UTSA Baseball 2024

UTSA Wins Series Against FAU to Secure #2 Seed

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The Roadrunners kickstarted their Florida road trip with a series win over former C-USA foe, the FAU Owls. With a short week, there was intrigue about how UTSA would handle the final regular season series. There was no run rule hangover from Tuesday. Going into the weekend, there was still a window for UTSA to secure a share or the outright regular season AAC title. 

However, the dream of securing the regular season AAC title was abruptly dashed by ECU, who delivered a crushing blow by sweeping the Rice Owls. 

UTSA still played well enough to win their seventh AAC series and secure the #2 seed for the upcoming conference tournament. After winning the first two games in a very different fashion, they would narrowly drop the series and regular-season finale. Now, the Roadrunners will travel northwest to Clearwater, Florida. 

The goal is straightforward: win the American Athletic Conference Tournament. 


FAU entered the weekend with some dangerous starters. UTSA wasted no time being patient at the plate and jumping out to an early lead. Using a series of walks, hits, benefiting from errors, and working deep counts, UTSA built a five run lead for starts Uli Quiroga before he even took to the mound. They forced the FAU starter to throw 70+ pitches through two innings. 

Individual performances on Friday helped contribute to the run-rule victory. Alexander Olivo hit two opposite-field home runs in back-to-back plate appearances. Zane Spinn would also add another home run to his stat sheet. In total, the Roadrunner bats were hot. Recording fourteen hits, scoring fourteen runs, and getting nine additional free passes. It was about the best start to a weekend you could ask for. 

Despite dropping Saturday’s game, the pitching helped keep things at bay. Across the three games, the UTSA pitchers only surrendered nine runs, with six coming on Saturday. Uli continues to be a quality option who stays composed when trouble ensues. Striking out as many batters as hits allowed, UTSA only needed one bullpen pitcher on Thursday. Uli would hand the ball to Ryan Ward, who closed out the seven-inning win. 

On Saturday, Zach Royse opened, and Daniel Garza produced just shy of five innings of relief work. While Garza may have faced two batters too many, I don’t fault Coach Hallmark for giving him the eighth after not having surrendered a hit. While Ruger gave up the game-tying hit, he would settle in and deliver three innings of scoreless work, getting a crucial strikeout in extra innings with the tying run on third base. 

UTSA scored twenty-one runs in the series. Thirteen of those runs came in the first three innings of each game. They also put Thursday’s game out of reach with a six-run fifth inning. These two stats often accompany Roadrunner wins—scoring early and finding a way to have the big inning. I must think that some of the recent successes for UTSA’s pitching staff are thanks to getting this run support early. 

It changes the entire dynamic of the game. Hopefully, it can continue in next week’s tournament. 

Finally, there were some well-timed aggressive base running and defensive gems. Although the run would not make a difference, senior Caleb Hill robbed FAU of a home run with a leaping grab, pulling one back in. UTSA also used stolen bases, mainly on Friday, to put runners in scoring position and put pressure on the FAU pitching. 


Live by the aggressive base running, die by the aggressive baserunning. As helpful as UTSA’s baserunning was early in the series, it hurt them late. Caleb Hill made two baserunning mistakes in the series finale, and Matt King was thrown out trying to steal third base. Hill’s mistakes were uncharacteristic and can be easily corrected. Getting thrown out happens, but it was somewhat perplexing with just one out and James Taussig at the plate, who would have three hits on the day. 

I am still more in favor of the aggressive style, but UTSA needs to remain smart on the base paths like they typically are.

It seems almost impossible that UTSA only registered four hits in Friday’s game and still left thirteen runners on the basepaths. Six walks, two hit-by-pitches, and four errors by FAU helped create this gap. UTSA has lacked the big hit at times. Outside of one extra-base-hit in the first inning, this reared its ugly head on Friday. UTSA still managed to win the game, with solid pitching and capitalizing on a catcher’s interference. 

If the Roadrunners want to have a strong tournament with a chance at a tournament championship, they must find a way to bring these runners in. Those four hits on Friday came from two players. 

When you put the ball in play, good things can happen. One reason UTSA left so many runners on and only scored three wins in 10 innings was strikeouts. Fourteen batters struck out in Friday’s game. Ending with a win makes it slightly easier to digest, although it was not ideal. Throughout the weekend, there were multiple times the Roadrunner bats were frozen on 2-2 or 3-2 counts. Finding the balance between aggressive at-bats and not swinging at everything can be tricky. UTSA does balance this in some ways when they reach by base on balls. 


With Friday’s win, the Roadrunners secured the two-seed. They found out their game one opponent Saturday afternoon: The Charlotte 49ers. 

The 49ers have some recent history with UTSA. Charlotte knocked the Roadrunners out of last season’s conference tournament on their way to a dramatic conference championship. While several members from last year’s team graduated, there are still plenty of Roadrunners who will be looking to return the favor. 

UTSA has the advantage after taking a series win earlier in the season with back-to-back run-rule wins. Charlotte is coming off a series loss against Tulane while UTSA took two out of three from FAU. While they also have the better seed, this season has shown countless times games aren’t won on paper. 

Winning Tuesday is a must for a few reasons. It keeps UTSA in the winner’s bracket, gives them an important day off on Wednesday, and if UTSA can win the first two, they will have a second off day on Friday before Saturday’s semifinals. I encourage myself and those of you still reading not to look ahead too much. 

Last year, UTSA entered the tournament in a somewhat similar situation. Cold hitting and hot opposing pitching quickly sent them to the loser’s bracket, setting up the previously mentioned 0-2 bounce from the tournament. Stay tuned for the conference tournament preview episode, where Jared and I will discuss UTSA’s chances this week in more detail. 

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