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).

Roadrunners power past Owls 11-6 to complete a series sweep

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

If you’re looking for the most important storyline for UTSA in its sweep of the Rice Owls this weekend at Roadrunner Field, it would have to center on championship-caliber resilience and inner toughness. In winning three straight, the team had to come from behind each day.

On Friday, the Roadrunners erased deficits of four and three runs.

Saturday, on a day prolonged by a two-hour weather delay, they were down five runs twice early and came back to win again. Finally, in the finale on Sunday, they took a big early lead themselves, lost it momentarily, and then rumbled to score six runs in the sixth en route to an 11-6 victory.

Senior Leyton Barry capped the big inning with his eighth homer of the season and the first grand slam of his career.

As a result, the Roadrunners registered their fifth series sweep of the season, claimed their 36th victory — three shy of the school record — and seized significant momentum leading into next weekend’s Conference USA showdown against the Dallas Baptist Patriots.

“It feels great,” Barry said. “Any time you can get a sweep, it feels fantastic. Especially this weekend, because we came back in all three games. Especially the first two, when we were down by multiple runs. So to come back and win all those games, it feels even better than the other sweeps, just because we had to fight for these wins.”

As the weekend progressed, it was evident that power hitting would be a major factor. The Owls hit seven home runs, but the Roadrunners matched them with seven of their own. In the finale, Ben Royo and Guy Garibay Jr. powered balls out of the yard for Rice. UTSA answered with long balls by Antonio Valdez, Caleb Hill and Barry.

With UTSA trailing 6-5 going into its half of the sixth, Cristian Cienfuegos entered to pitch for Rice and Hill, one of the hottest hitters on the team, greeted him immediately with a solo homer. Matt King followed with a single and moved up 90 feet on a ground ball.

With Sammy Diaz at the plate, a key sequence unfolded. Diaz singled into right field, and when the throw came into the infield, it got away for an error. King scored easily to make it 7-6, while Diaz reached second base. The miscue seemed to rattle Cienfuegos, who promptly hit the next two batters with pitches to put three men on the bags.

At that point, Rice coaches lifted Cienfuegos, replacing him with Matt Linskey. But on the tall righthander’s first offering, Barry met it solidly and pulled it over the right field wall. In other words, four runs on one swing. As soon as he rounded the bases and met his teammates, he jumped up for the leaping arm-bump and took a seat. He was then greeted with a question.

“In the dugout, someone mentioned, ‘Hey, have you hit a grand slam before?’ Barry recalled. “I said, ‘You know, now that I think about it, I haven’t.’ So, that was pretty great.”

UTSA pitching had its ups and downs all weekend. Sunday was no different. Fischer Kingsbery started and worked two innings. He struck out three but yielded a long homer to Royo, his second of the series, which cleared the wall in center field. Uli Quiroga had a rough go of it, giving up five runs in the fourth inning, including a three-run homer by Guy Garibay, Jr.

Fortunately for the Roadrunners, Ruger Riojas (5-0) was on his game. Entering in the fifth inning, he pitched all the way into the eighth. In 3 and 1/3 scoreless innings, he gave up five hits. Two came in the eighth, which prompted UTSA to replace him with Ryan Beaird, who got out of the inning on a deep fly ball by Aaron Smigelski. Beaird finished with 1 and 1/3 innings of shutout ball, yielding only one hit.

For Beaird, it was his second strong outing of the weekend. He pitched one shutout inning Friday night and earned the victory. Though his season has been marked with some inconsistency, the Roadrunners are happy to see him throwing well going into the last two weeks of the regular season.

“It feels good,” said Beaird, a sophomore from Reagan High School. “It’s nice to know that I have eight other guys playing for me, willing to put themselves on the line to play for me. Every single one of those guys out there, they’re playing hard. It’s nice to have that when you’re on the mound.”


Rice 17-30, 7-17
UTSA 36-12, 19-4

Series glance

Friday: UTSA beats Rice, 9-7…UTSA trailed 4-0 and 7-4 and then rallied.
Saturday: UTSA beats Rice, 10-8…Trailed 5-0 and 6-1 and, after a weather delay, rallied again.
Sunday: UTSA beats Rice, 11-6…Trailed 6-5 and scored six runs in the sixth.

Coming up

Dallas Baptist at UTSA, a three-game series starting Friday at 6 p.m.

C-USA standings

Dallas Baptist 20-4, 36-12
UTSA 19-4, 36-12
Charlotte 13-10, 24-23
Louisiana Tech 13-11, 24-25
FAU 12-12, 28-20
Western Kentucky 12-12, 27-21
Middle Tennessee 12-12, 23-23
Rice 7-17, 17-30
UAB 6-18, 15-31
FIU 5-19, 18-29


UTSA center fielder Shane Sirdashney, a .361 hitter and a standout defensively, is battling a leg injury that has kept him out for most of the last three weeks. Coach Pat Hallmark is hopeful but is uncertain if he’ll have him against Dallas Baptist.

Sirdashney played a few innings in the loss to Sam Houston State last week but wasn’t on the team’s 27-man roster this weekend against Rice. For the season, Sirdashney has 53 hits and has scored 41 runs, so his loss is significant.

“He’s continuing to get treated and has seen a couple of different doctors,” Hallmark said. “It’s a hamstring injury, and hamstrings are tricky. We’re doing well without him. But he’s such a good player, it’d be silly to say we’re fine without him.”

Hallmark said his team has been dealing with a series of injuries to key players over the last three weeks.

“The injuries are worrisome,” he said. “We’ve had ’em for three weeks. Shane and Isaiah (Walker) got the leg issues and (Tye) Odom’s got the back. (Antonio) Valdez is playing hurt. So, in the back of my mind, it’s worrisome, because those are really good players. But we’ve got guys stepping up … I’m proud of the whole team. Guys are doing everything they can to win.”

UTSA comes from behind again to down Rice, 10-8

Caleb Hill celebrates with Antonio Valdez (3) after they both scored in the seventh inning. 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

Caleb Hill had three hits, including a home run, to ignite the UTSA Roadrunners Saturday in a 10-8 victory over the Rice Owls. The junior from Grandview has produced six hits in two victories over the Owls this weekend.- File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special to The JB Replay

The UTSA Roadrunners moved to within a half game of the lead in Conference USA on Saturday, rallying from a couple of five-run deficits in a weather-delayed home game to down the Rice Owls, 10-8.

After a two-hour delay, the Roadrunners returned to the field trailing 5-0 in the top of the second inning. They were also down 6-1 to the Owls before mounting their second comeback of the series.

Caleb Hill, a 6-foot-1 junior from Grandview, ignited uprisings in both the fourth and sixth innings.

He had a two-run single as the Roadrunners scored four in the fourth. Hill hit a solo homer as UTSA added three more in the sixth. After picking up a run in the seventh, the home team led, 9-6, and appeared to be cruising to an easy victory.

But with UTSA relief ace Simon Miller in the game in the eighth, the Owls struck back. He yielded a one-out double and then a two-out, two-run home run by Drew Holderbach, as Rice pulled to within one. The Owls had runners at first and third before the Roadrunners finally got out of it, leading 9-8.

In a rapid response, UTSA slugger Antonio Valdez stroked a triple to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Later, Leyton Barry brought him home with a sacrifice fly, giving the Roadrunners a two-run cushion.

Rice made things interesting again in the top of the ninth against Miller. A two-out single by Manny Garza, the Owls’ second hit of the inning, put runners at first and second base with Pierce Gallo coming up.

Miller didn’t give in, catching Gallo with a called third strike on a breaking pitch to clinch UTSA’s 35th win of the season and their 11th weekend series victory. UTSA won the opener on Friday night, 9-7, after trailing 4-0 in the second inning.

On Saturday afternoon in Dallas, the Roadrunners received a gift. The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders rolled to a 16-8 road victory against the C-USA’s first-place Dallas Baptist Patriots. After UTSA completed its victory over Rice, the Patriots led the C-USA at 19-4, with the Roadrunners at 18-4.

Both Dallas Baptist and UTSA close out their respective series at home on Sunday afternoon. Next week, the Patriots will play three games against the Roadrunners in San Antonio in a series with conference title implications.

