Baseball: Services are set for 1969 Mets catcher Jerry Grote

Services have been set for former major league baseball player Jerry Grote, a member of the 1969 World Series champion New York Mets, according to the family’s obituary.

Visitation will take place on April 20 from 4–7 p.m. at Scanio-Harper Funeral Home, 3110 Airport Road, in Temple. A funeral service will follow the next day on April 21 at 2 p.m. at Heritage Country Church, 9677 Lark Trail, in Salado.

Burial will be on April 22 at 2 p.m. at the Grote Family Cemetery, 15940 Lookout Road., in Selma.

Grote, 81, a Belton resident, died on April 7. He grew up in San Antonio and played at MacArthur High School and Trinity University. Grote played 16 seasons in the majors and made World Series appearances in 1969 and 1973 for the Mets and 1977 and 1978 for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Texans in MLB: Westburg finds his power stroke for the Baltimore Orioles

Texans Jordan Westburg, Jordan Hicks and Chris Paddack all enjoyed big days on Wednesday in the major leagues.

Highlights

Westburg (formerly of New Braunfels High School) hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the Baltimore Orioles’ 7-5 victory over Boston at Fenway Park. It was the second home run for Westburg in his last seven games after hitting three in 68 games last year as a rookie.

The game was hyped nationally as the MLB debut for Jackson Holliday, who is considered the No. 1 prospect in the game.

For Orioles fans, it was the first time that they were able to see Holliday, Gunnar Henderson and Westburg — all drafted in the top two rounds over the past few years — in a game together. Westburg is the oldest player of the three at age 25. Henderson is 22 and Holliday 20.

An Austin native who grew up in Stillwater, Okla., Holliday went zero for four and struck out twice. But he collected his first major league RBI on an infield grounder as the Orioles rallied from a 5-0 deficit to win.

Meanwhile, right-handed pitcher Jordan Hicks (from Houston-area Cypress Creek HS) earned the win for the San Francisco Giants in a 7-1 victory over the Washington Nationals.

In a home game at San Francisco’s Oracle Park, Hicks gave up a second-inning home run to Joey Gallo but went on to blank the Nationals the rest of the way. He worked six innings and yielded one run on four hits.

Hicks, a relief pitcher in his first six seasons in the majors, including a little more than five with the St. Louis Cardinals, has pitched well as a member of the Giants’ starting rotation. He improved to 2-0 with a 1.00 earned run average over three starts.

Minnesota Twins righty Chris Paddack (an Austin native, formerly of Cedar Park HS) worked the first 4 and 2/3 innings in his team’s 3-2 road victory against the powerful Los Angeles Dodgers. Paddack has started his first full season on an active roster since he underwent ACL surgery in May of 2022.

Fans in San Antonio might remember Paddack from his days as a minor leaguer in the San Diego Padres’ farm system. The 6-foot-5 righthander notched seven starts for the San Antonio Missions in 2018.

Texans in MLB

Tyler Alexander/LHP/Tampa Bay Rays/Chicago native/Southlake Carroll HS/TCU – The 29-year-old Alexander is scheduled to pitch in the starting rotation with the Rays after working mostly out of the bullpen last year with the Detroit Tigers.

Chase Anderson/RHP/Boston Red Sox/Wichita Falls Rider/North Central Texas College/Oklahoma – The 36-year-old is entering his 11th year in the major leagues and his first season with the Red Sox. In his career, he is 59-56 with a 4.34 ERA.

Grant Anderson/RHP/Texas Rangers/Port Arthur native/West-Orange Stark HS/McNeese State — The high-kicking, side-winding righty is starting his second season in the majors with the Rangers. He’s scheduled to pitch out of the bullpen. His brother, Aidan, is in the Rangers’ farm system.

Brett Baty/3B/New York Mets/Round Rock native/Lake Travis HS — Baty enters his third season with the Mets. After they drafted him with the 12th overall pick in the 2019 draft, he toiled in the minors until a 2022 call up. Has hit .210 in 119 major league games with the Mets.

Josh Bell/1B/Miami Marlins/Dallas Jesuit HS – Bell solidified himself as the Marlins’ starting first baseman in spring camp. He’s got the run-producing credentials. He has RBI totals of 88, 71 and 74 the past three seasons, from 2021 through 2023, respectively. Bell has also played for the Pirates, the Nationals and the Padres.

Cavan Biggio/UTILITY/Toronto Blue Jays/Houston St.Thomas HS/University of Notre Dame – The son of former Houston Astros star Craig Biggio, starting his sixth season in the majors, is expected to play a utility role. Could see quite a bit of time at second base. Biggio helped lead St. Thomas to the 2011 TAPPS Class 5A state championship.

Cody Bradford/LHP/Texas Rangers/Aledo HS/Baylor — Bradford was a late-season callup for the Rangers last year. He pitched 56 innings in 20 games, including eight starts. He crafted a 4-3 record with a 5.20 earned run average. In the playoffs, he appeared in five games, all in relief, including two appearances in the World Series. Bradford had a postseason record of 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA.

Matt Carpenter/DH-1B/St. Louis Cardinals/Galveston/Missouri City Elkins HS/TCU — The 38-year-old Carpenter, a former All-Star in St. Louis, returns to the Cardinals after a few years away with the Yankees and Padres.

Colton Cowser/OF/Baltimore Orioles/Cypress/Cy Ranch HS/Sam Houston State – After playing 26 games in the big leagues late last season, Colton Cowser made the Orioles out of spring training. He was the fifth overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Sam Houston State.

Nathan Eovaldi/RHP/Texas Rangers/Houston native, attended Alvin HS. — Eovaldi is projected to play a leading role as the Rangers attempt to defend their American League and World Series titles. He is in his second season with Rangers after he spent the previous five seasons with the Boston Red Sox. Drafted in the 11th round in 2008, by the LA Dodgers, out of Alvin High School.

Kyle Finnegan/RHP/Washington Nationals/Houston-area Kingwood HS/Texas State University — Projected to pitch out of the bullpen as he starts his fifth season in MLB, all with the Nationals. In his career, he has forged a 19-18 record with a 3.53 earned run average. Played for Coach Ty Harrington at Texas State from 2011-13.

Paul Goldschmidt/1B/St. Louis Cardinals/The Woodlands HS/Texas State – An eighth-round draft pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009, Goldschmidt starts his 14th season in the majors. A former seven-time All Star, he ranks fifth among active players in hits (1,909) behind only Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman, Andrew McCutcheon and Jose Altuve. He played for Ty Harrington at Texas State from 2007-09.

Trent Grisham/OF/New York Yankees/Burleson/Richland, North Richland Hills HS — Dealt from the San Diego Padres to the Yankees in the Juan Soto trade. Grisham broke into the big leagues in 2019 with the Milwaukee Brewers. Started in the outfield the past four seasons with the Padres, winning gold gloves as a centerfielder in 2020 and 2022. Played in Triple A for the San Antonio Missions in 2019 before his call up to the majors. Hit for the cycle in his last game before getting the call to the big leagues.

Ke’Bryan Hayes/3B/Pittsburgh Pirates/Tomball Concordia Lutheran HS – Hayes starts his fifth season in the majors, all with the Pirates. Drafted by the Pirates out of high school in 2015 with 32nd pick on the first round. He’s known as a defensive specialist though he did hit a career-high 15 home runs last year. Spent some time last summer battling a sore back.

Jordan Hicks/RHP/San Francisco Giants/Houston Cypress Creek HS – Hicks gets a fresh start in his career as a starter with the Giants. Hicks has been in the big leagues as a reliever since 2018. Through 2023, he had pitched in 212 games. He was 12-21 with a 3.77 ERA. The Cardinals traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays last summer. Hicks elected free agency in the offseason, and he later signed with the Giants.

Josh Jung/INF/Texas Rangers/San Antonio MacArthur HS/Texas Tech — Last year, as a rookie in his first full season in the major leagues, Josh Jung made the American League All-Star team, hit 23 home runs and produced 70 RBIs. He also overcame an injury late in the season to help the Rangers win their first World Series title. He’s expected to start at third base tonight against the Cubs after sitting out much of the spring with a leg injury. Played for coach Tom Alfieri at MacArthur and for Tim Tadlock at Texas Tech.

John King/LHP/St. Louis Cardinals/Sugar Land Clements HS/University of Houston – King, a native of Laredo who grew up in the Houston area, has pitched parts of the last four seasons in the majors. He’s 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 107 appearances, all out of the bullpen. The Rangers traded him to the Cardinals last summer in the Jordan Montgomery deal. King opened the 2024 season in Triple-A at Memphis but was recalled to the big league club on March 31.

Shea Langeliers/C/Portland, Ore., native/Keller HS/Baylor University — The sturdy rookie catcher proved he was up to the task, working in 135 games last season in his first full year in the majors. He hit .205 with 22 homers and 63 RBIs. Langeliers played for Rob Stramp at Keller HS and for Steve Rodriguez at Baylor. He was the ninth pick in the 2019 draft, out of Baylor, by the Braves.

Nick Loftin/UTILITY/Kansas City Royals/Corpus Christi Ray HS/Baylor University — Loftin made the opening day roster based on his play with the Royals last September, when he hit .323 in 19 games, and then his strong showing in spring training. The Royals selected him 32nd overall in the 2020 draft out of Baylor.

James McArthur/RHP/Kansas City Royals/New Braunfels High School/University of Mississippi — The 6-foot-7 righthander was traded from the Phillies to the Royals last summer. He has made the best of it, earning four saves in 18 relief appearances last season. Now, he’s earned a spot on the Royals’ opening-day roster.

Bryce Miller/RHP/Seattle Mariners/New Braunfels HS/Texas A&M — In a surprise move that ended up pleasing everyone in the Great Northwest last year, the Mariners moved Miller up from Double-A to the major leagues in early May and watched in wonderment as he went 8-7 with a 4.32 ERA. He pitched 131.1 innings in 25 starts.

Shelby Miller/RHP/Detroit Tigers/Round Rock native/Brownwood HS – The 33-year-old Miller starts his 13th season in the major leagues in Detroit. Miller is pitching out of the Tigers’ bullpen. Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009 out of Brownwood High School, he has pitched in the majors for the Cardinals, Braves, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Cubs, Giants, Pirates and Dodgers. Miller, who had five starts in the minors with the San Antonio Missions in 2019, is 42-48 with a 4.06 ERA lifetime in the big leagues.

Hoby Milner/LHP/Milwaukee Brewers/Dallas/Fort Worth Paschal HS/University of Texas – The 33-year-old Milner could see a more prominent role in the Brewers’ bullpen with an injury to ace reliever Devin Williams. Milner was drafted in the seventh round out of UT in 2012 by the Phillies.

A.J. Minter/LHP/Atlanta Braves/Tyler/Brook Hill School in Bullard/Texas A&M – Minter is expected to help anchor the Braves’ bullpen once again. He’s pitched seven previous seasons, all with the Braves, and has posted 35 saves and 105 holds. His record is 19-25, and his ERA is 3.35. Minter played for Coach Terry Pirtle at the Brook Hill School in East Texas and for Rob Childress-coached teams at Texas A&M from 2013-15.

Max Muncy/INF/Los Angeles Dodgers/Midland native/Keller HS/Baylor University — The 32-year-old Muncy is expected to start at third base for the Dodgers, considered one of the favorites to win the National League pennant and World Series. Coming off a 35-homer, 105-RBI year, Muncy is in his ninth season in the majors. In 2012, he was drafted on the fifth round by the Oakland A’s, a few weeks after he led 49-win Baylor to an NCAA Super Regional.

Chris Paddack/RHP/Minnesota Twins/Austin native/Cedar Park HS — Paddack will enter his sixth season in the majors and his third with the Twins as a starter. Sidelined in May of 2022 with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery, he returned and pitched at the end of last season and in the playoffs. Paddack was drafted out of high school in 2015 by the Marlins. Later traded to the Padres, he pitched in 2018 with the Double-A Missions in San Antonio.

Colin Poche/LHP/Tampa Bay Rays/Flower Mound/Flower Mound Marcus HS/ University of Arkansas/Dallas Baptist — The 30-year-old lefty will start his fourth season in the majors pitching out of the Rays’ bullpen. Poche was an eye-opening 12-3 with a 2.23 earned run average last year.

Ryan Pressly/RHP/Houston Astros/Flower Mound Marcus – Even with the Astros’ addition of Josh Hader as closer, the 35-year-old Pressley will be counted on heavily in high-leverage situations late in games. He’s pitched in 564 games in his career and another 46 in the playoffs during the Astros’ run of success. In high school, Pressly attended American Heritage Academy for three years and was an 11th-round pick of the Red Sox out of Marcus HS in 2011.

Brooks Raley/LHP/New York Mets/San Antonio native/Uvalde HS/Texas A&M — The 35-year-old Raley has enjoyed a long and winding career in professional baseball, getting drafted in 2009, breaking into the major leagues in 2012, playing in Korea from 2015-19, and then hitting his stride in the big leagues from 2020 to the present. Last year, he pitched in 66 games for the Mets out of the bullpen and posted a 2.80 earned run average. This will be his second season in New York.

Anthony Rendon/INF/Los Angeles Angels/Houston Lamar HS/Rice University – The 33-year-old Rendon starts his fifth season with the Angels. He came to the team in 2020 on a $245 million long-term contract. Plagued by injuries, he’s had trouble living up to expectations. Rendon hasn’t played more than 58 games in any season since he joined the team. A power-hitting third baseman, he slugged a total of 103 home runs in a four-year stretch from 2016-19 with the Washington Nationals. He was the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Nationals out of Rice.

Grayson Rodriguez/RHP/Baltimore Orioles/Nacogdoches Central Heights HS – Rodriguez (7-4, 4.35) more than held his own as a rookie for the AL East Division champions. He should settle in nicely as the No. 2 starter behind recently-acquired Corbin Burnes.

Burch Smith/RHP/Miami Marlins/San Antonio native/Tyler Lee HS/University of Oklahoma – The 33-year-old Smith returns to the majors after spending the past two seasons playing overseas in Japan and Korea. In 2019, Smith pitched as a starter in Triple-A with the San Antonio Missions. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2021.

Drew Smith/RHP/New York Mets/Fort Worth/Crowley HS/Dallas Baptist – The 30-year-old righthander is 11-12 with a 3.53 earned run average over five seasons, all with the Mets. Reached the big leagues in 2018, and sat out all of 2019 after elbow surgery. Last summer, his earned run average ticked up a bit to 4.15, but he remained as a fixture in the pen with 62 appearances.

Trevor Story/INF/Red Sox/Irving HS – The 31-year-old Story is looking for a re-set on his career going into his third year in Boston. Last year, he sat out 112 games with an elbow injury. He returned to play 43 games in August and September and hit only .203. The Sox hope he can regain some of the form he had with the Colorado Rockies, where he enjoyed a couple of 30-plus homer and 20-plus steal seasons. Story was the 45th pick in the 2011 draft out of Irving High School.

Ross Stripling/RHP/Oakland A’s/Pennsylvania native/Southlake Carroll HS/Texas A&M – The San Francisco Giants shipped the 34-year-old Stripling to the struggling A’s in February. With the A’s, he’ll bring veteran savvy to the clubhouse. He’s 38-43 with a 3.96 earned run average in his career. In high school, Stripling played for Larry Hughes at Southlake Carroll. In college, he pitched the Rob Childress-coached Aggies to three NCAA tournaments, including the 2011 College World Series.

Jose Trevino/C/NY Yankees/Corpus Christi St. John Paul II/Oral Roberts – Will enter his third year with the Yankees and his sixth in major league baseball. Trevino is coming off an injury-marred season in which he was lost to the team in July with a torn ligament in his right wrist. Trevino, formerly of the Texas Rangers, made the All-Star team and won a Gold Glove in 2022.

Will Vest/RHP/Detroit Tigers/Houston-area Fort Bend Ridge Point HS/Stephen F. Austin University – Will Vest opens his fourth season in the majors and his third with the Tigers as a middle innings reliever.

Michael Wacha/RHP/Kansas City Royals/Iowa City native, Texarkana Pleasant Grove HS, Texas A&M University – Wacha signed last December as a free agent with the Royals. Clated to be the fourth starter in the Royals’ rotation, Wacha has fashioned a 88-54 record in 11 previous seasons in the majors. He was an All-American at Texas A&M in 2010 and 2011.

Jordan Westburg/INF/Baltimore Orioles/New Braunfels HS/Mississippi State – Westburg, in his first season in the majors, hit .260 and played all over the infield in 68 games last year. He’ll be asked to play a similar role this season.

Bobby Witt Jr./INF/Kansas City Royals/Fort Worth-area Colleyville Heritage HS — Witt enters his third season in the majors with a new contract, which reportedly covers 14 years, including 11 of it guaranteed for $288 million. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft blossomed last season, hitting 30 home runs and stealing 49 bases. He is the son of former Rangers pitcher Bobby Witt.

Connor Wong/C/Boston Red Sox/Pearland HS/University of Houston — The 27-year-old Wong became a starter last year and played in 126 games. He’ll have the job again because of his defensive prowess, particularly his throwing arm and his ability to manage games. The Sox are hoping he can improve on a .235 average, 9 HR and 36 RBIs.

Softball: No. 24 Baylor edges UTSA, 2-1

UTSA starting pitcher Jamie Gilbert. Baylor beat UTSA 2-1 in non-conference softball on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA starting pitcher Jamie Gilbert went the distance on Tuesday afternoon at home against the Baylor Bears. No. 24 Baylor emerged with a 2-1 victory. – Photo by Joe Alexander

With some UTSA fans donning “Beat the Bears” T-shirts Tuesday afternoon, the stage was set for a showdown at Roadrunner Field.

The 24th-ranked Bears fell behind early but scored one run in the fifth inning and another in the seventh to down the Roadrunners. Ashlyn Wachtendorf came up big for Baylor with RBI singles in both innings.

Working hard on a 110-pitch performance, Jamie Gilbert starred for UTSA. The senior from La Vernia allowed only five hits and one earned run. Jaylen Prichard went three for four at the plate for the Roadrunners.

Prichard, a junior from Liberty, Tex., helped UTSA score its only run of the game in the bottom of the third.

With one on and one out, she singled to left to put runners at first and second. Taylor Jensen then reached on an error, allowing Madi Hays to score from second base.

Records

Baylor 22-14
UTSA 12-30

Coming up

Charlotte will play at UTSA in an American Athletic Conference series, Friday at 6 p.m. and then Saturday and Sunday, both at 1 p.m.

UTSA right fielder Caton Letbetter. Baylor beat UTSA 2-1 in non-conference softball on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA right fielder Caton Letbetter tracks down a fly ball against the Baylor Bears. – Photo by Joe Alexander .

Baseball: No. 3 Texas A&M walks it off with a solo homer in the ninth to down UTSA, 6-5

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Jackson Appel smashed his third home run of the game with one out in the bottom of the ninth Tuesday night, lifting the third-ranked Texas A&M Aggies to a 6-5 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners.

All three of his homers were hit to the opposite field.

“Wind must have been howling out to left (field) tonight,” joked Appel, as he talked in the postgame on the Texas A&M radio broadcast.

The Aggies struggled for much of the night defensively, making four errors, including two in UTSA’s four-run second inning. The pitching also faltered with three walks and three other batters hit by pitch.

But Appel, a senior catcher from Houston Memorial, helped make up for it with a solo home run in the third, a two-run shot in the fifth and another solo blast in the ninth. The Aggies bullpen also got tough at the end, with Christopher Cortez pitching the last four innings, all scoreless, while striking out seven.

Early on, the Roadrunners stunned the Aggies by putting up four runs in the second inning.

Isaac Morton opened the inning by walking UTSA’s Broc Parmer and James Taussig. With two aboard, UTSA’s Lorenzo Morresi bunted. Morton fielded it and threw wildly for an error that allowed one run to score.

The good fortune for UTSA continued when Hector Rodriguez stroked an infield single. A throwing error by A&M second baseman Travis Chestnut allowed two more runs to cross the plate.

At that point, the Aggies brought in Zane Badmaev to pitch, and he retired Zane Spinn on a swinging third strike. A&M continued its uneven play when Badmaev hit Caleb Hill with a pitch, putting runners at first and second.

One out later, Alex Olivo’s RBI single scored Rodriguez, making it a 4-0 ballgame.

Records

UTSA 19-14
Texas A&M 29-4

Coming up

UTSA is set to play a three-game American Athletic Conference series at Memphis. Friday at 6 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m.

Austin Claunch delivers a strike in his first pitch at UTSA

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

On his first pitch at UTSA, new men’s basketball Austin Claunch threw a strike.

It came on a hot and muggy Tuesday afternoon in a ceremonial sequence just before the Baylor Bears played the Roadrunners in softball. The 34-year-old Claunch toed the circle and threw under-handed, just as they do in the women’s fast pitch game. His left-handed offering was true, and it appeared to be in the zone on the inside corner.

New UTSA men's basketball coach Austin Claunch was at the Roadrunners softball game on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, at Roadrunner Field to throw out the first pitch. - Photo by Joe Alexander

New UTSA men’s basketball coach Austin Claunch completed his duties as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama on Saturday when the Crimson Tide lost in the Final Four to the eventual champion Connecticut Huskies. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Claunch, who grew up in Houston, is in town fresh off a trip to the NCAA Final Four.

He worked for the past season as an assistant coach in the resurgent basketball program at the University of Alabama. The Crimson Tide, under head coach Nate Oats, marched all the way to the Final Four in Glendale, Ariz., where they lost in the NCAA semifinals Saturday to the UConn Huskies.

The Huskies beat the Tide 86-72 and then polished off the Purdue Boilermakers in Monday night’s NCAA title game.

At the end of UTSA’s season in March, the university elected not to renew Steve Henson’s contract, setting the stage for a new head coach to come in and take charge.

Four days after the Roadrunners were eliminated in the first round of the American Athletic Conference tournament, the university announced on March 17 that it had hired Claunch.

As one of the youngest Division I coaches in the nation, Claunch led the Nicholls State (La.) Colonels to 90 victories in five seasons and a couple of Southland Conference regular-season titles.

Claunch is expected to meet the media Thursday afternoon.

New UTSA men's basketball coach Austin Claunch was at the Roadrunners softball game on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, at Roadrunner Field to throw out the first pitch. - Photo by Joe Alexander

New UTSA men’s basketball coach Austin Claunch showed his stuff Tuesday afternoon by throwing out the first pitch. And, yes, he is a lefthander. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Former Longhorns David Hamilton, Blair Henley reach the major leagues

Two additional players with roots in Texas have reached the major leagues in the past few days, including shortstop David Hamilton and pitcher Blair Henley, both from the University of Texas Longhorns.

Hamilton, who played at San Marcos High School, homered Sunday in his first game of the season with the Boston Red Sox. He had made his MLB debut with the Red Sox last season but had started this spring at Triple A Worcester.

The Red Sox called him up when Trevor Story, formerly of Irving High School, suffered a shoulder injury last Friday.

Henley played in high school at Fort Worth Arlington Heights. He played at UT for the Longhorns from 2017-19. The right-handed pitcher was selected by the Houston Astros in the seventh round of the 2019 draft.

Henley pitched in the Double A Texas League for the Corpus Christi Hooks last season and went 3-6 with a 5.06 ERA. He struck out 106 in 106 and 2/3 innings.

This season, he pitched one game for the Triple A Sugar Land Space Cowboys. He was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA before getting called up to start on Monday night in Arlington against the Texas Rangers.

Since opening day, two prominent Texans in the majors have been moved off the active roster and onto the injured list, including Josh Jung (San Antonio MacArthur/Texas Tech/Texas Rangers) and Trevor Story (Irving/Boston Red Sox). Jung is out with a wrist fracture and Story with a shoulder.

