San Antonians to watch in the NCAA baseball tournament? UT’s Brown, TCU’s Silva

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

University of Texas redshirt junior Porter Brown from Reagan High School and TCU freshman Anthony Silva from Clark will headline the The JB Replay’s list of players to watch from the San Antonio area in the upcoming NCAA Baseball Championship.

The tournament opens at 16 locales on Friday, with Brown and the Longhorns playing as a No. 2 seed in the Coral Gables Regional, according to the NCAA bracket announced on Monday morning.

Brown, an outfielder, enters the tournament having been named a unanimous pick on the all-Big 12 first team.

Silva, a shortstop, was an all-Big 12 second-team selection and made the conference’s all-freshman team. Silva and the Horned Frogs will be the No. 2 seed in the Fayetteville Regional.

The top 16-rated teams in the NCAA tournament will host four-team regionals on the opening weekend starting Friday. In uncommon twist, the state of Texas will not host an opening-weekend regional.

The Dallas Baptist Patriots and the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Monday joined power-conference programs at TCU, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech in the field of the 64.

Dallas Baptist, TCU, Texas and Texas A&M are all No. 2 seeds in their first-weekend tests. Texas Tech and Sam Houston State are No. 3 seeds.

Among the schools that did not make the national tournament bracket were the UTSA Roadrunners, the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals and the Texas State Bobcats.

Coral Gables Regional

1) Miami; 2) Texas; 3) Louisiana; 4) Maine.

Friday’s tournament opener for the Longhorns: Texas vs. Louisiana, 1 p.m., Longhorn Network.

Eye on San Antonio-area talent at Texas: Porter Brown, outfield, Reagan; Jalin Flores, shortstop, Brandeis; Travis Sthele, RHP, Reagan; Sam Walbridge, LHP, Saint Mary’s Hall.

Fayetteville Regional

1) Arkansas; 2) TCU; 3) Arizona; 4) Santa Clara.

Friday’s tournament opener for the Horned Frogs: TCU vs. Arizona, 8 p.m., ESPNU.

Eye on San Antonio area talent at TCU: Anthony Silva, shortstop, Clark; Luke Boyers, outfield, Boerne Champion; Cohen Feser, RHP, Reagan.

Texas A&M
Stanford Regional

1) Stanford; 2) Texas A&M; 3) Cal State Fullerton; 4) San Jose State.

Friday’s tournament opener for the Aggies: Texas A&M vs. Cal State Fullerton, 9 p.m., ESPN2.

Eye on San Antonio area-talent at A&M: Jordan Thompson, outfield, Boerne Champion; Kasen Wells, outfielder, Smithson Valley; Nathan Dettmer, pitcher, Johnson.

Texas Tech
Gainesville Regional

1) Florida, 2) UConn, 3) Texas Tech, 4) Florida A&M.

Friday’s tournament opener for the Red Raiders: UConn vs. Texas Tech, noon, on ESPN+.

Eye on San Antonio-area talent at Texas Tech: Brandon Beckel, junior RHP from Antonian; Zac Vooletich, senior infielder from Brandeis

Dallas Baptist
Stillwater Regional

1) Oklahoma State, 2) Dallas Baptist, 3) Washington, 4) Oral Roberts.

Friday’s tournament opener for the Patriots: Dallas Baptist vs. Washington, noon.

Sam Houston State
Baton Rouge Regional

The teams: 1) LSU, 2) Oregon State, 3) Sam Houston State, 4) Tulane

Friday’s tournament opener for the Bearkats: Sam Houston vs. Oregon State, 7 p.m., ESPN+.


The top eight seeds in the tournament are Wake Forest (47-10), Florida (44-14), Arkansas (41-16), Clemson (43-17), LSU (43-15), Vanderbilt (41-18), Virginia (45-12) and Stanford (38-16).

The next eight include Miami, Fla., (40-19), Coastal Carolina (39-19), Oklahoma St. (41-18), Kentucky (36-18), Auburn (34-21-1), Indiana State (42-15), South Carolina (39-19) and Alabama (40-19).

Texas pitcher D.J. Burke has entered the transfer portal, according to a report from

Burke, a junior righthander from Clark, pitched 24 and 1/3 innings in 15 games for the Longhorns this season. He was 1-0 with a save and a 2.22 earned run average, but he hasn’t pitched since April 30 at TCU. He’s on the roster of the Duluth Huskies of the Northwoods League, a wooden-bat league for players with NCAA eligibility remaining.

A San Antonio-area player to watch for the Arkansas Razorbacks is Hunter Grimes, a redshirt junior from Kerrville who played in the 2019 season at UTSA. Dominic Tamez, a junior catcher from Johnson, plays for 16th-rated Alabama.

Should Texas win the Coral Gables Regional in Florida and should Texas A&M win the Stanford Regional in California, the two old rivals would meet the following weekend in the Super Regional round.

Charlotte wins 11-2 to oust UTSA from the C-USA tournament

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

One of the best seasons in UTSA baseball history likely is over.

With the Roadrunners’ ratings percentage index at No. 67 entering Day 2 of the Conference USA Championship, they probably needed a victory over the Charlotte 49ers and then a strong run to the C-USA postseason title to have any hopes of an NCAA tournament berth.

As it turned out, Cam Fisher and the 49ers had other ideas.

Fisher hit two home runs, and the 49ers made plenty of slick plays defensively in rolling to an 11-2 victory Thursday over the Roadrunners at Reckling Park.

With the decision, Charlotte kept its tournament hopes alive, advancing in the C-USA losers bracket to play again on Friday. The 49ers will meet either the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs or the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. Meanwhile, the loss sends UTSA home from Houston with an 0-2 record.

NCAA tournament berths will be announced next week. But, UTSA coach Pat Hallmark said before the tournament that his team needed to win it to have a shot. So, it’s hard to imagine how the Roadrunners could be in the national field, considering a 10-11 record in their last 21 games.

It’s a heart-breaker for a team that had so much going for it in February, March and April.

Only a month ago, the Roadrunners were 20 games over .500, ranked in the top 25 in various media polls and cruising to what looked like the program’s first 40-win season.

At one point, the Roadrunners were 28-8. Now, they’re 38-19, and they’re boarding the bus to come home, wondering what happened.

The way the game played out against Charlotte may have underscored some of the team’s problems down the stretch. The 49ers jumped on the Roadrunners early, forging a 3-0 lead.

Fisher homered in the first inning, belting a solo homer to right.

With Roadrunners’ starter Drake Smith (1-2) struggling with his command, the 49ers loaded the bases in the second. Smith was lifted for Simon Miller, the C-USA’s Pitcher of the Year, but Charlotte’s Jake Dragum answered with a line drive and a two-run single.

Nursing a 3-0 lead, the 49ers started to feel the Roadrunners’ offense. Garrett Poston blasted a solo home run and then Antonio Valdez legged out a double. Utilizing his speed, Valdez raced home on a Taylor Smith single. The 49ers’ lead had been trimmed to 3-2.

Credit the Charlotte defense for turning the momentum. In the bottom of the fourth, with UTSA trailing by one and threatening, Dragum gloved a hard-hit ground ball up the middle, stepped on the bag at second and fired to first for the double play.

It was the first of two double plays by the 49ers’ infield.

Meanwhile, Charlotte reliever Paxton Thompson (6-2) started to get tough. He went on to complete five shutout innings, allowing only two hits.

On the other hand, the 49ers offense also had something to do with the Roadrunners’ problems, as well. They scored five runs on nine hits off Miller, who yielded two home runs and two doubles.

In all, the 49ers battered the Roadrunners for 14 hits, including three by Brandon Stahlman. Blake Jackson, Fisher and Austin Knight picked up two hits apiece.


UTSA 38-19
Charlotte 30-26


The frustrating stat of the tournament for UTSA had to do with hitting. Their batters smashed quite a few balls directly at fielders over the past few days. That being said, the Roadrunners mustered only 13 hits combined in a 5-1 loss to Middle Tennessee on Wednesday and in an 11-2 loss to Charlotte on Thursday.

If the loss to Charlotte was indeed the end of the season for the Roadrunners, they will have finished the past two seasons with 38 victories and without a berth in the NCAA tournament.

They went 38-20 last year, with a 19-11 record in the conference’s regular season. Roadrunners are now 38-19 following a 21-8 run through the C-USA. UTSA won 39 games twice, once in 1994 and again in 2008. Next season, UTSA baseball will transition along with all its other sports into the American Athletic Conference.

Opening-day upset: Middle Tennessee downs UTSA in C-USA tournament

By Jerry Briggs
Special to The JB Replay

Junior Eriq Swan pitched the seventh-seeded Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders past the No. 2 UTSA Roadrunners, earning the win in a 5-1 victory on opening day Wednesday at the Conference USA Baseball Championship.