From May 18-20, Dallas Baptist will close its regular-season schedule with three home games against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, while UTSA will finish its schedule with three on the road against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.


Rice 17-29, 7-16
UTSA 35-12, 18-4

Coming up

Series finale, Rice at UTSA, Sunday, 1 p.m.

C-USA leaders

Dallas Baptist 19-4, 35-12
UTSA 18-4, 35-12
Louisiana Tech 13-10, 24-24
Charlotte 12-10, 23-23
FAU 12-11, 28-19
Middle Tennessee 12-11, 23-22
Western Kentucky 11-12, 26-21
Rice 7-16, 17-29
FIU 5-18, 18-29
UAB 5-18, 14-31


Caleb Hill is having a monster series against Rice with two three-hit games. He was three for five on Friday and three for four on Saturday. On Friday, he had a double and a triple. On Saturday, Hill added a home run. Going back a few weeks, he is on an eight-game hitting streak. During the streak, he is 16 for 31 for a .516 average.

UTSA’s single-season record of 39 victories is within reach. With eight games remaining, seven of them in conference — all before the conference tournament — the Roadrunners need four wins to tie and five to break the record. UTSA won 39 in both 1994 and 2008.

UTSA rallies with four runs in the ninth to stun UAB, 6-5

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

UTSA slugger Antonio Valdez drilled a three-run homer to highlight a four-run uprising in the top of the ninth inning, and then relief ace Simon Miller closed the door in the bottom half Saturday afternoon as the 25th-ranked Roadrunners downed the UAB Blazers, 6-5, in Birmingham.

With the victory, UTSA evened the three-game Conference USA series at one victory apiece. The finale is set for Sunday at noon.

UTSA’s Leyton Barry led off the game with a solo homer. It was his second homer in two days in Birmingham. Later in the inning, Josh Killeen ripped a run-scoring single, lifting the Roadrunners into an early 2-0 lead.

In response, UAB rallied for three runs in the bottom of the second, before adding single runs in the fourth and the fifth innings for a 5-2 lead. Darryl Buggs led the Blazers with four hits, including a home run and a double.

Trailing by three runs going into the top of the ninth, UTSA called on pinch-hitter Clark Henry, who drew a leadoff walk from Tyler O’Clair.

At that point, UAB elected to take out O’Clair, who had been effective in four plus innings of work.

Blazers reliever John Luke Martin promptly walked Barry, putting runners at first and second, and UTSA’s Taylor Smith followed with a single up the middle, which loaded the bases.

Caleb Hill brought in the first run with a sacrifice fly to deep left, trimming the UAB lead to 5-3. Then, with two runners still aboard, Valdez hit a 2-1 pitch off of Martin for a three-run blast, giving UTSA a one-run cushion. It was the ninth homer of the season for Valdez.

Given a one-run lead, UTSA coaches brought in Miller, one of the top relief pitchers in the nation.

Miller retired the first batter of the inning, Tyler Waugh, on a ground ball. From there, however, things got interesting as Christian Hall doubled into the gap in right center.

Brayton Brown, who had two doubles on the day, grounded to shortstop for the second out and moved Hall over to third base.

Henry Hunter, the potential winning run, stepped to the plate and flied out to center to end it. For Miller, it was his ninth save of the season.

For UTSA, it was the team’s second victory of the week after trailing going into the ninth inning. On Tuesday, playing at home, the Roadrunners rallied with three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Houston Christian, 9-8, in non-conference play.


UTSA 32-11, 15-4
UAB 14-28, 5-15

Coming up

UTSA at UAB, Sunday at noon
Sam Houston State at UTSA, Tuesday at 6 p.m.

C-USA leaders

Dallas Baptist 17-3, 33-10
UTSA 15-4, 32-11
Charlotte 12-7, 22-20
Middle Tennessee 11-9, 22-20
Louisiana Tech 10-10, 21-23


The 19th-ranked Dallas Baptist Patriots have won the first two games of a series against the Rice Owls, pushing their lead over the Roadrunners to one and a half games. The Patriots (17-3 in conference, 33-10 overall) won 8-6 in 12 innings and 10-3 at Rice’s Reckling Park in Houston.

Playing in Birmingham, the Roadrunners (15-4, 32-11) were defeated by the UAB Blazers 4-2 on Friday night and then bounced back to beat the Blazers 6-5 on Saturday. Meanwhile, the third-place Charlotte 49ers (12-7, 22-20) have lost twice at Western Kentucky and fourth-place Middle Tennessee (11-9, 22-20) has split a pair at home with the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

Antonio Valdez steals three bases in one inning as UTSA downs Charlotte, 5-3, in series opener

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

Antonio Valdez stole three bases in one inning, sparking the 24th-ranked UTSA Roadrunners to a 5-3 victory over the Charlotte 49ers Thursday in Conference USA baseball.

In the first game of a C-USA doubleheader at Charlotte, UTSA bounced back from a mid-week loss at Incarnate Word behind Valdez, a breakout offensive star in his first year with the team after transferring from Baylor.

Valdez produced three hits, including an RBI triple, plus three stolen bases, including a daring, eighth-inning steal of home. Plus, he also scored twice.

Luke Malone (4-2) pitched into the sixth inning to earn the victory, and Simon Miller closed with 3 and 2/3 of scoreless relief to earn his sixth save. Charlotte starter Wyatt Hudepohl (2-4) worked seven innings and took the loss.

With rain in the forecast in North Carolina, UTSA and Charlotte elected to play twice on Thursday. Game 3 is tentatively set for Saturday afternoon.

Charlotte trailed by three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning when Will Butcher golfed a two-run homer to left field off Malone, pulling the 49ers to within 4-3. Two batters later, Miller entered the game and issued a walk to put runners at first and second.

The UTSA infield turned a double play to end it. The infield defense did it again in the seventh inning, picking up another twin killing to protect a one-run lead. Second baseman Leyton Barry made slick relay plays to first base to facilitate both defensive gems.

Two innings later, in the top of the eight, Valdez electrified the Roadrunners’ bench with his base running.

After reaching on a fielder’s choice, he stole second base, third base and then stole home to give UTSA a two-run cushion.

On the steal of home, Valdez danced off third and broke for the plate after the catcher tossed the ball back to the pitcher. Sliding head first, he beat the throw to the plate, giving the Roadrunners’ a two-run cushion. Afterward, players met him at the dugout steps with high-fives and shouts of encouragement.

The Roadrunners started the week on Monday by learning that they had been ranked in the top 25 in the nation for the first time. Baseball America moved them up to the No. 24 spot.

On Tuesday night, they played a road game in San Antonio against the University of Incarnate Word and allowed a five-run lead to slip away from them, eventually giving up five in the ninth inning and losing 9-6 on a walk off home run by Rey Mendoza.

It was the third time in the last three weeks that UTSA lost mid-week games and then turned around a few days later to win a C-USA series opener.

Two weeks ago, they lost at UT-Rio Grande Valley and then won at Rice. Last week, they lost at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and then won at home against Western Kentucky. This week, after the stunning collapse at UIW, they played a game in North Carolina on less than a 48-hour turnaround and won again.


UTSA 24-7, 9-1
Charlotte 14-15, 5-5

Coming up

UTSA at Charlotte, today, second game of a doubleheader.

Loopy swings? UTSA explodes for 15 hits in a 7-2 victory to sweep WKU

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

At the risk of nit-picking a program that very well may have something special going this season, the UTSA Roadrunners have looked out of sorts at the plate lately. Coach Pat Hallmark has acknowledged that the swings have been “a little loopy,” which often leads to weak contact.

Digging down deep in the energy reserves and taking it back to the basics, UTSA players worked diligently in batting practice the past few days in an effort to iron out the glitches, and it all paid dividends Sunday with a 15-hit barrage, a 7-2 victory over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and a sweep of a three-game Conference USA home series.

“I know our offense has been struggling in the past few games,” UTSA outfielder Shane Sirdashney said. “We kind of went back to the basics in (batting practice) today and yesterday. We just kind of put it on display today (and) bought in with Coach Hallmark’s approach at the plate. I’m just glad we got the hitting rolling today going into next week. To get the sweep, it felt good.”