Here is a list of players that I compiled and published a few weeks ago. It was an opening-day list of MLB athletes, in alphabetical order, who either played high school or college baseball in the state.

Editor’s note: There may be a few more Texans in the majors that I have yet to identify. I promise to add them to the list when the information surfaces.

Texans in MLB

Tyler Alexander/LHP/Tampa Bay Rays/Chicago native/Southlake Carroll HS/TCU – The 29-year-old Alexander is scheduled to pitch in the starting rotation with the Rays after working mostly out of the bullpen last year with the Detroit Tigers.

Chase Anderson/RHP/Boston Red Sox/Wichita Falls Rider/North Central Texas College/Oklahoma – The 36-year-old is entering his 11th year in the major leagues and his first season with the Red Sox. In his career, he is 59-56 with a 4.34 ERA.

Grant Anderson/RHP/Texas Rangers/Port Arthur native/West-Orange Stark HS/McNeese State — The high-kicking, side-winding righty is starting his second season in the majors with the Rangers. He’s scheduled to pitch out of the bullpen. His brother, Aidan, is in the Rangers’ farm system.

Brett Baty/3B/New York Mets/Round Rock native/Lake Travis HS — Baty enters his third season with the Mets. After they drafted him with the 12th overall pick in the 2019 draft, he toiled in the minors until a 2022 call up. Has hit .210 in 119 major league games with the Mets.

Josh Bell/1B/Miami Marlins/Dallas Jesuit HS – Bell solidified himself as the Marlins’ starting first baseman in spring camp. He’s got the run-producing credentials. He has RBI totals of 88, 71 and 74 the past three seasons, from 2021 through 2023, respectively. Bell has also played for the Pirates, the Nationals and the Padres.

Cavan Biggio/UTILITY/Toronto Blue Jays/Houston St.Thomas HS/University of Notre Dame – The son of former Houston Astros star Craig Biggio, starting his sixth season in the majors, is expected to play a utility role. Could see quite a bit of time at second base. Biggio helped lead St. Thomas to the 2011 TAPPS Class 5A state championship.

Cody Bradford/LHP/Texas Rangers/Aledo HS/Baylor — Bradford was a late-season callup for the Rangers last year. He pitched 56 innings in 20 games, including eight starts. He crafted a 4-3 record with a 5.20 earned run average. In the playoffs, he appeared in five games, all in relief, including two appearances in the World Series. Bradford had a postseason record of 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA.

Matt Carpenter/DH-1B/St. Louis Cardinals/Galveston/Missouri City Elkins HS/TCU — The 38-year-old Carpenter, a former All-Star in St. Louis, returns to the Cardinals after a few years away with the Yankees and Padres.

Colton Cowser/OF/Baltimore Orioles/Cypress/Cy Ranch HS/Sam Houston State – After playing 26 games in the big leagues late last season, Colton Cowser made the Orioles out of spring training. He was the fifth overall pick in the 2021 draft out of Sam Houston State.

Nathan Eovaldi/RHP/Texas Rangers/Houston native, attended Alvin HS. — Eovaldi is projected to play a leading role as the Rangers attempt to defend their American League and World Series titles. He is in his second season with Rangers after he spent the previous five seasons with the Boston Red Sox. Drafted in the 11th round in 2008, by the LA Dodgers, out of Alvin High School.

Kyle Finnegan/RHP/Washington Nationals/Houston-area Kingwood HS/Texas State University — Projected to pitch out of the bullpen as he starts his fifth season in MLB, all with the Nationals. In his career, he has forged a 19-18 record with a 3.53 earned run average. Played for Coach Ty Harrington at Texas State from 2011-13.

Paul Goldschmidt/1B/St. Louis Cardinals/The Woodlands HS/Texas State – An eighth-round draft pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009, Goldschmidt starts his 14th season in the majors. A former seven-time All Star, he ranks fifth among active players in hits (1,909) behind only Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman, Andrew McCutcheon and Jose Altuve. He played for Ty Harrington at Texas State from 2007-09.

Trent Grisham/OF/New York Yankees/Burleson/Richland, North Richland Hills HS — Dealt from the San Diego Padres to the Yankees in the Juan Soto trade. Grisham broke into the big leagues in 2019 with the Milwaukee Brewers. Started in the outfield the past four seasons with the Padres, winning gold gloves as a centerfielder in 2020 and 2022. Played in Triple A for the San Antonio Missions in 2019 before his call up to the majors. Hit for the cycle in his last game before getting the call to the big leagues.

Ke’Bryan Hayes/3B/Pittsburgh Pirates/Tomball Concordia Lutheran HS – Hayes starts his fifth season in the majors, all with the Pirates. Drafted by the Pirates out of high school in 2015 with 32nd pick on the first round. He’s known as a defensive specialist though he did hit a career-high 15 home runs last year. Spent some time last summer battling a sore back.

Jordan Hicks/RHP/San Francisco Giants/Houston Cypress Creek HS – Hicks gets a fresh start in his career as a starter with the Giants. Hicks has been in the big leagues as a reliever since 2018. Through 2023, he had pitched in 212 games. He was 12-21 with a 3.77 ERA. The Cardinals traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays last summer. Hicks elected free agency in the offseason, and he later signed with the Giants.

Josh Jung/INF/Texas Rangers/San Antonio MacArthur HS/Texas Tech — Last year, as a rookie in his first full season in the major leagues, Josh Jung made the American League All-Star team, hit 23 home runs and produced 70 RBIs. He also overcame an injury late in the season to help the Rangers win their first World Series title. He’s expected to start at third base tonight against the Cubs after sitting out much of the spring with a leg injury. Played for coach Tom Alfieri at MacArthur and for Tim Tadlock at Texas Tech.

John King/LHP/St. Louis Cardinals/Sugar Land Clements HS/University of Houston – King, a native of Laredo who grew up in the Houston area, has pitched parts of the last four seasons in the majors. He’s 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 107 appearances, all out of the bullpen. The Rangers traded him to the Cardinals last summer in the Jordan Montgomery deal. King opened the 2024 season in Triple-A at Memphis but was recalled to the big league club on March 31.

