Battles, No. 1 Arkansas set to host NJIT in tournament opener

Local athletes to watch in the upcoming NCAA Division I baseball tournament:

Jordan Battles, Arkansas

Junior shortstop from Madison. Made some eye-popping defensive plays in combination with second baseman Robert Moore to lead the No. 1-ranked Razorbacks to the SEC regular season and tournament titles.

Schedule: Arkansas, the top overall seed in the 64-team tournament, will open at home Friday at 2 p.m. in the Fayetteville Regional against the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Others in the regional: Nebraska and Northeastern. If Arkansas survives opening weekend, it would host a Super Regional against the winner of the Louisiana Tech-hosted Ruston Regional.

Luke Boyers, TCU

Freshman outfielder from Boerne Champion. Helped lead the Horned Frogs to a share of the Big 12 regular-season, co-championship and also the tournament title at Oklahoma City. Hit .303 for the Frogs in 43 games in his first year out of high school at Champion, where he also excelled as a quarterback.

Porter Brown, TCU

Third-year freshman outfielder from Reagan. Bounced back from injuries to spark TCU to the Big 12 tournament title. Named as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after producing nine hits in 20 at bats (in five games) for a .450 average. In his last seven games, Brown is 14 for 28 at the plate (.500) as the Frogs’ leadoff man. He’s got 12 RBIs and has scored a dozen runs in that span.

Schedule: TCU, the No. 6 overall seed, will open at home Friday at 6 p.m. in the Fort Worth Regional against McNeese State. Others in the regional: Oregon State and Dallas Baptist. If TCU survives, it would host a Super Regional against the winner of the Old Dominion-hosted Norfolk Regional.

Douglas Hodo III, Texas

Second-year freshman from Boerne High School. Hodo stepped in to become a key contributor for the Longhorns after upper-classman Austin Todd was lost for the season with an injury. He played right field for the Big 12 regular-season co-champions. Played 54 games and started 52 for a team ranked in the Top 10 for most of the season. Hit .289 with eight doubles, five homers and 38 RBIs.

Schedule: Texas, the No. 2 overall seed, will open at home Friday at 1 p.m. against Southern University of Baton Rouge, La. Others in the regional: Arizona State and Fairfield. If Texas survives, it would host a Super Regional against the winner of the Florida-hosted Gainesville Regional.

Jace Jung, Texas Tech

Second-year freshman from MacArthur was the Big 12 player of the year. One of the most dangerous left-handed hitters in the nation. Hit .345 with 20 home runs and 65 RBIs. He’s tied for fifth in the nation in homers and tied for third in RBIs. Plays second base for the Red Raiders.

Connor Queen, Texas Tech

Senior pitcher from Boerne High School. The 6-foot-1, 220 pounder has pitched for Texas Tech in both the 2018 and 2019 NCAA tournaments, including the College World Series both years. This year, he’s fashioned a 3.86 ERA in 16 appearances.

Schedule: Texas Tech, the No. 8 overall seed, will open at home Friday at 11 a.m. against Army. Others in the regional: UCLA and North Carolina. If Texas Tech survives, it would host the winner of the Stanford-hosted Palo Alto Regional.

Jace Jung, Tanner Allen lead all-Big 12, SEC baseball teams

Jace Jung, a Texas Tech freshman from MacArthur High School, has been named Player of the Year in Big 12 baseball. Tanner Allen of Mississippi State won the same honor in the SEC.

Here’s the breakdown for the all-Big 12 and all-SEC teams announced recently.

Big 12

Player of the Year
Jace Jung, Texas Tech

Jordan Wicks, Kansas State; Ty Madden, Texas; Tristan Stevens, Texas; Luke Boyd, Baylor; Haylen Green, TCU.

Andy Thomas, Baylor

Tyler Hardman, Oklahoma; Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Oklahoma State; Mitchell Daly, Texas; Cal Conley, Texas Tech; Jace Jung, Texas Tech; Jared McKenzie, Baylor; Phillip Sikes, TCU; Dru Baker, Texas Tech; Justin Campbell, Oklahoma State

Designated hitter
Ivan Melendez, Texas


Player of the Year
Tanner Allen, Mississippi State

Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt; Doug Nikhazy, Ole Miss; Jack Leiter, Vanderbilt; Kevin Kopps, Arkansas

Sam Praytor, Alabama

Will Frizzell, Texas A&M; Robert Moore, Arkansas; Jake Rucker, Tennessee; Liam Spence, Tennessee

Tanner Allen, Mississippi State; Enrique Bradfield Jr., Vanderbilt; Jud Fabian, Florida

Matt Goodheart, Arkansas

Kluber on short list of former S.A. minor leaguers with no hitters in the majors

Right-hander Corey Kluber on Wednesday night became at least the seventh former San Antonio minor leaguer to throw a no-hitter in the majors.