With the victory, UTSA (23-6, 8-1) stayed in firm control of first place in the C-USA through three weekends of play. Western Kentucky (16-13, 2-7) sent hard-throwing lefty Devyn Terbak to the mound, but UTSA lit him up with two runs in the second, one in the third and three in the fifth to take charge.

Sirdashney led the uprising with four hits, including a solo home run. Matt King had three hits and Antonio Valdez, Taylor Smith and Leyton Barry two apiece. For Hallmark, it was a welcome change from the first two games of the series when Hilltoppers pitching went for extended stretches stringing zeroes on the scoreboard against the Roadrunners.

UTSA had only four hits in a 3-2 victory Friday night and then six in a 5-4 decision Saturday afternoon. As a result, batting practice for the Roadrunners started at 9:30 a.m. for the series finale, which would start at 12:30 p.m.

“The bats came back a little bit today, which was nice to see,” Hallmark said. “We pitched well again. But it was important to get those bats going. The guys have been working really hard. Hitting is cyclical like this, where it comes and goes. That’s just the nature of it.

“Big league hitters, the best ones, don’t always hit. The guys have been very persistent, trusting (the process) and it worked out today.”

Hallmark acknowledged the emphasis on a different approach at the plate.

“We’ve been a little loopy,” the coach said. “There’s been a little bit of what we call length of arc in our swings. So we’ve just been working at it. You know, it wasn’t like we just worked at it today. We’ve been working at it for awhile. But sometimes it manifests itself later than what you want.

“Those guys have some good pitching, so that’s part of it, too. But today it did work itself out.”

Drake Smith, Daniel Garza and Braylon Owens combined to hold the Hilltoppers to eight hits. Between the three of them, they didn’t walk a batter. Garza (4-1) earned the victory with 4 and 2/3 innings of relief, allowing only one run.

Defensive plays also had the fans in the grandstands buzzing from time to time. After allowing a ball to get over his head for a double, Sirdashney ended one inning with a catch and a perfect relay throw to King, who fired to third to cut down a runner. A few innings later, King stole a hit with a diving stab of a low and sinking line drive.


Western Kentucky 16-13, 2-7
UTSA 23-6, 8-1

Coming up

UTSA at Incarnate Word, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
UTSA at Charlotte, Thursday, 5 p.m.
UTSA at Charlotte, Friday, 5 p.m.
UTSA at Charlotte, Saturday, noon

Today’s video replay

UTSA aims for victory No. 21 tonight against Western Kentucky

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Sitting in first place in the Conference USA baseball race, the UTSA Roadrunners host the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers tonight at 6. UTSA and WKU also will play Saturday and Sunday afternoon to complete a three-game series. All games will be played on campus at Roadrunner Field.

UTSA (20-6, 5-1 C-USA) has won its first two series in conference play, sweeping the FAU Owls at home on March 17-19 and then winning two of three at Rice University in Houston last weekend. WKU (16-10, 2-4) lost two of three at Middle Tennessee before dropping two of three at home last week against Louisiana Tech.

Winning games at a rate that is slightly off a school-record pace, UTSA has notched 20 victories by the end of March for only the second time in program history. In 1994, UTSA started out 24-9 before April 1, going on to finish the season 39-18. The ’94 team reached the NCAA tournament, playing in a regional at Austin.

After sweeping FAU two weeks ago, UTSA had won 10 straight for an 18-3 record on the season. Since then, the Roadrunners have cooled off a bit, losing 5-3 at UT Rio Grande Valley on March 21, losing in the middle of the three games at Rice, 13-8, and then falling at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 8-2 on Tuesday night.

Baylor transfer Antonio Valdez leads the team with a .412 batting average, eight home runs and 40 RBI. Caleb Hill (.363) ranks second on the team in batting average but hasn’t played since he was hit by a pitch on March 24 in the first game of the series at Rice.