Shea Langeliers/C/Portland, Ore., native/Keller HS/Baylor University — The sturdy rookie catcher proved he was up to the task, working in 135 games last season in his first full year in the majors. He hit .205 with 22 homers and 63 RBIs. Langeliers played for Rob Stramp at Keller HS and for Steve Rodriguez at Baylor. He was the ninth pick in the 2019 draft, out of Baylor, by the Braves.

Nick Loftin/UTILITY/Kansas City Royals/Corpus Christi Ray HS/Baylor University — Loftin made the opening day roster based on his play with the Royals last September, when he hit .323 in 19 games, and then his strong showing in spring training. The Royals selected him 32nd overall in the 2020 draft out of Baylor.

James McArthur/RHP/Kansas City Royals/New Braunfels High School/University of Mississippi — The 6-foot-7 righthander was traded from the Phillies to the Royals last summer. He has made the best of it, earning four saves in 18 relief appearances last season. Now, he’s earned a spot on the Royals’ opening-day roster.

Bryce Miller/RHP/Seattle Mariners/New Braunfels HS/Texas A&M — In a surprise move that ended up pleasing everyone in the Great Northwest last year, the Mariners moved Miller up from Double-A to the major leagues in early May and watched in wonderment as he went 8-7 with a 4.32 ERA. He pitched 131.1 innings in 25 starts.

Shelby Miller/RHP/Detroit Tigers/Round Rock native/Brownwood HS – The 33-year-old Miller starts his 13th season in the major leagues in Detroit. Miller is pitching out of the Tigers’ bullpen. Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2009 out of Brownwood High School, he has pitched in the majors for the Cardinals, Braves, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Cubs, Giants, Pirates and Dodgers. Miller, who had five starts in the minors with the San Antonio Missions in 2019, is 42-48 with a 4.06 ERA lifetime in the big leagues.

Hoby Milner/LHP/Milwaukee Brewers/Dallas/Fort Worth Paschal HS/University of Texas – The 33-year-old Milner could see a more prominent role in the Brewers’ bullpen with an injury to ace reliever Devin Williams. Milner was drafted in the seventh round out of UT in 2012 by the Phillies.

A.J. Minter/LHP/Atlanta Braves/Tyler/Brook Hill School in Bullard/Texas A&M – Minter is expected to help anchor the Braves’ bullpen once again. He’s pitched seven previous seasons, all with the Braves, and has posted 35 saves and 105 holds. His record is 19-25, and his ERA is 3.35. Minter played for Coach Terry Pirtle at the Brook Hill School in East Texas and for Rob Childress-coached teams at Texas A&M from 2013-15.

Max Muncy/INF/Los Angeles Dodgers/Midland native/Keller HS/Baylor University — The 32-year-old Muncy is expected to start at third base for the Dodgers, considered one of the favorites to win the National League pennant and World Series. Coming off a 35-homer, 105-RBI year, Muncy is in his ninth season in the majors. In 2012, he was drafted on the fifth round by the Oakland A’s, a few weeks after he led 49-win Baylor to an NCAA Super Regional.

Chris Paddack/RHP/Minnesota Twins/Austin native/Cedar Park HS — Paddack will enter his sixth season in the majors and his third with the Twins as a starter. Sidelined in May of 2022 with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery, he returned and pitched at the end of last season and in the playoffs. Paddack was drafted out of high school in 2015 by the Marlins. Later traded to the Padres, he pitched in 2018 with the Double-A Missions in San Antonio.

Colin Poche/LHP/Tampa Bay Rays/Flower Mound/Flower Mound Marcus HS/ University of Arkansas/Dallas Baptist — The 30-year-old lefty will start his fourth season in the majors pitching out of the Rays’ bullpen. Poche was an eye-opening 12-3 with a 2.23 earned run average last year.

Ryan Pressly/RHP/Houston Astros/Flower Mound Marcus – Even with the Astros’ addition of Josh Hader as closer, the 35-year-old Pressley will be counted on heavily in high-leverage situations late in games. He’s pitched in 564 games in his career and another 46 in the playoffs during the Astros’ run of success. In high school, Pressly attended American Heritage Academy for three years and was an 11th-round pick of the Red Sox out of Marcus HS in 2011.

Brooks Raley/LHP/New York Mets/San Antonio native/Uvalde HS/Texas A&M — The 35-year-old Raley has enjoyed a long and winding career in professional baseball, getting drafted in 2009, breaking into the major leagues in 2012, playing in Korea from 2015-19, and then hitting his stride in the big leagues from 2020 to the present. Last year, he pitched in 66 games for the Mets out of the bullpen and posted a 2.80 earned run average. This will be his second season in New York.

Anthony Rendon/INF/Los Angeles Angels/Houston Lamar HS/Rice University – The 33-year-old Rendon starts his fifth season with the Angels. He came to the team in 2020 on a $245 million long-term contract. Plagued by injuries, he’s had trouble living up to expectations. Rendon hasn’t played more than 58 games in any season since he joined the team. A power-hitting third baseman, he slugged a total of 103 home runs in a four-year stretch from 2016-19 with the Washington Nationals. He was the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Nationals out of Rice.

Grayson Rodriguez/RHP/Baltimore Orioles/Nacogdoches Central Heights HS – Rodriguez (7-4, 4.35) more than held his own as a rookie for the AL East Division champions. He should settle in nicely as the No. 2 starter behind recently-acquired Corbin Burnes.

Burch Smith/RHP/Miami Marlins/San Antonio native/Tyler Lee HS/University of Oklahoma – The 33-year-old Smith returns to the majors after spending the past two seasons playing overseas in Japan and Korea. In 2019, Smith pitched as a starter in Triple-A with the San Antonio Missions. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2021.

Drew Smith/RHP/New York Mets/Fort Worth/Crowley HS/Dallas Baptist – The 30-year-old righthander is 11-12 with a 3.53 earned run average over five seasons, all with the Mets. Reached the big leagues in 2018, and sat out all of 2019 after elbow surgery. Last summer, his earned run average ticked up a bit to 4.15, but he remained as a fixture in the pen with 62 appearances.