In his first season with the New York Yankees, Kluber fired the first no-hitter of his career in downing the Texas Rangers 2-0 in Arlington.

It was the sixth no hitter in baseball this season and the second in two nights, raising eyebrows around the country. Spencer Turnbull of the Detroit Tigers did it in Seattle late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning.

The MLB record for a season is seven.

Coming up in the minor leagues, Kluber, from Coppell High School in the DFW MetroPlex, pitched for the Missions in 2009 and 2010 as a San Diego Padres prospect.

He went on to win Cy Young Awards for the Cleveland Indians in 2014 and 2017 before an injury derailed him last season when he was with the Rangers.

Here’s a list of former San Antonio minor leaguers (that I know of) who have thrown no hitters in the majors. We’ll update this information if others come to our attention:

Corey Kluber, May 19, 2021, for the Yankees against the Rangers. With the Missions: 2009, 2010.

Felix Hernandez, Aug. 15, 2012, for the Seattle Mariners. He beat the Tampa Bay Rays (perfect game). With the Missions: 2004

Ramon Martinez, July 14, 1995, for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He beat the Florida Marlins 7-0 at Dodger Stadium. With the Missions: 1988.

Fernando Valenzuela, June 29, 1990, for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-0, at Dodger Stadium. With the San Antonio Dodgers: 1980.

Dave Stewart, June 29, 1990, for the Oakland A’s. He beat the Toronto Blue Jays at SkyDome in Toronto. With the San Antonio Dodgers: 1978.

Dennis Eckersley, May 30, 1977, for the Cleveland Indians. He beat the California Angels, 1-0. With the San Antonio Brewers (an Indians affiliate), 1974.

Joel Horlen, Sept. 10, 1967, for the Chicago White Sox. He beat the Detroit Tigers, 6-0. With the San Antonio Brewers (an Indians affiliate), 1973.

RoughRiders win 1-0 to spoil Missions’ home opener

One-hit pitching usually wins. Not tonight. The Frisco RoughRiders spoiled the Missions’ home opener on Tuesday, scoring the only run of the game on a wild pitch in a 1-0 victory at Wolff Stadium.

The RoughRiders broke through with the only run they would need in the seventh inning to win the opener of a six-game series. First, Frisco put runners at first and second base on a Diosbel Arias leadoff single and a one-out walk to Jordan Procyshen. At that point, Missions lefty Sam Williams was promptly lifted for right-hander Henry Henry.

Henry found more trouble when he walked Matt Whatley to load the bases, but he looked like he might escape unscathed when he made a good pitch to force a pop up for the second out. On the next batter, Henry’s breaking pitch got away from catcher Juan Fernandez for a wild pitch, allowing Arias to score the only run of the game.

Frisco used five pitchers to hand the Missions their first shut-out loss of the season. After starter Hans Crouse pitched the first inning, he was followed by left-hander Jake Latz, who allowed only two hits in four and two thirds. Blake Bass, A.J. Alexy and Cole Uvila finished the game.

For the Missions, starter Caleb Boushley enjoyed his best outing of the season. Boushley, from Wisconsin, pitched no-hit ball for five scoreless innings. He struck out two and walked two.


Frisco 8-4
San Antonio 6-7

Coming up

Frisco at San Antonio, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday


The Missions were playing a home game for the first time since August 2019. Last season was canceled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Frisco is the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. The Missions are now linked with the San Diego Padres. On the opening 12-game road trip, the Missions survived some adversity to finish with a couple of victories at Midland. During the trip, their roster was shuffled in a big way as leading hitter Robbie Podorsky was called up to Triple-A El Paso. Going into Tuesday night, the Missions had suffered three losses during games in which they scored only one run.

