Charlotte wins series opener as UTSA’s six-game winning streak comes to an end

Charlotte pitcher Cole Reynolds. Charlotte beat UTSA 10-5 in American Athletic Conference baseball on Friday, April 5, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Charlotte lefthander Cole Reynolds pitched five innings, limiting explosive UTSA to two runs on four hits to earn the victory. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The UTSA Roadrunners struck first Friday night, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Undaunted, the visiting Charlotte 49ers took a deep breath and retaliated with four of their own in the top of the third, and then they cruised the rest of the way to a 10-5 victory.

With the win, the 49ers claimed the opener of a three-game series and snapped the Roadrunners’ six-game winning streak. Afterward, Charlotte coach Robert Woodard said he expects nothing less than a “relentless” effort by UTSA over the next few days in an effort to make amends.

“Coach (Pat) Hallmark’s team is one of the most relentless we play every single year,” Woodard said. “They’re such a hard-nosed group. We knew that coming in. And I’d like to think they feel the same way about our club.

Andrew Stucky. Charlotte beat UTSA 10-5 in American Athletic Conference baseball on Friday, April 5, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Andrew Stucky went two for three at the plate in the series opener against Charlotte. He also had an RBI and scored a run in the second inning. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“I think it’s just a mutual respect,” he added. “You just roll up your sleeves and go at it for the weekend. So, yeah, it’s a great start to the weekend for us. But, as you know, tomorrow’s game will be here before you know it.”


Charlotte 14-16, 4-3
UTSA 17-13, 5-2

Coming up

Charlotte at UTSA, Saturday, 2 p.m.
Charlotte at UTSA, Sunday, noon


The Roadrunners entered the game with high hopes. Not only had they won six straight, but they had started off play in the American Athletic Conference with a two games-to-one home series victory over the nationally-ranked East Carolina Pirates and a three-game road sweep over the Tulane Green Wave.

On top of that, they had freshman Robert Orloski on the mound, and Orloski had just started to deliver over the past few weeks with some quality outings. After the two-run second inning, the Roadrunners felt even better.

The home crowd at Roadrunner Field was getting loud and boisterous after Andrew Stucky stroked an RBI double and then scored all the way from second on a wild pitch by Charlotte starter Cole Reynolds. After the ball caromed away from home plate, 49ers catcher Kaden Hopson couldn’t find it, allowing Stucky to round third and score easily.

Mason Lytle. Charlotte beat UTSA 10-5 in American Athletic Conference baseball on Friday, April 5, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Mason Lytle had two hits in four at bats to extend his batting streak to 16 games. – Photo by Joe Alexander

As it turned out, the play may have been the last consequential break for the Roadrunners all night. The 49ers scored four runs off Orloski in their next turn, with the big blow coming on a two-out, bases-loaded triple by freshman Reid Haire.

Momentarily, while Haire’s batted ball sailed deep into the outfield, it seemed that UTSA centerfielder Mason Lytle might catch it. But on its descent, it veered away from Lytle, possibly because of a swirling wind, and bounced off the wall. Lytle, back-tracking, hit the wall, too. In the aftermath, Brandon Stahlman, Noah Furcht and Carson Bayne all scored to make it a 4-2 ballgame.

The 49ers added another run in the fourth, chasing Orloski (3-3) to the showers after 3 and 2/3 innings. Though the freshman righthander from Idaho had his moments, striking out six, he also gave up five runs on seven hits and took the loss. Meanwhile, Charlotte starter Cole Reynolds (4-3) settled in and completed five innings for the victory.

Reynolds, a lefty, was far from dominant. He struck out only two and walked three, but he limited UTSA to four hits, keeping batters off balance by changing speeds and throwing what looked like a sinker that veered in on the hands of left-handed batters and away from the righthanders.

AJ Wilson, another lefty, replaced Reynolds to open the sixth inning and dialed up much the same formula for success. The Roadrunners didn’t hit many balls hard off either pitcher. On top of that, the 49ers were making seemingly all the plays in the field. One that stood out was a play by rightfielder Johnny Sutryk in the bottom of the third.

With a UTSA baserunner at first and nobody out, Mason Lytle doubled into the right field corner. Sutryk came up throwing and fired all the way to third, where Stahlman slapped the tag on a sliding Hector Rodriguez for the out.

A scary moment

Trailing by six runs, the Roadrunners scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to make it an 8-4 game. But on the last play of the inning, a delayed steal that brought in a runner from third base, UTSA’s Tye Odom went down with an injury.

The play started with Lytle at third and Odom at first. Then, a pitch was delivered to the catcher. After running half-way to second base and drawing a throw from the catcher to the shortstop covering second, Odom stopped and back-tracked, with the 49ers trying to catch him between the bases before Lytle crossed home.

But after Lytle raced home and scored, 49ers shortstop Dante DeFranco tossed to the first baseman.

With Odom trying to scramble back to first base, he seemed to stumble, with one of his legs buckling under him momentarily. After getting tagged out, Odom stayed down, as both a UTSA trainer and the head coach ran to his side. He was helped off the field — at least part of the way — by a couple of teammates. As he neared the dugout, he put weight on the injured leg and attempted to walk in with his teammates still at his side.

No word yet on the extent of the injury.

Tye Odom. Charlotte beat UTSA 10-5 in American Athletic Conference baseball on Friday, April 5, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Tye Odom produced a hit in four at bats but had to leave the game in the seventh inning with an injury. Odom ranks as one of the team’s best in batting average. He entered the game hitting .357 – Photo by Joe Alexander

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