Roadrunners shrug off the wind and down the UAB Blazers, 12-3

James Taussig ties the game in the bottom of the third with an RBI single through the right side. – Video by The JB Replay

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

A howling wind out of the north threatened to turn Sunday’s series finale at Roadrunner Field into a low-scoring pitchers’ duel, but with James Taussig, Caleb Hill and Diego Diaz leading the way, UTSA made the necessary adjustments at the plate and rolled to a 12-3 victory over the UAB Blazers.

With the win, UTSA stayed tied with ninth-ranked East Carolina for first place in the American Athletic Conference race.

Taussig, a 6-foot-6 junior from Houston, went three for three and drove in two runs as the Roadrunners notched their fifth series victory of the season in the AAC. Later, he called it “just another day” as teams showed up at the ballpark with wind gusting into the hitters’ faces in the 30-mph range.

“(Coaches) get us ready every day to hit the right way in these conditions, you know, staying through the ball, staying on top of the ball,” Taussig said. “(We’re) just trying to get maximum bat speed and hit the ball as hard as (we) can. (You) can’t control what the wind does to the ball.”

With temperatures in the 60s for a noon start on the UTSA campus, fans filed into the stadium decked out in sweatshirts and windbreakers, and holding on to their caps, if they were lucky. Flags over the center field fence were flapping furiously.

The game started with an equally chaotic set of circumstances. In the top of the first, UAB coach Casey Dunn was ejected for arguing with the home-plate umpire. In the bottom half, the Roadrunners pushed a runner to third base and scored on a wild pitch.

By the fourth inning, the Blazers had rallied. They plated two runs in the third and one in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead. But before long, the Roadrunners started to click. They scored three runs in the fifth and five in the seventh to break the game open.

“We played well,” UTSA coach Pat Hallmark said. “It was a tough day to hit with that wind blowing (in) so hard from center. So I was really impressed with our hitting.”

UTSA entered the season intent on making some noise in its first season in the AAC, and Hallmark’s team has done just that, playing five series in conference and winning all of them, beating East Carolina (2-1), Tulane (3-0), Charlotte (2-1), Memphis (2-1) and now UAB (also 2-1).

Asked how impressive it is to have won every series, Hallmark answered modestly and carefully, perhaps knowing that a tough series awaits next weekend at Rice.

“We’re trying to play good ball,” Hallmark said. “We’re trying to control the things we can control, which is, throw strikes, play good defense and fight at the plate. We always boil it back down to those three things. If we do those three things, we’ll deserve to win. We won’t always win. But we’ll deserve to win, and that’s really all we can do.”

Taussig did his part, reaching base five times, with three hits and a couple of walks. Also, two RBI. Hill reached four times on two hits and two walks. He also made the most of each opportunity, scoring four runs. Diaz enjoyed a two for five day with two RBI.

Ulises Quiroga (5-0) pitched six innings to earn the win. He yielded five hits and three runs, though only two of them were earned. Braylon Owens closed by working the final three innings, all scoreless. Combined, the two of them struck out 10, with Quiroga getting six of them.

Blazers starter Colin Daniel (6-3) was saddled with the loss.


UAB 17-21, 5-10
UTSA 24-16, 11-4

Series at a glance

Game 1: UAB defeats UTSA, 7-3
Game 2: UTSA defeats UAB, 7-5
Game 3: UTSA defeats UAB, 12-3

Coming up

Friday, April 26 — UTSA at Rice, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 — UTSA at Rice, 2 p.m.
Sunday, April 28 — UTSA at Rice, 1 p.m.

AAC leaders

East Carolina 11-4, 31-8
UTSA 11-4, 24-16

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