Swan, a 6-foot-6 righthander, took the loss in a 5-4 decision to UTSA last month at Roadrunner Field in San Antonio. He was more than up to the task in the rematch in Houston, however, allowing only one run on three hits through six innings.

With the loss, UTSA was forced into the losers bracket.

The Roadrunners will take on the Charlotte 49ers at 9 a.m. Thursday in an elimination game. Middle Tennessee State advanced in the winners bracket, earning a date against sixth-seeded Louisiana Tech in a game scheduled to start Thursday at 12:30 p.m.

The C-USA tournament is being contested at Rice University’s Reckling Park. The tournament will run through Sunday, with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

In Wednesday’s opener, No. 6 seed Louisiana Tech downed third-seeded Charlotte 13-8. Middle Tennessee then followed with the second shocker of the day in downing UTSA.

Later, top-seeded Dallas Baptist rolled to a 13-2 victory over eight-seed Rice, and fourth-seeded Western Kentucky rallied from a six-run deficit to down No. 5 Florida Atlantic 10-9 in the night game.

In the second game of the day, the Blue Raiders were the visiting team, batting first. They got the jump on the Roadrunners almost immediately when JT Mabry hit the second pitch from starter Ryan Ward over the left field wall for a 1-0 lead.

Ward lasted a little more than two innings. In the top of the third, he walked the first three batters he faced, prompting coaches to bring in Luke Malone.

The Blue Raiders scratched out two runs, one on a ground ball and another on a sacrifice fly, to dump the Roadrunners into a 3-0 deficit.

Meanwhile, Swan kept the Roadrunners off balance with fastball clocked in the high 90s, mixed with a breaking pitch and a changeup.

Going into the sixth inning, he had a one-hit shutout when he struck out the first two batters he faced. At that point, UTSA’s Matt King slammed a home run over the left field wall. The blow brought the Roadrunners to within 3-1.

In the eighth, the Blue Raiders made it 5-1 when DJ Wright hit a two-run homer off Roadrunners’ senior Luke Malone.

The story of the game was Swan. A few years ago, the former high school standout in Murfreesboro, Tenn., decided to stay home and play for Middle Tennessee State.

He entered the tournament with a reputation for having control problems and with a 7.04 earned run average. In his best outing of the season, Swan not only held explosive UTSA to one run, but he also struck out nine. He improved to 2-6 with a 6.49 ERA.

For UTSA, Ward took the loss. After being charged with three runs allowed in two plus innings, he fell to 1-2. Malone finished the game, pitching seven innings in relief. He gave up two runs on six hits and struck out two.

King and Caleb Hill produced two hits apiece for the Roadrunners, who could manage only six hits for the game.

Leyton Barry hit the ball hard to the outfield twice but was held to zero for four on the day. Taylor Smith was also zero for four and struck out four times. Antonio Valdez, UTSA’s leading hitter, was one for three.


UTSA 38-18
Middle Tennessee 26-27

Wednesday’s results

Louisiana Tech 13, Charlotte 8
Middle Tennessee State 5, UTSA 1
Dallas Baptist 13, Rice 2
Western Kentucky 10, Florida Atlantic 9

Thursday’s schedule

Charlotte vs. UTSA, 9 a.m. (elimination game)
Louisiana Tech vs. Middle Tennessee, 12:30 p.m. (winners bracket)
Rice vs. Florida Atlantic, 4 p.m. (elimination game)
Dallas Baptist vs. Western Kentucky, 7:30 p.m. (winners bracket)


UTSA outfield standout Shane Sirdashney, trying to make a comeback from a hamstring injury, started in center for the Roadrunners. In only his fourth game since the Middle Tennessee series in April, Sirdashney had one hit in four at bats.

When the Roadrunners swept a three-game series at home from the Blue Raiders in April, they improved their record to 28-8. Since then, they have been plagued with inconsistency, going 10-10 in their last 20 games.

Despite the swoon, they can tie the school record for victories in a season if they can beat Charlotte on Thursday morning. If they win, they would play Friday at 2 p.m. against the loser between Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee.

Still dreaming big, UTSA opens C-USA tournament play today

UTSA starter Luke Malone pitched six innings. UTSA scored four runs in the seventh inning to rally past Rice 9-7 in Conference USA baseball on Friday, May 5, 2023, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA pitcher Luke Malone says the team has had a good season but hasn’t reached its goals. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The UTSA Roadrunners’ baseball team has already left its mark on Conference USA. In its ninth and final run through a C-USA regular-season schedule, Coach Pat Hallmark’s squad bolted into the early lead in the 10-team race and stubbornly held the top spot through the first half.

