU. King’s home run on the day came excitingly as he hit the second grand slam of the game. He would log his fifth RBI in the same inning, an RBI single. King was responsible for half of the ten runs scored in the seventh for UTSA.
Taylor Smith: In a twenty-two-run game, there is no way to mention every offensive contributor. Taylor Smith gets one for hitting the first of two grand slams and UTSA’s first of the season. Smith would bring in six total in Friday’s win. Smith had a quiet week at the plate overall; however, his grand slam put UTSA back on top Friday, and they never looked back.
Simon Miller – Remember how I mentioned that this week featured many things we haven’t seen yet this season? Enter Simon Miller to “start a game.” Miller didn’t start the game, but he did take the mound as game two against FIU resumed Sunday morning. Things picked up where they left off on Saturday before the rain suspended play. Miller went 2.2 innings while striking out four of the eight batters he faced. He did allow two runs; however, they were both unearned, and if not for the error, the inning would have ended one batter before the Bobcat hitter brought them in. Miller also bear downed in the bottom of the ninth, leaving two runners in scoring position to preserve the one-run lead and earn the save.
Vs Houston Christian; Tuesday April 25th @ 6:00 PM; CUSA.TV
Wedged between two conference road trips, the Roadrunners return to the Birdbath to host the school formerly known as Houston Baptist, now Houston Christian Huskies. Tuesday’s game will be the second to last home mid-week game for UTSA. They host Sam Houston next week before having the mid-week slate off, which they will then travel to Abilene Christian the final week of the regular season.
Last season, the Roadrunners defeated the Huskies 10-5 in Houston. UTSA leads the all-time series 13-4. Houston Christian is also in the UTSA record books. In 2014, UTSA registered fifty-six at-bats against HCU, a single-game record.
The Huskies are having a difficult season, bringing an 8-27 (5-7) record into Tuesday’s game. Their RPI is 242. Although having just eight wins, they did take some wins against mutual opponents. The Huskies took a game against ACU, UTRGV, and UIW.
PLAYERS TO WATCH…
Reed Chumley (3B) – Chumley has a .359/.417/.612 slash line that totals an OPS of 1.029. He leads the Huskies in doubles and has five home runs. Chumley has struck out twenty-seven times this season while only drawing eight walks. Chumley does have a .444 BABIP, so he can be dangerous if he makes contact.
Samuel Benjamin (CF) – He leads the Huskies in RBIs (33), hits (42), T-1st with HR (6), and strikeouts (30). He is the only other HCU player with an OPS over 1.000. Similar to Chumley, he has a higher K: BB ratio of 3.33 but also has a BABIP over .400.
Dylan LaRue: LaRue is the only other HCU player with over twenty RBIs (23). He has a similar K: BB combo of twenty-three strikeouts and only six walks. He is tied for third on the team in doubles and home runs. LaRue’s BABIP is about 100 points lower than the previous two Huskies mentioned at .312.
This shouldn’t surprise, with the Huskies only having eight wins. All but two of their pitchers have an ERA. Those two have an ERA of 0.00, but they have combined to log just three innings this season. Hopefully, the Roadrunners can get to the under-whelming pitching early and often to put some runs on the board. Oh, and an interesting tidbit. HCU is coached by Houston Astro legend Lance Berkman.
The regular season is quickly coming to an end. Before we know it, the Roadrunners will be traveling to Houston for the C-USA tournament. There are still some team and individual goals for UTSA to reach. While we don’t know officially what those are, we can assume that forty wins, a conference championship, and a regional bid are on that list. While they inch closer to that number 40, DBU is on their heels in conference play. With UTSA having a game canceled against Charlotte, DBU has a slight edge in the standings with a .833 WP to UTSA’s .824. The Mother’s Day weekend showdown at the Birdbath against the Patriots looks to be quite the series. It very well could determine the regular season champions. UTSA needs to continue playing good baseball and adding to that win column.
Want to see more or less content like this? Let us know with an upvote or downvote.
Share this post: