After a significant win at Texas A&M, UTSA stays focused and routs Middle Tennessee State

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

In the aftermath of an important non-conference road victory at Texas A&M on Tuesday night, the UTSA Roadrunners celebrated, but they didn’t lose their minds — or their focus.

Sure, the players made quite a bit of noise in the back of the bus on the way home, as they usually do when they win, but Coach Pat Hallmark said it really wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

“That was a great feeling, obviously,” UTSA second baseman Leyton Barry said of the 5-1 victory over the Aggies. “Anytime you’re playing a big school, in state, especially at their place — big stadium — to come out with a win was fantastic.”

Barry agreed, though, that the post-game mood wasn’t anything too crazy.

“It’s sort of like the mood will be in the locker room after we pull this tarp tonight,” he said Friday night after the Roadrunners drilled the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders, 13-5, to open a three-game weekend series. “We feel good. But there’s a lot of season left. There’s a lot of games to play. So we stay focused.”

Such was the atmosphere after the Roadrunners exploded for 17 hits and maintained a hold on first place in the Conference USA standings.

Matt King and Barry both launched two-run home runs to back the pitching of starter Luke Malone as UTSA (26-8, 10-2) remained a half game ahead of Dallas Baptist (25-9, 10-3) in the C-USA.

Malone (5-2) pitched through five innings and exited with a 5-2 lead to earn the victory, outdueling Middle Tennessee starter Patrick Johnson (2-2).

Johnson, a freshman righthander, was stung early in the game by King and Barry.

In the second inning, King, a right-side hitter, redirected a fast ball and sent it on a high arc onto the screen above the left field wall. In the third, Barry did the honors. A left-side hitter, he saw a ball on the outside of the plate and smashed it opposite field into the same neighborhood that King hit his.

All told, Johnson yielded seven runs on 10 hits.

The Roadrunners, who have produced a combined 30 hits in their last two games, scored twice in the second, twice in the third, once in the fourth and four times apiece in the fifth and sixth for a commanding 13-4 lead.

“We swung the bat good,” Hallmark said. “The wind was blowing out early, and we hit a couple up into it. We hit good. I was very happy with everything. We (also) pitched well.”

Neither Barry nor King has felt really good lately about their hitting strokes, but whatever was ailing them, they seem to have ironed it out.

Barry went three for four with three runs scored and two RBIs. He homered, tripled and singled. King, for his part, was two for four with a season-high five RBIs.

“It feels great,” King said. “I really just went out there and trusted the training. Past couple of weeks have been a roller-coaster for me. Me and Barry, honestly. So it was good for both of us to get out there and trust the training and have good swings and have a good day.”


UTSA 26-8, 10-2
Middle Tennessee State 17-15, 8-5

Coming up

Middle Tennessee State at UTSA, Saturday, 2 p.m.
Middle Tennessee State at UTSA, Sunday, noon.

JB’s replay

Malone, who pitched a scoreless inning in relief at Texas A&M, worked five innings against Middle Tennessee State and gave up two runs on five hits.

Walker finished the night three for five with a double and two singles. He also had an RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored.

The Blue Raiders also made contact well as a team, collecting 12 hits. But they were all singles, compared to the Roadrunners, who had nine extra-base hits among their 17.

Garza, one of the standouts in last year’s C-USA tournament, worked three innings. He gave up three runs, only one earned, on five hits. Lefthander Zach Royse pitched the ninth and retired three in a row.