In the end, the Roadrunners finished second to the streaking Dallas Baptist Patriots. But as eight teams assemble in Houston for this week’s C-USA Championship, in the so-called second season, UTSA stands as one of the favorites with a record of 38-17 and a conference mark of 21-8.

The 21 wins within the conference represent UTSA’s best showing in the C-USA since transitioning out of the Western Athletic Conference in 2013. The 38 wins represent the second most in a season for the team since the program started playing ball in 1992.

In fact, UTSA can tie the record of 39 victories with a win today against Middle Tennessee State in the C-USA tournament opener at Houston.

But in unpacking all their emotions between the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason, the Roadrunners left little doubt that while setting a school record for victories sometime this week at Reckling Park would be nice, it would be less than fulfilling if they come up short of the conference’s postseason title.

“Overall, we’ve had a pretty good season,” UTSA pitcher Luke Malone said. “But we still haven’t accomplished our team goals. I don’t want to share with everyone what those are, but we still have goals, and we still can achieve all of them. So, even though we’ve had a good season, I don’t think we’re done yet.”

As the season opened in February, the Roadrunners had a certain look about them. Their competition wasn’t top of the line in every game, but they did win non-conference contests at Houston, Baylor and Texas State and opened with an 18-3 record, which included a 10-game winning streak.

Through the middle of April, they journeyed on the road to beat a likely NCAA team in Texas A&M, and they were 28-8 after sweeping a C-USA series from Middle Tennessee State at Roadrunner Field.

Since then, they haven’t been quite the same.

They’ve played mostly without two of their best outfielders, Shane Sirdashney and Isaiah Walker, and combined with some pitching issues, they’ve recorded a 10-9 record down the stretch. After the 0-3 showing against Dallas Baptist two weeks ago, they finished with a 2-1 series victory at Louisiana Tech last weekend.

Now, with a ratings percentage index listing at No. 64, they know that nothing less than a C-USA postseason title will get them to the NCAA tournament.

“I think where our RPI is … we need to win this tournament,” Hallmark said. “So, that’s the goal, and that’s what we’re planning on doing.”

To get that done, the Roadrunners likely need to start fast, stay out of the losers bracket in the double-elimination format through Saturday and build momentum toward a title match on Sunday.

As the tournament starts today, third-seeded Charlotte and No. 6 Louisiana Tech play the early game today, followed by two seed UTSA and No. 7 Middle Tennessee at 12:30 p.m. Those four teams will play one another today, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for a berth in the title game, which would be contested Sunday.

In the afternoon and evening games today, top-seeded Dallas Baptist plays eight seed Rice at 4 p.m., followed by No. 4 Western Kentucky against five seed FAU at 7:30 p.m.


1. Dallas Baptist 42-13, 25-5
2. UTSA 38-17, 21-8
3. Charlotte 29-25, 17-12
4. WKU 31-24, 16-14
5. FAU 33-23, 16-14
6. Louisiana Tech 27-29, 15-15
7. Middle Tennessee State 25-27, 14-16
8. Rice 21-35, 9-21


UTSA had a program-record eight players mentioned in postseason awards announced Tuesday.

Senior Taylor Smith, who hit six home runs last week, wasn’t one of them.

Smith started last week with a grand slam at Abilene Christian, followed with three homers at Louisiana Tech on Thursday and two more against LA Tech on Friday. On Saturday, he went 0 for 4 to snap an eight-game hitting streak.

For the season, Smith hit .317 with a team-high 17 home runs. Shortstop Matt King also failed to make the first or second teams in the all-conference listings despite a solid year in which he hit .310. King ranked second on the team with 57 RBIs.

Simon Miller, brilliant with a 8-1 record, 11 saves and a 1.83 earned run average out of the bullpen, was named the C-USA’s Pitcher of the Year. Miller and Antonio Valdez (.391 batting average) were named to the C-USA all-conference first team.

Second team honors went to catcher Josh Killeen, second baseman Leyton Barry, outfielder Caleb Hill, Malone, who was UTSA’s Friday night starter, and Sammy Diaz. Diaz, a first baseman/catcher, made the squad as a utility player. Pitcher Ruger Riojas was named to the all-freshman team.