Trevor Story/INF/Red Sox/Irving HS – The 31-year-old Story is looking for a re-set on his career going into his third year in Boston. Last year, he sat out 112 games with an elbow injury. He returned to play 43 games in August and September and hit only .203. The Sox hope he can regain some of the form he had with the Colorado Rockies, where he enjoyed a couple of 30-plus homer and 20-plus steal seasons. Story was the 45th pick in the 2011 draft out of Irving High School.

Ross Stripling/RHP/Oakland A’s/Pennsylvania native/Southlake Carroll HS/Texas A&M – The San Francisco Giants shipped the 34-year-old Stripling to the struggling A’s in February. With the A’s, he’ll bring veteran savvy to the clubhouse. He’s 38-43 with a 3.96 earned run average in his career. In high school, Stripling played for Larry Hughes at Southlake Carroll. In college, he pitched the Rob Childress-coached Aggies to three NCAA tournaments, including the 2011 College World Series.

Jose Trevino/C/NY Yankees/Corpus Christi St. John Paul II/Oral Roberts – Will enter his third year with the Yankees and his sixth in major league baseball. Trevino is coming off an injury-marred season in which he was lost to the team in July with a torn ligament in his right wrist. Trevino, formerly of the Texas Rangers, made the All-Star team and won a Gold Glove in 2022.

Will Vest/RHP/Detroit Tigers/Houston-area Fort Bend Ridge Point HS/Stephen F. Austin University – Will Vest opens his fourth season in the majors and his third with the Tigers as a middle innings reliever.

Michael Wacha/RHP/Kansas City Royals/Iowa City native, Texarkana Pleasant Grove HS, Texas A&M University – Wacha signed last December as a free agent with the Royals. Clated to be the fourth starter in the Royals’ rotation, Wacha has fashioned a 88-54 record in 11 previous seasons in the majors. He was an All-American at Texas A&M in 2010 and 2011.

Jordan Westburg/INF/Baltimore Orioles/New Braunfels HS/Mississippi State – Westburg, in his first season in the majors, hit .260 and played all over the infield in 68 games last year. He’ll be asked to play a similar role this season.

Bobby Witt Jr./INF/Kansas City Royals/Fort Worth-area Colleyville Heritage HS — Witt enters his third season in the majors with a new contract, which reportedly covers 14 years, including 11 of it guaranteed for $288 million. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft blossomed last season, hitting 30 home runs and stealing 49 bases. He is the son of former Rangers pitcher Bobby Witt.

Connor Wong/C/Boston Red Sox/Pearland HS/University of Houston — The 27-year-old Wong became a starter last year and played in 126 games. He’ll have the job again because of his defensive prowess, particularly his throwing arm and his ability to manage games. The Sox are hoping he can improve on a .235 average, 9 HR and 36 RBIs.

UTSA surges into the AAC lead with a third straight weekend series victory

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Ty Tilson, Caleb Hill and Lorenzo Moressi hit home runs to back the pitching of Ulises Quiroga as the UTSA Roadrunners cruised to their second run-rule victory in two days, a 13-1 decision over the Charlotte 49ers.

Next up for UTSA is a Tuesday night non-conference road game at third-ranked Texas A&M. The Roadrunners will carry some momentum into College Station, having won nine of their last 11 ball games.

Pat Hallmark. UTSA beat 10th-ranked East Carolina 4-2 in American Athletic Conference baseball on Friday, March 24, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Pat Hallmark’s UTSA Roadrunners have won nine of their last 11 games leading into Tuesday night’s matchup at third-ranked Texas A&M. – File photo by Joe Alexander

Included in their run of success are American Athletic Conference series victories over the East Carolina Pirates, the Tulane Green Wave and the 49ers.

UTSA, leading the AAC standings by one game after three weekends, won two of three against nationally-ranked East Carolina, swept three on the road at Tulane and took two of three from Charlotte.

The Roadrunners played both the Pirates and the 49ers at home and asserted themselves against programs picked in the AAC preseason poll to finish first and second, respectively, in the recently reconfigured conference.

Charlotte won the series opener on Friday night, claiming a 10-5 decision. UTSA bounced back to win 14-4 on Saturday afternoon. Both Saturday and Sunday’s games were halted in the seventh inning with the Roadrunners leading by 10 runs or more.

Tilson ignited UTSA in the series finale when he entered the game as a pinch hitter with two out and two on base in the bottom of the fourth. He promptly drilled a three-run homer off 49ers relief ace AJ Wilson as the Roadrunners took a 5-1 lead.

Hill and Moressi both slammed homers in the sixth inning. Hill went to the opposite field, slicing a ball to left. Moressi drilled a ball to right center for UTSA’s second three-run shot of the game.

Meanwhile, Quiroga (3-0) earned the pitching victory by working six innings. He allowed one run on three hits and walked three. Quiroga was good with his command when he needed it and struck out a season-high seven.

Records

Charlotte 14-18, 4-5
UTSA 19-13, 7-2

Coming up

UTSA at Texas A&M, Tuesday, 6 p.m.

Notable

Mason Lytle’s 17-game hitting streak came to an end in the series finale against Charlotte. The junior from Pearland High School went 0 for 4 on the day. Lytle had hit safely in every game he had played since March 9. In those 17 games, he had 39 hits in 80 at bats for a .488 average. In addition, Lytle had posted multiple hits in 14 straight games. In that streak, he was 36 of 54 for a .562 average.

Lorenzo Moressi clubs a three-run homer in a five-run sixth inning for UTSA.
-Video from UTSA athletics on X, formerly Twitter

UTSA evens series with an emphatic 14-4, run-rule victory over Charlotte

Hector Rodriguez strokes a two-out, two-run double in the third inning, lifting UTSA into a 4-4 tie with the Charlotte 49ers. Rodriguez went four-for-four on the day and produced three RBIs. – Video by Jerry Briggs

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

As Saturday morning dawned at Roadrunner Field, an air of tension filled the dressing area as UTSA players started to arrive for Game 2 of a three-game series against the Charlotte 49ers. They couldn’t shake the feeling that came with a dispiriting five-run loss on Friday night.