Pitcher Luke Malone (2-2, 1.89 ERA) has been the team’s Friday night starter, followed by Uli Quiroga (4-0, 4.35) on Saturdays. Simon Miller (6-0, 0.64) leads the staff in victories and earned run average. Miller has 41 strikeouts in 28 and 1/3 innings. Daniel Shafer (2.35 ERA) leads the team with five saves.


Western Kentucky 16-10, 2-4
UTSA 20-6, 5-1

Coming up

Western Kentucky University at UTSA, today, 6 p.m.
WKU at UTSA, Saturday, 2 p.m.
WKU at UTSA, Sunday, 12:30 p.m.

UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros put an end to UTSA’s 10-game winning streak

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

UTSA’s 10-game winning streak came to an end on a windy Tuesday night in Edinburg.

Pitcher J.C. Ariza beat the Roadrunners for the second time in two seasons, throwing five innings to help the UT Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros stop their own five-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory.

Last May, Ariza worked six innings in San Antonio and emerged as the winning pitcher as UTRGV downed UTSA 12-1 at Roadrunner Field.

This time, he came up big again, holding the Roadrunners to five hits and two runs. The 6-foot-5 righthander walked none and struck out four.

With timely hitting, UTRGV scored three times in the second inning off Drake Smith and twice in the fourth against Robbie Maldonado for a 5-0 lead.

UTSA pulled to within 5-2 in the fifth on solo homers by Caleb Hill and Taylor Smith. After that, the UTRGV bullpen stopped the momentum and saved the game for the home team.

In the ninth inning, UTSA put a scare into the home team when Antonio Valdez led off with a solo home run against Sebastian Mejia. Mejia, eventually, would get out of the jam. With a base runner at first, he struck out Garrett Poston for the last out.

UTSA’s winning streak was two shy of the school record. In 1994, the Roadrunners in only their third year as a program won 12 straight under coach Jimmy Shankle.


UTSA 18-4
UTRGV 10-10

Coming up

UTSA at Rice, Friday, 3 p.m.
UTSA at Rice, Saturday, 2 p.m.
UTSA at Rice, Sunday, 1 p.m.

UTSA stays hot, slugging four homers to win on the road at Texas State

Antonio Valdez slammed a home run for the third straight game in a four-homer attack Tuesday night as the UTSA Roadrunners defeated the Interstate-35 rival Texas State Bobcats, 11-2.

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 leads the team with a .455 batting average, four home runs and 23 RBIs. – Photo by Joe Alexander

In the game played in San Marcos at the Bobcat Ballpark, UTSA won its third straight with a robust offensive showing (16 hits, including seven for extra bases) and solid pitching (15 strikeouts) divided up between four players.

It was an important victory for UTSA, in that the Roadrunners not only prevailed on the road against a team that reached the NCAA tournament last year, but they also won for bragging rights in a series that has stretched to 100 games.

Even with UTSA winning the last two meetings against Texas State in the series, the Bobcats own a 61-39 edge in the head-to-head matchup between programs whose campuses — both populated by more than 30,000 students — are separated by only about 45 miles.

The next game between the two foes is April 18 at Roadrunner Field.


Texas State 7-5
UTSA 11-3

Coming up

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at UTSA, Friday, 6 p.m.

UTSA erupts for 13 hits to run rule Houston, 12-2, in seven innings

UTSA reliever Simon Miller pitched two scoreless innings. UTSA baseball beat Houston 12-2 in 7 innings on a run rule on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA reliever Simon Miller pitched two scoreless innings Wednesday night to earn the victory. With his performance, the junior from Canton improved his record to 2-0. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Just after UTSA’s Simon Miller shut the door on the Houston Cougars with two innings of shutout relief pitching, Matt King and pinch-hitter Clark Henry laced back-to-back triples down the right-field line Wednesday night to spark a major offensive uprising, lifting the UTSA Roadrunners to a 12-2, run-rule victory.

In all, the Roadrunners victimized the Cougars by stroking 13 hits, including three for extra bases. They also drew nine walks as Houston, a runner-up at the American Athletic Conference tournament last year, used 11 pitchers, with only a few of them doing much to aid the cause.