Simon Miller wins Pitcher of the Year; Miller and Antonio Valdez make first-team all conference

UTSA reliever Simon Miller pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings. UTSA scored four runs in the seventh inning to rally past Rice 9-7 in Conference USA baseball on Friday, May 5, 2023, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA reliever Simon Miller has been named Pitcher of the Year in Conference USA, according to information released on the C-USA website Tuesday. – File photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Simon Miller has been named Pitcher of the Year in Conference USA. Meanwhile, Miller is also a first-team, all-conference selection along with UTSA third baseman Antonio Valdez, according to honors announced on the C-USA website Tuesday afternoon.

UTSA's Antonio Valdez scores the go-ahead run on a double-steal in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 2-1 victory over Incarnate Word at Roadrunner Field on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Antonio Valdez (at right) has been named first-team, all-Conference USA. — File photo by Joe Alexander

Second-team selections for UTSA are catcher Josh Killeen, second baseman Leyton Barry, outfielder Caleb Hill, pitcher Luke Malone and utility man Sammy Diaz. Pitcher Ruger Riojas was named to the all freshman team.

Miller produced an 8-1 record, 11 saves and a 1.83 earned run average, which ranked fifth in the nation and first in the conference. Valdez led the conference in triples with seven and ranked second in runs scored (63), hits (84), batting average (.391), and RBIs (65).

Shane Sirdashney’s pinch-hit homer fuels optimism as UTSA prepares for the postseason

Shane Sirdashney. UTSA beat Marshall 5-4 on Sunday, May 8, 2022, at Roadrunner Field. - photo by Joe Alexander

Shane Sirdashney could be limited in the Conference USA tournament because of a hamstring injury, but he said Monday that he is preparing play. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Shane Sirdashney’s last regular-season at bat for the UTSA Roadrunners a few days ago turned into a memorable one on several levels.

He’ll always remember the solid contact. The ball flying off the bat. The thoughts racing through his head. The sound of his teammates’ voices ringing in his ears.

“Originally I thought it was going to be too much of a line drive, off the wall, and I was going to have to run,” said Sirdashney, who has been battling a left leg injury for the last month. “Then I heard some screaming and cheering when I rounded first base. I was like, ‘OK, I can slow down now.’ ”

In a decidedly good omen for the Roadrunners, Sirdashney blasted a pinch-hit, solo home run in the ninth inning last Saturday at Louisiana Tech.

Even though UTSA lost the game 7-5, the bullet off the bat of their hard-luck outfielder sent a jolt of excitement through a dugout full of players looking for positive signs entering this week’s Conference USA Baseball Championship.

It also launched a few jokes for the trip home.

“The joke is, just hit homers, and you don’t have to stress the leg,” UTSA coach Pat Hallmark said Monday.

Added UTSA pitcher Luke Malone: “He busted out of the box like he thought it was a double. I mean, he put his head down and started sprinting, which you love to see because of his hamstring. Then the ball went over the fence and he was smiling. It was good to see him back and swinging it.”

Sirdashney, a .361 hitter, has been suffering from a partially torn tendon in his hamstring, in the tendon on the inside of his left knee.

He injured it on April 16 in a home game against Middle Tennessee State. After playing spot duty in two games a few weeks later, Sirdashney was shut down for the next three weeks.

That’s why the UTSA players felt a surge of excitement when they heard his named called to pinch hit late in the game against the Bulldogs.

“We were going crazy when he first stepped in the box,” Malone said. “I mean, there was some energy in our dugout, and then off the bat, we were just screaming. It was good to see.”

Second-seeded UTSA (38-17) opens the tournament Wednesday in Houston against No. 7 Middle Tennessee State (25-27). The tournament is double-elimination through Saturday, with a championship game scheduled Sunday.

The extent of Sirdashney’s role in the five-day event is unknown and could hinge partially on how he practiced Monday, how he feels after practice tonight and on Tuesday. Considering the nature of the injury, he’ll likely be day to day as the tournament progresses.

Sirdashney, from The Woodlands, said he’s preparing to play. It’s important to him because the winner of the event gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

“I mean, this is my last time ever playing baseball, so I’m going to give it all I’ve got,” Sirdashney said. “The plan is, I’m ready to go on Wednesday. Whatever coach Hallmark needs me to do, if that means starting in centerfield (or whatever).

“I’m going to practice today, see how it feels tomorrow, and I should be good to go on Wednesday.”

UTSA set to take on Middle Tennessee in tournament opener

By Jerry Briggs
Special to The JB Replay

The UTSA Roadrunners will take on the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders on Wednesday in Houston on opening day of the Conference USA Baseball Championship, according to the C-USA bracket. The eight-team championship runs through next Sunday at Rice University’s Reckling Park.