No. 14 Louisiana Tech sweeps doubleheader from UTSA

Parker Bates slammed a walk-off, 3-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning Saturday to propel the 14th-ranked Louisiana Tech Bulldogs to a 10-7 victory and a doubleheader sweep over the UTSA Roadrunners.

In the Conference USA series being played at Ruston, La., Louisiana Tech leads two games to one going into the Sunday afternoon finale.

The Roadrunners took another successful swipe at one of the nation’s best teams Friday night when they downed the Bulldogs, 7-5. Arturo Guajardo got the last three outs with two runners on base for the save.

In the first game of Saturday’s twin-bill, Louisiana Tech bounced back behind pitcher Ryan Jennings, who hurled a complete-game, seven-inning three hitter in a 4-1 victory. Hunter Wells and Bates delivered run-scoring singles in a four-run fourth.

Jennings escaped a jam in the sixth when he allowed a two-out double to Dylan Rock and then struck out power-hitting Nick Thornquist to end the inning.

In the second game, the Roadrunners had their chances to split the doubleheader but couldn’t hold on to a pair of leads. They held a 3-0 edge in the second inning. They were up 4-2 in the fifth. In the bottom of the fifth, the momentum swung in favor of the Bulldogs, who scored five runs. Not to be outdone, the Roadrunners added three in the top of the seventh to make it 7-7.

When the game went to extra innings, UTSA couldn’t score in its half of the eighth. From there, the Roadrunners handed the ball to Guajardo, who got into trouble immediately. He walked Taylor Young. Then Hunter Wells singled, putting runners at first and second and bringing up Bates.

Bates, a fifth-year senior from Tyler, pulled a ball over the right field wall to win it.

Louisiana Tech’s resilience spoiled what could have been a big day for the Roadrunners. Coming into Saturday, UTSA had won three of its last five — all against Top 25 competition. They had split four games against Old Dominion last weekend in San Antonio and then had won the opener against LA Tech, a team viewed as likely to play in the NCAA tournament.

Tech will host the C-USA tournament, scheduled for May 26-30. Tech also is under consideration to host an NCAA first-weekend regional the following weekend. UTSA, in turn, likely needs to win the C-USA tourney title to nail down its first NCAA berth since 2013.


UTSA 22-23, 14-16
Louisiana Tech 35-14, 21-8


No. 4 Tennessee rallied in the bottom of the ninth on a Max Ferguson 3-run homer to down top-ranked Arkansas, 8-7, at Knoxville. The win squares the three-game series between SEC heavyweights at 1-1.

No. 2 Vanderbilt, behind starting pitcher Jack Leiter, routed 18th-ranked Ole Miss, 13-2, in Oxford. SEC series is tied 1-1 going into Sunday’s finale.

Unranked Missouri notched a 16-8 road victory to win the SEC series 2-1 against No. 3 Mississippi State, in Starkville.

Cal Conley and Dru Baker hit grand slams as No. 7 Texas Tech won on the road in the Big 12 at unranked Oklahoma, 15-2. The series is tied 1-1 going into Sunday’s finale.

Surprising UTSA set to play two today against No. 14 LA Tech

The UTSA Roadrunners have quietly started to drop subtle hints to the rest of Conference USA that they might be a factor in the postseason.

UTSA’s latest surprise came Friday night when it held on to beat the 14th-ranked Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 7-5 in a road game at Ruston, La. It was UTSA’s third win in its last five games — all against Top 25 competition.

After the Roadrunners rallied with three runs in the seventh to take the lead, they held on to win the first game of a four-game series behind the pitching of Hunter Mason and Arturo Guajardo.

Grant Miller earned the victory with 1 and 2/3 innings of work. Mason followed with scoreless innings in the seventh and the eighth. Guajardo, UTSA’s sixth pitcher, delivered with a scoreless ninth for the save.

Leyton Barry hit a two-run homer for the Roadrunners, who handed Tech starting pitcher Jonathan Fincher his first loss of the season. The Roadrunners and Bulldogs continue the series today in a 2 p.m. doubleheader. The finale is Sunday at 1 p.m.


Arkansas 6, Tennessee 5

Rankings: (1) Arkansas; (4) Tennessee
Friday’s rundown: Falling behind by five runs after the first inning, the top-ranked Razorbacks were sparked by home runs from Robert Moore and Brady Slavens to rally for the SEC road win.
Coming up: Game 2 of a three-game series today at 11 a.m., at Knoxville, Tenn.