On the heels of a convincing victory, the Roadrunners improved to 3-1, with all games being played at home. They’ll host the Saint Mary’s (Calif.) Gaels in a four-game set starting Friday night at Roadrunner Field.

UTSA's Clark Henry had a pinch-hit triple and scored on an error. UTSA baseball beat Houston 12-2 in 7 innings on a run rule on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Clark Henry produced a pinch-hit RBI triple and scored on a throwing error, all on one madcap play. – Photo by Joe Alexander

As Miller hung zeroes on the scoreboard in the fifth and sixth innings against Houston, UTSA responded with multiple runs both times against the bedraggled visiting pitching staff. The Roadrunners scored twice in the fifth and six times in the sixth for an 11-0 lead, sending the game into the realm of garbage time.

Even though Houston rallied to score twice in the seventh, UTSA’s Daniel Shafer notched a strikeout to end the threat with the bases loaded. UTSA added a clinching run in the seventh on a Tye Odom RBI double for a 10-run margin, prompting officials to call it a night.

“To win fairly big is nice,” UTSA coach Pat Hallmark said. “We pitched OK. We can pitch better. We didn’t throw enough strikes. Simon Miller was great. A lot of people try to use their best bullpen arm late, but I’m going to try to use Simon when the game’s on the line, and it was.”

UTSA had scored one run in the first inning and two in the third for a 3-0 lead. The score remained the same leading into the top of the fifth, when Hallmark made the call for Miller to enter the game.

“It worked out (for us),” Hallmark said. “It’s not always going to work out that way. You might wake up in the ninth inning and wish you had him and you already pitched him, but I’m not going to let him go to waste. I’m going to use him when we need him, and we needed him right there.”

Miller, a hard-throwing righthander, yielded a couple of hits to lead off the fifth inning, but he escaped from the jam. With runners at first and second and nobody out, Miller struck out pinch hitter Jacob Schoenvogel. Next, Brandon Burckel flied to right field to advance a runner to third base. But in crunch time, Miller won the battle, with Brandon Uhse grounding out to end the threat.

In the sixth, he retired three straight, finishing it off with another ground ball out, this one from preseason all-AAC pick Anthony Tulimero.

UTSA third baseman Antonio Valdez. UTSA baseball beat Houston 12-2 in 7 innings on a run rule on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA third baseman Antonio Valdez plays a ball on a big hop against the Houston Cougars. – Photo by Joe Alexander


Houston 1-3
UTSA 3-1


Houston entered the mid-week game coming off a three-game home series against the Cal Bears of the Pac 12. The Cougars dropped the first two games of the season before bouncing back to win the third. UTSA hosted third-year Division I entry Tarleton State for three last weekend, winning the first two and then losing the third in extra innings.

Coming up

Saint Mary’s, Calif., at UTSA, Friday, 6 p.m.
Saint Mary’s at UTSA (doubleheader), Saturday, first game at noon.
Saint Mary’s at UTSA, Sunday, 1 p.m.

By the numbers

Four games into the season, newcomer Antonio Valdez leads the team with a .438 batting average.

Starting at third base in all four games, the Baylor transfer was hitless on opening night, but has since punched out two, three and two hits, respectively, in his last three games. In the field, he’s made two errors in 15 chances but has fielded cleanly without a miscue in the last two games.

As far as his views on how the team has fared, Valdez said he isn’t satisfied.

“We’re 3-1, which is great, but I think we all know that there’s room for improvement,” Valdez said. “We’re all going to keep working harder and harder. You know, 3-1 is great. A win tonight is great … But, we’re shooting for something nice this year.”

Shortstop Matt King (.412) and Tye Odom (.400) have also been swinging the bat well. King leads the team with six RBIs.

Miller, one of four preseason all-Conference USA choices for UTSA, has fared well in two appearances. He’s yielded one earned run on five hits and three walks, while striking out eight.

Daniel Garza was the first reliever out of the UTSA bullpen. UTSA baseball beat Houston 12-2 in 7 innings on a run rule on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Daniel Garza was the first reliever out of the UTSA bullpen. He pitched 1 and 2/3 scoreless against Houston, allowing only one hit. He struck out one. – Photo by Joe Alexander