In Game 1 of the tournament, the third-seeded Charlotte 49ers will meet the No. 6 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at 9 a.m. Second-seeded UTSA will play No. 7 Middle Tennessee at 12:30 p.m. in Game 2. On Thursday, the losers of Games 1 and 2 are scheduled to play at 9 a.m., with the winners meeting at 12:30 p.m.

In Game 3 of the tournament, the top-seeded Dallas Baptist Patriots are scheduled to meet the No. 8 Rice Owls at 4 p.m. Wednesday, with No. 4 WKU meeting fifth-seeded Florida Atlantic in Game 4 at 7:30 p.m. On Thursday, the Games 3 and 4 losers play at 4 and the winners at 7:30 p.m.

In head-to-head meetings this season, the Roadrunners swept three games from the Blue Raiders in San Antonio back in April. They split two games against the 49ers in a rain-shortened weekend at Charlotte and won two of three over the past three days at Louisiana Tech.

Sirdashney homers in finale

Shane Sirdashney came off the bench to rip a pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning, but the UTSA Roadrunners fell short in their regular-season finale. Louisiana Tech held off UTSA 7-5 Saturday at J.C. Love Field in Ruston, La. With the loss, the Roadrunners wrapped up their regular season at 38-17, one victory shy of the school record.

Next up for the Roadrunners is the Conference USA tournament, scheduled for next week in Houston. They’ll be the second seed in the tournament that will run from Wednesday through next Sunday at Rice University’s Reckling Park. The winner in Houston gets the prize of an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Sirdashney’s availability next week could be a factor. He is a standout defender in centerfield and a .361 hitter. But, because of a hamstring problem, he hasn’t played much in the past month. His appearance on Saturday was only his third since he played three games against Middle Tennessee State from April 14-16.


UTSA 21-8, 38-17
Louisiana Tech 15-15, 27-29

Coming up

Conference USA tournament, May 24-28, at Reckling Park in Houston

UTSA, on the right path again, beats LA Tech 5-3 to clinch series

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Taylor Smith hit two homers Friday night as the UTSA Roadrunners downed the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, 5-3, to clinch a weekend series in Conference USA baseball.

Coming into the three-game series at Ruston, La., the Roadrunners had lost four straight games. But in the first two of a three-game series at J.C. Love Field, the Roadrunners have prevailed by two runs in both contests, pushing their record for the season to 38-16, including 21-7 in the C-USA.

On Thursday night, they hit five home runs in an 18-16 victory in 11 innings. On Friday, they hit three more, including back-to-back shots by Smith and Antonio Valdez in the first inning. Smith added another solo shot in the ninth to give him six home runs in three games this week.

The senior from Georgetown hit one homer at Abilene Christian on Tuesday. He added three more at LA Tech on Thursday night. And now, with the two on Friday, he increased his team-leading total to 17 on the season. In the three games, Smith has totaled nine hits in 16 at bats. In addition, he has produced 10 RBIs.

In the pitching department, junior Ryan Ward from Clemens High School pitched a season-high five innings to earn the victory. He allowed only two runs on two hits. Drake Smith (no relation to Taylor Smith) yielded only one run on one hit and struck out six in four innings to close the game.

With the victory, the Roadrunners clinched their 12th weekend series of the season, improving to 12-1-1 in series on the weekend. They split two games in a rain-shortened series on the road at Charlotte and lost all three games to Dallas Baptist a week ago at home.

The team’s latest win also moved the Roadrunners to within one of tying the school record for victories in a season. The record of 39 was set in 1994 and was tied in 2008. They’ll have a chance to tie the mark when they play LA Tech Saturday at noon in the series finale.

The C-USA tournament is set for next week in Houston.


UTSA 21-7, 38-16
Louisiana Tech 14-15, 26-29

Coming up

UTSA at Louisiana Tech, Saturday, noon (regular-season finale)
Conference USA tournament, May 24-28, at Reckling Park in Houston

Game updates:

In the second game of a Conference USA baseball series, UTSA is playing on the road tonight in Ruston, La., against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. UTSA took the first game of the series, 18-16, in 11 innings Thursday night. Reed Smith is on the mound for LA Tech against Ryan Ward for UTSA.

With one out in the top of the first, UTSA’s Taylor Smith (no relation) stepped to the plate with one out and hit a solo homer. Antonio Valdez followed with another solo shot. After Matt King singled, Smith settled down and retired Caleb Hill and Josh Killeen to get out of it, setting the stage for Ward to take the mound for the Roadrunners, protecting a 2-0 lead.

