NCAA baseball: Texas A&M, Stanford to meet in regional winners bracket

Jack Moss and Max Kaufer stroked three hits apiece as the Texas A&M Aggies overcame four errors to down the Cal State Fullerton Titans 12-4 late Friday night in the opening round of the NCAA Stanford Regional.

Jordan Thompson, a Texas A&M senior from Boerne Champion High School, walked three times and scored three runs for the Aggies.

In the first game of the day, junior Alberto Rios hit a grand slam in a six-run third inning as the region’s top-seeded Stanford Cardinal defeated the San Jose State Spartans 13-2.

Texas A&M will now meet Stanford, the No. 8 national seed, in the winners bracket Saturday night. The game between teams that made it to the College World Series last summer is set to start at 8 p.m. central time.

Cal State Fullerton will play San Jose State in the early Saturday elimination game.

TCU prepares for Arkansas after romping past Arizona in the Fayetteville Regional

Brayden Taylor opened his NCAA Fayetteville Regional with four straight hits on Friday, leading the TCU Horned Frogs on a 12-4 romp over the Arizona Wildcats.

Taylor went four for five on the day and produced six RBIs. Sparking an early Horned Frogs surge, he bashed a three-run homer in the first inning and a two-run single in the second. The home run was Taylor’s 22nd on the season.

San Antonio’s Anthony Silva, a freshman shortstop from San Antonio’s Clark High School, was one for four with an RBI.

With the win, the second-seeded Frogs moved into a Saturday night winners bracket game against the regional’s top-seeded host, the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Earlier Friday, Arkansas, seeded third overall in the 64-team NCAA tournament, downed Santa Clara, 13-6.

Baton Rouge Regional

The Oregon State Beavers exploded for 22 hits and broke the school’s postseason record with four home runs in rolling past the Sam Houston State Bearkats, 18-2.

In the first inning, Joe Redfield doubled and Josh Wishkoski followed with a two-run homer for the Bearkats. After that, the Beavers dominated.

Micah McDowell and Gavin Turley each homered and produced six RBIs for the Beavers.

With the win, Oregon State will play Saturday night, facing regional top seed and host LSU in the winners bracket. In the first game on Saturday, Sam Houston State will face the Tulane Green Wave in an elimination game.

Pitching, highlight-reel defense lift Texas to victory in the Coral Gables Regional

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

Outfielders Eric Kennedy and Dylan Campbell made highlight-worthy defensive plays to back the pitching of lefthander Lucas Gordon on Friday as the Texas Longhorns downed the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns 4-2 in the opening game of the NCAA Coral Gables Regional.

In addition, Campbell had two hits and two RBIs and set the Big 12 record by hitting safely in his 36th straight game. Texas (39-20) advances in the regional to play Saturday night against the regional’s host team, the Miami Hurricanes (41-19).

Miami hit three home runs and downed the Maine Black Bears, 9-1, in the late game Friday night. The Hurricanes are the No. 9 seed nationally and the region’s No. 1. The Longhorns are seeded No. 2 in the region.

Locked in a scoreless defensive battle through five innings, the Cajuns and the Longhorns both started to score in the sixth. In the top half, a double by Heath Hood, followed by an RBI single from Connor Higgs, lifted the Cajuns into a 1-0 lead. Texas added two in the bottom half.

For the Longhorns, Mitchell Daly led off the inning with a solo homer to left. Later, San Antonio’s Porter Brown produced the go-ahead run with an RBI single to right. Texas was up 2-1 at that point and would not relinquish the lead. Kennedy added a two-run double in the seventh for a 4-1 spread.

Louisiana’s Carson Roccaforte hit a solo homer in the eighth to account for the final run.

The game may have turned on two defensive plays by the Longhorns. In the fourth inning, Kennedy, playing center, ranged back and slightly into right center while tracking a drive by John Taylor. He leaped at the fence and caught the would-be, three-run homer for the third out.

In the sixth, Campbell, the UT right fielder, raced toward the foul line, dove nearly parallel to the ground and snagged a drive by Roccaforte. If he hadn’t caught it, Roccaforte would have had at least a triple and the Cajuns might have been off and running toward a big inning. The remarkable play preceded the hits by Hood and Higgs.

Gordon worked seven innings and gave up one run on five hits. He improved his record to 6-1 on the season and lowered his earned run average to 2.55. Righthander Jackson Nezue (9-6) was hard-luck losing pitcher, charged with two runs in five plus innings.

Gainesville Regional

Zac Vooletich ripped a two-run single in the fifth inning and Brandon Beckel pitched two innings of scoreless relief Friday, helping the Texas Tech Red Raiders defeat the Connecticut Huskies 3-2 in the opening game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional.

With the victory, the Red Raiders (40-21) will advance in the winners bracket to play Saturday against the regional host Florida Gators (45-14). Florida is the No. 2 national seed and the No. 1 seed in the Gainesville Regional. Texas Tech is the region’s third seed.

Vooletich, a senior from Brandeis, played as the designated hitter for the third-seeded Red Raiders. He entered the day with a .406 batting average. In the fifth inning, he came up to bat with one out and the bases loaded against UConn reliever Zach Fogell. Vooletich responded with a single up the middle to score Kevin Bazzell and Austin Green.

Beckel, a 6-foot-4 junior from Antonian, entered the game in the bottom of the seventh as a reliever for starter Mason Molina. He inherited trouble, with runners at first and second. After a wild pitch allowed the runners to move up, they both scored, one on a ground ball and another on a single.

Both runs were charged to Molina. Beckel settled down to finish two innings and keep the Red Raiders in the lead. He allowed two hits and struck out one. Molina (6-2) earned the victory and Josh Sanders, who pitched the ninth, got the save.

Stillwater Regional

Walloped by the Washington Huskies on Friday, the Dallas Baptist Patriots will play an elimination game Saturday at 2 p.m. against the regional host Oklahoma State Cowboys.

The Cowboys also lost on Friday, falling 6-4 in a stunner to the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.

Oklahoma State entered the NCAA tournament as the No. 11 national seed and the No. 1 seed in the four-team region. Dallas Baptist, the regular-season champion in Conference USA, entered the weekend as the region’s No. 2 seed, followed in order by Washington and Oral Roberts.

In Friday’s first game, the Huskies surprised the Patriots, 9-5, as they jumped all over Dallas Baptist ace righthander Ryan Johnson. Michael Snyder and Johnny Tincher hit homers in a seven-run fifth inning as Washington took an 8-1 lead.

The Patriots battled back by scoring three runs in their half of the fifth and one more in the seventh. Undaunted, Snyder answered, adding an RBI double in the eighth inning for the final run.

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