“We were not too happy this morning,” UTSA third baseman Hector Rodriguez said.

Motivated to make amends, the Roadrunners rolled behind Rodriguez and pitcher Ruger Riojas to a 14-4, run-rule victory. Rodriguez led the way offensively with four of UTSA’s 16 hits. Meanwhile, Riojas pitched four scoreless innings of relief to earn the victory.

“We knew that we just had to come out and play our game, and I feel like that’s what we did,” Rodriguez said.

Records

Charlotte 14-17, 4-4
UTSA 18-13, 6-2

Coming up

Charlotte at UTSA, an American Athletic Conference series finale, Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
(Game time moved up 30 minutes to accommodate Charlotte’s travel).
Series is tied at one win apiece.

Notable

UTSA’s 10-5 setback to Charlotte on Friday night was costly in more ways than one.

Not only did it sting for the Roadrunners to give up eight unanswered runs to the visitors in one stretch of the game, but they also lost standout sophomore outfielder Tye Odom with an ankle injury. It’s uncertain how much time that Odom, a .342 hitter with power, will miss.

“I don’t know yet,” UTSA coach Pat Hallmark said. “They’ve taken two X-rays and there’s no fracture. That’s the only thing I’ve been told in terms of time frame. I’ve been told it’s high ankle sprain. No time frame yet.”

On Friday, the 49ers pitched the Roadrunners effectively. UTSA trailed 8-2 at one point and again at 10-4. An offense that leads the American just didn’t look very potent against 49ers lefthanders Cole Reynolds and AJ Wilson.

By Saturday afternoon, the Roadrunners shook off the poor performance and hammered away, with all but one position player picking up at least one hit. From the third through the sixth innings, they scored two, three, three and three runs, respectively.

Rodriguez went four for four and produced three RBIs, none bigger than the two he plated in the third inning with a double to the wall in center.

Mason Lytle extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a three-for-three showing, which included a first-inning solo homer. Both Matt King and Caleb Hill contributed two hits apiece, and King scored three runs.

“I thought we persisted very well with the bat,” Hallmark said. “The whole game, we persisted, which means that we didn’t have many lulls. You know, baseball’s a long game. It can be boring at times, and guys can just get in lulls and give at bats away, or slip up here and there, and I just thought we kept persisting. It paid off.”

The Roadrunners were scuffling a bit in the early going, giving up solo home runs to Johnny Sutryk in the second inning and to Juan Correa in the third. Correa’s 10th homer of the season lifted the 49ers into a 4-2 lead against UTSA starter Zach Royse.

In the bottom of the third, hard-throwing 49ers reliever Ryan Degges was one out away from blanking the Roadrunners when Rodriguez blasted a ball to the wall, scoring Alex Olivo from third and Broc Parmer from second.

“Hector’s been playing good ball,” Hallmark said. “He got a big hit in the Saturday game at Tulane (last weekend). It was tight. I think we were up by two and he got a big two-out double to give us a four-run lead, and it kind of broke their spirit a little bit. So, Hector’s been playing some good ball.”

Riojas, once again, showed dominant stuff in keeping the 49ers off the scoreboard for four innings. He allowed only two hits and gave up just two walks. He struck out four, including three in one eye-opening sequence.

With the Roadrunners protecting a 7-4 lead, Riojas (6-0) worked his magic in the top of the fifth. A walk and a single put runners at first and third with nobody out. In response, the sophomore righthander from Wimberley promptly struck out Correa, Reid Haire and Carson Bayne to shut down the visitors.

“He’s good,” Hallmark said. “He’s got talent. But he’s also got that competitive mindset that we like around here. We use the phrase, Junkyard Dog … He likes competition … He likes competing against other people that are good. You know, that phrase, iron sharpens iron.

“That’s what you need. On teams, you need a lot of those people. Matt King is like that. We got several people like that.”

A burgeoning streak

UTSA newcomer Mason Lytle has hit safely in 17 straight games, including multi-hit efforts in his last 14.

UTSA’s Hector Rodriguez completes a four-hit afternoon and secures a 14-4, run-rule victory over the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday afternoon at Roadrunner Field. – Video by Jerry Briggs

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.”

Records

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

Coming up

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

Notable

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

Jenkins, Coleman return to UTSA women’s basketball for 2024-25

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Forwards Jordyn Jenkins and Elyssa Coleman will return to play for a resurgent UTSA women’s basketball team next season, coach Karen Aston said.

Both players opted into the extra year of eligibility granted to college athletes whose careers were affected by the Covid pandemic, which wiped out the 2019-20 NCAA postseason in both men’s and women’s basketball.

“I’m so excited that these two young women have the desire and commitment to stay at UTSA and help to continue to move the needle,” Aston said in a UTSA news release.

Jenkins averaged 17.1 points and 6.9 rebounds in 12 games after returning from a 10-month knee injury rehabilitation. She also shot 47.9 percent from the field.

Jenkins played two seasons at Southern Cal before transferring. The 6-footer from Kent, Wash., became an all-Pac 12 player at USC as a sophomore in 2021-22. In 22-’23, she averaged 20.6 points in her first year with the Roadrunners and was named Conference USA Player of the Year.

Coleman spent one season at the University of Texas in ’20-21 but did not play because of an injury. Opting to leave the Longhorns, the 6-foot-3 post from the Houston area has been a fixture with the Roadrunners for the past three seasons.

Last season, she averaged 10.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and had 45 blocked shots in 32 games.

UTSA women’s basketball has enjoyed a renaissance over the past three seasons. In the year before Aston’s arrival, the Roadrunners finished 2-18 and 0-14 in Conference USA. With Aston at the helm, the team improved to finish 7-23, 13-19 and 18-15 over the next three seasons.

Last season, the Roadrunners ended a drought of eight years with losing records. After securing the No. 4 seed in the American Athletic Conference postseason tournament, they won a game and then lost in the semifinals.

But with the winning record, they reached the national postseason for the first time since 2009 by accepting a berth in the WNIT. When they defeated Northern Colorado in the WNIT first round, it was the first postseason victory in program history.

UTSA bowed out in the WNIT’s second round with a loss at Wyoming.