For Smith, his first at bat served as a continuation of a remarkable week. On Tuesday, the senior from Georgetown belted a grand slam in UTSA’s 10-8 loss at Abilene Christian. Last night, Smith hit three homers in the first game of the series against the Bulldogs. The blast off LA Tech’s Reed Smith was his fifth homer of the week and his team-leading 16th of the season.

Ward is a 6-foot-2 junior from Clemens, a righthander who entered the contest with an 0-1 record and a 5.50 earned run average. To this point, Ward had appeared in nine games this season and had pitched 18 innings. In the first inning against the Bulldogs, Ward threw strikes and retired three in a row, a welcome sign for a team that had to throw a lot of pitches Thursday night in the series opener.

In response, Reed Smith came out and had a much better experience with UTSA batting in the top of the second. He retired three straight, setting up his teammates to do some damage in the bottom half. That’s exactly what happened. With one out, Phil Matulia doubled. Later, Logan McLeod reached on a two-out, hit by pitch. Two men were on, at first and second. Phil Hasler took advantage of the situation, ripping a double to left field that scored both runners, tying the score, 2-2.

LA Tech starter Reed Smith is settling into the game nicely. After getting lit up for two home runs in the first inning, he’s held UTSA scoreless in the second, third and fourth innings.

During that stretch, he’s yielded a double to Taylor Smith in the and an infield single. But he’s kept the game under control against an explosive offense. Buoyed by Smith’s turn of fortune, the Bulldogs came to bat in the bottom of the fourth, with the game tied 2-2, trying to make something happen against Ward and the Roadrunners.

In the fourth, Ward started to rise to the challenge. Outside of a two-out walk, he didn’t give up a thing, with Kyle Hasler popping up for the third out. It was his second straight scoreless inning.

By the fifth, the Roadrunners brought Dalton Porter to the plate to lead off, and he sent a blast into left field for a double and then took third on a ground ball out. Next, Taylor Smith walked to put runners at the corner, and Smith stole second base to set up a second-and-third situation for Matt King. King delivered with a two-run single up the middle, lifting the Roadrunners to a 4-2 lead.

As the game moved into the middle innings, the major storyline for the Roadrunners centered on Ward. In only his 10th appearance of the season, he worked five innings, yielding only two runs on two hits. Ward walked three and struck out one in his longest outing of the year. Previously, his season-best was three innings. The most pitches he had thrown in a game? Fifty seven, against Stephen F. Austin, back in March. Against the Bulldogs, he threw 71 pitches, 39 of them for strikes and exited with a 4-2 lead.

With Drake Smith on the mound, the Roadrunners made it through the sixth inning unscathed. But the Bulldogs got it going in the seventh, drawing a leadoff walk and turning it into a run with Dalton Davis’ two-out RBI double. Smith, throwing well, struck out the next batter to retire the side. He struck out three in the inning, allowing UTSA to take a 4-3 lead into the eighth.

In the eighth, it was more of the same for the Bulldogs, who couldn’t figure out Smith. The UTSA righthander set down the opposition 1-2-3, picking up a strikeout along the way, sending the game to the ninth inning with the Roadrunners leading 4-3.

UTSA’s offense had been dormant for three innings. In the sixth through the eighth, it had done little damage and had been held scoreless in each frame. Until the ninth. UTSA’s Taylor Smith hit another home run, his second of the game, to boost the Roadrunners into a 5-3 lead. Smith has two homers tonight and six in three games this week. The senior from Georgetown has 17 for the season.

UTSA wins a wild one, beating Louisiana Tech 18-16 in 11 innings

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The UTSA Roadrunners snapped a season-long, four-game losing streak Thursday by holding off the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 18-16 in 11 innings at Ruston, La.

In the Conference USA series opener, the Bulldogs rallied from deficits of 9-5 and 13-8 to send the game into extra innings tied at 14.

Taylor Smith and Leyton Barry homered in a four-run 11th for UTSA. It was Smith’s third home run of the game. In the bottom half, Louisiana Tech scored twice off UTSA relief ace Simon Miller before its last rally was finally shut down.

With runners at first and third base, Adarius Myers bounced one back to Miller, who tossed to first base for the final out, ending a game that lasted about four hours and 20 minutes.

Miller (8-1) pitched the last five innings, throwing 85 pitches, to pick up the victory. Barry had four hits, and Smith, Barry and Matt King each had four RBIs.