Ole Miss 3, Vanderbilt 1

Rankings: (18) Ole Miss; (2) Vanderbilt
Friday’s rundown: Kevin Graham and TJ McCants homered for Ole Miss as the Rebels, playing at home, handed Kumar Rocker his second loss of the season.
Coming up: Game 2 of a three-game series today at 4 p.m., at Oxford, Miss.

Oklahoma 9, Texas Tech 8

Rankings: (7) Texas Tech
Friday’s rundown: Oklahoma scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th to take the first game of the Big 12 series. Jace Jung, from San Antonio MacArthur, slugged his 17th home run of the season for the Red Raiders.
Coming up: Game 2 of a three-game series today at 2 p.m. in Norman, Okla.

Arkansas at Tennessee headlines college baseball weekend

College baseball that I’ll be watching tonight and through the weekend:

(1) Arkansas at (4) Tennessee
Tonight: Patrick Wicklander vs Chad Dallas

(2) Vanderbilt at (18) Ole Miss
Tonight: Kumar Rocker vs Doug Nikhazy

(7) Texas Tech at Oklahoma
Tonight: Patrick Monteverde vs Jason Ruffcorn

UTSA at (14 Louisiana Tech
Tonight: Pepper Jones vs Jonathan Fincher

Missions’ bullpen solid in early going of new season

Sometimes, it seems that a minor league baseball team is only as good as its bullpen.

It might be hard to argue about such a theory with the Missions, who roll into Midland today on a three-game winning streak, highlighted by another streak — 14 consecutive scoreless innings by relief pitchers.

The Missions’ bullpen hasn’t been charged with a run since the eighth inning last Friday night, in Game 4 of a six-game road series against the Corpus Christi Hooks.

The run scored when C.J. Stubbs singled to drive in Marty Costes against Missions lefthander Tom Cosgrove. Since then, the Missions’ pen has worked 14 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and five walks over that span.

After falling behind 5-1 in the series finale Sunday afternoon, manager Phillip Wellman and pitching coach Pete Zamora called on left-hander Jerry Keel and righty Jose Quezada to put out the fire.

Keel struck out four in four innings to get the win and Quezada closed in the ninth for his first save to nail down a 7-5 victory.

In six games to start the season, the bullpen hasn’t been invincible. It has given up three home runs. But, for the most part, it’s been very reliable with a 3-1 record, a save and a 2.32 earned run average. Not to mention a 1.00 WHIP.

Individuals standing out from a statistical standpoint include five players who have yet to allow an earned run — Fred Schlichtolz, Quezada, James Reeves, Carlos Belen and Pedro Avila.


After a day off Monday, the San Diego Padres-affiliated Missions (4-2) will play the Rockhounds (2-4) in the opener of a six-game series tonight in Midland. The Rockhounds are affiliated with the Oakland A’s. The Missions return for their home opener on May 18 against the Texas Rangers-affliated Frisco RoughRiders.

Zubia, Williams power No. 8 Texas past third-ranked TCU, 9-3

TCU fans showed up at Lupton Stadium Sunday hoping to see their team deliver a knockout blow to the Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 regular-season title race.

They left unfulfilled as the Longhorns romped to a 9-3 victory to win the series, two games to one. Jumping out to a 9-0 lead, Texas pulled to within one game of first-place TCU.

Zach Zubia smashed two home runs and Cam Williams added another in a 12-hit attack as Texas silenced the TCU faithful and kept Texas’ championship hopes alive, with one series remaining for each squad before the Big 12 tournament.

Regardless of what happens in the race, Texas left-handed pitcher Pete Hansen sent a message that he is primed for the postseason.

Hansen (6-1) pitched seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits while striking out four in a game that carried NCAA playoff implications.

Backed into a corner after losing 2-1 to TCU on Saturday, Texas played as well in a big-game road atmosphere as is has all season, likely bolstering its hopes for a top-eight national tournament seed.


Texas 15-6, 38-12
TCU 16-5, 34-12

Coming up

Texas plays a couple of non-conference games before closing out Big 12 play May 20-22 with three at home against West Virginia (17-23, 7-14).

TCU will be much busier in coming days. The Frogs play five non-conference home games between now and March 18. They also finish conference May 20-22 but they will be on the road at Kansas State (28-18, 7-11).