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UTSA wins sixth AAC series after taking two out of three against USF

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The Roadrunners bookended the weekend with close wins to take their sixth AAC series of the season. With two teams who both have struggled on the mound and hit the ball well, it was the opposite of what you would expect from a box score perspective. With just twenty-four combined runs scored throughout the weekend, the biggest margin of victory was three runs. As the Roadrunners returned to their winning ways, they closed out Senior weekend on a high note. With just four regular-season games remaining, it’s time for UTSA to find offensive momentum.


All three pitchers who took the mound or opened the game delivered stellar performances. Uli Quiroga, in his final appearance at the Bird Bath, was a sight to behold. Holding a three-run lead into the ninth, Quiroga seemed poised to secure Friday’s matchup with a complete game. While Riojas would seal the deal with a save, it was a masterclass in pitching from the senior. With crucial support from his defense, Uli navigated the base paths with finesse, earning a well-deserved win. 

Zach Royse opened things on Saturday, allowing two hits through two innings of work and striking out one. Ryan Beaird also entered late, throwing three scoreless, which continued to keep the game within reach and gave UTSA a fighting chance.

Continuing to find his stride, Braylon Owens had another solid outing for the second straight start. Owens took his outing into the sixth, ultimately throwing 5 1/3 innings, allowing just one run. 

Ruger Riojas earned a save and a win while finding his groove again. Riojas would throw a combined 4.1 innings with five strikeouts, five hits, and one unearned run allowed. 

While the Roadrunners have faced challenges in turning double plays, they showcased their defensive prowess over the weekend. Despite not being flawless, they managed to execute three double plays on Friday night. This played a significant role in limiting the Bulls to just two runs, despite their ten hits in the series opener. Uli also received defensive support from the outfield, with runners being thrown out at two different points on Friday night. Lytle’s web game double play, when he threw out the USF runner tagging up after a flyout, was a highlight of the defensive performance. 

UTSA helped relieve some of the pressure on the pitching staff by scoring early. The Roadrunners scored first in each game and got on the board by the second inning. While the overall runs production wasn’t what some may have hoped, UTSA hit the ball hard at times and did enough to come away with the series win. 

Although outnumbered throughout the weekend, UTSA found some power against the Bulls. Zane Spinn hit his first home run as a Roadrunner, a solo oppo taco that hit the foul pole.

Mason Lytle also hit his twelfth of the year. The solo home run in the series finale would give UTSA the lead for good. 

The Roadrunners were aggressive on the basepaths. They successfully stole five bases across the weekend, with the only caught stealing a failed hit-and-run call. 

Three of the five stolen bases were unique in their way. 

Alexander Olivo recorded his second stolen base. Pitcher Drake Smith pinch-ran, stole a base, and would eventually score a run. In the series finale, UTSA and James Taussig caught the USF pitcher sleeping and stole third base uncontested. 

UTSA also did a much better job this weekend playing small ball. They laid down bunts when asked and placed ground balls nicely at times to advance the runner or bring a run in. 


Sixteen. That is how many runners UTSA left on the basepaths in Saturday’s loss. They left the bases loaded three times, with two of those three times coming in back-to-back innings late. Across the weekend, they left thirty-three runners on the bases.

Some of this was caused by inning-ending double plays. Other times, UTSA was not able to get the big hit to bring in two or three. Never getting more hits than runners left on, the Roadrunners only had six extra-base hits. It is difficult in baseball to string together four or five hits in an inning. They certainly had big moments at the plate. Bringing in some more of those thirty-three runners would have led to more comfortable wins and perhaps a series sweep. 

As solid and helpful as the defense was on Friday, there were two moments when overaggressive play hurt the Roadrunners. On Sunday, UTSA had two opportunities to turn a double play. 

The ball took longer than you would like it to reach the fielder. In both situations, UTSA may have been better off pocketing the ball and getting the next batter out. Only one of the two errors resulted in USF scoring a run. 

UTSA ultimately came back to tie the game and win it. In different situations, that can be a much more critical mistake with much bigger consequences. 


While UTSA recognized six seniors this weekend, they still have one more home game. They will conclude their mid-week regular season slate by hosting cross-town rivals, the UIW Cardinals. 

UTSA played UIW in an afternoon game last month at the Cardinals’ home field. The game was eerily reminiscent of last year’s UIW walk-off win. Ultimately, Ruger Riojas was able to close out this year’s matchup with the final score of 7-4 in favor of UTSA. 

UIW has been hovering around .500 all season, currently sitting at 24-26. They are 9-12 in the Southland and sixth in the standings. UIW has lost eleven of its last twelve games and is currently on a six-game losing streak. The Cardinals will likely be working hard to break that streak and take a game from the Roadrunners. 

The Roadrunners have already secured a winning mid-week record. They can increase that percentage by taking down the Cardinals in the final home game of the season. 

With a shorter week for UTSA and the regular season conference title back in play, it will be interesting to see how the Roadrunner coaching staff approaches Tuesday’s game. The team will travel to Boca Raton on Wednesday to conclude the regular season against former C-USA foes the FAU Owls.

With the conference tournament starting next Tuesday, the final conference series of the season will be Thursday through Saturday. After UTSA won the series against USF and Tulane swept ECU in New Orleans, the Roadrunners trail the Pirates by one game and hold the first tiebreaker. I’ve been saying it for a few weeks now: buckle up!

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