Leadoff batter Dalton Davis led Louisiana Tech with two home runs and six RBIs. Ethan Bates (4-3) was the losing pitcher after giving up the two home runs in the 11th.

The Roadrunners play two more games in Ruston against LA Tech, which beat UTSA last year in the C-USA title game.


UTSA 20-7, 37-16
Louisiana Tech 14-14, 26-28

Coming up

UTSA at Louisiana Tech, Friday, 6 p.m.
UTSA at Louisiana Tech, Saturday, noon
Conference USA tournament, May 24-28, at Reckling Park in Houston

Winning 20

The UTSA baseball program has won 20 conference games for the first time in the Conference USA era. The Roadrunners have been in the C-USA since 2014. In that time, their previous best efforts within the league came in 2015 when they finished 17-13 and last year when they finished 19-11. The Dallas Baptist Patriots, at 23-5, have clinched the C-USA title. The Roadrunners, now 20-7, will finish second going into next week’s tournament at Houston. Overall, UTSA’s 37 wins are two shy of the school record of 39, set in 1994 and again in 2008.

Ending the skid

UTSA entered the series opener in Ruston on a four-game losing streak. The Roadrunners were swept in three games at home last weekend by Dallas Baptist for their first lost series of the season. Following the sweep, they played on the road Tuesday and lost 10-8 to the Abilene Christian University Wildcats of the Western Athletic Conference. The four-game skid was the longest for UTSA coach Pat Hallmark since his team lost five straight to end the 2021 season.

Rolling in home-run city

UTSA and Louisiana Tech combined for nine home runs in the first game of the series. For the Roadrunners, Taylor Smith hit three of them, and Garrett Poston and Leyton Barry had one apiece. For the Bulldogs, Dalton Davis hit two homers, and Ethan Bates and Phillip Matulia one each. Matulia’s grand slam came in the bottom of the first inning, off Luke Malone, and it catapulted LA Tech into a 5-2 lead.

Riding Smith’s hot bat

Taylor Smith, a senior transfer from Texas A&M, has hit four home runs in two games this week. He hit a grand slam in the fifth inning Tuesday in a 10-8 loss at Abilene Christian. Against Louisiana Tech, he socked a solo homer in the first inning, a two-run shot in the fourth and a solo homer in the 11th that broke a 14-14 tie. Smith’s long-ball surge has boosted him to a team-leading 15 home runs on the season.

Looking at Barry’s numbers

Leyton Barry, one of the all-time great hitters in school history, had four hits in five at bats against Louisiana Tech. He also drove in four runs. He had a single in the first inning, a two-run double in the third, a deep fly ball out to center in the fourth, a walk in the fifth, a ground out in the seventh, a two-out, two-strike double in the ninth and a two-run homer in the 11th. Approaching the end of his UTSA career, Barry has totaled 210 hits and 39 doubles in 175 games. He also has 21 career homers.

Malone’s struggles

UTSA pitcher Luke Malone, the team’s workhorse, Friday-night starter over the last two seasons, has been vulnerable to opponents making solid contact in his last five appearances. Over that stretch, his earned run average is 10.67. Against FIU, UAB, Rice, Dallas Baptist and Louisiana Tech, the senior from Round Rock has yielded 45 hits and 34 earned runs in 28 and 2/3 innings. He gave up eight runs on eight hits in 3 and 1/3 innings against LA Tech.

Abilene Christian hands UTSA its fourth straight loss

Miller Ladusau contributed a two-run single in the sixth inning and Logan Britt added a solo homer in the eighth Tuesday afternoon, propelling the Abilene Christian University Wildcats to a 10-8 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners.

The Wildcats surged early and led 6-0 after three innings and 7-1 after four against the Roadrunners. From there, the Roadrunners staged a rally, tying the game 7-7 with six runs in the top of the fifth. Taylor Smith knotted the score with a grand slam.

In the sixth, UTSA took the lead, 8-7. Antonio Valdez doubled and moved up on a ground ball. When Leyton Barry struck out, the ACU catcher bobbled the ball and had to throw to first for the out. On the throw, Valdez raced for home and slid in head first just ahead of the tag.

Undeterred, the Wildcats regained the lead with Ladusau ripped a single through the left side to score two, making it a 9-8 ballgame. Britt, a transfer from Texas A&M, homered in the eighth for the final run of the game.

Abilene’s Zach Smith pitched the last 1 and 1/3 inning to close the door on the Roadrunners, who have lost four in a row.


UTSA 36-16
Abilene Christian 32-20

Coming up

UTSA at Louisiana Tech, Thursday through Saturday