American tournament drama: Charlotte surges past UTSA, 9-5, in 12 innings

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

If the UTSA Roadrunners hope to reach the title game in the American Baseball Championship, they’re going to have to go through the losers’ bracket to get there.

Carson Bayne crushed a three-run homer to cap a four-run 12th inning Tuesday night, lifting the Charlotte 49ers past the Roadrunners 9-5 on opening day.

The game was a study in heartbreak for the Roadrunners. Also frustration, as they left 18 runners on base. They fell behind by four runs when the 49ers scored four in the top of the sixth, and then they rallied in the bottom of the eighth with four of their own to tie it.

Second-seeded UTSA seemed to have the game won a few times in extra innings and couldn’t finish off seventh-seeded Charlotte. In both the 10th and the 11th, they loaded the bases with one out and couldn’t score.

In the top of the 12th, the 49ers finally broke through against Daniel Garza.

Thad Ector opened the inning with a single to right field. Noah Furcht followed with a grounder to shortstop for what appeared to be a certain force play at second. But the throw was wild and both runners were safe.

At that point, one of the veterans of Charlotte’s 2023 Conference USA tournament title team came through in the clutch. Brandon Stahlman hit an RBI single to left. Ector scored from second base, racing across home plate to make it 6-5.

Bayne then did his part to put the game out of reach. He re-directed a 1-0 pitch from Garza, sending it over the wall in left for a three-run homer to account for the final runs of the game. It was the fifth hit of the night for Bayne, a 5-11 junior from Jacksonville, Fla.

In the bottom of the 12th, the Roadrunners picked up a couple of hits but left them stranded when 49ers freshman Joseph Taylor struck out Olivo to end the game. For the game, UTSA hit only 4 for 26 with runners on base and only 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position.

As a result, UTSA will play sixth-seeded Florida Atlantic in the losers’ bracket Wednesday. Tulane defeated FAU 14-2 in seven innings on the run rule late Tuesday night.

Despite scoring only once in the first seven innings, the Roadrunners erased a four-run deficit with a spirited four-run rally in the eighth. Caleb Hill led off with a single, and Isaiah Walker and Alexander Olivo followed with RBI doubles to make it 5-3.

Charlotte changed pitchers twice before the end of the inning as UTSA surged. With Tony Rossi on the mound, Diego Diaz walked with the bases loaded to force in one run. Lorenzo Morresi followed with a sacrifice fly to tie it.

With two runners aboard, Rossi fanned UTSA’s Matt King to end the uprising.


Charlotte 24-32
UTSA 32-23


Earlier in the afternoon, the game turned in a span of about 25 minutes from the bottom of the fifth and the top of the sixth innings. In the fifth, the Roadrunners had a baserunner at first with two of their best hitters at the plate.

First, Mason Lytle smashed a line drive to right field, but Charlotte’s Noah Furcht was in position to make an easy catch. Next, King drilled a ball high and far to center. He didn’t quite get all of it as Reid Haire angled toward the walk and gathered it in to end the inning.

In the sixth, with one out, the 49ers put together a one-out rally against Fischer Kingsbery and Ruger Riojas. The rally started innocently enough, with Brandon Stahlman and Carson Bayne hitting singles in front of the UTSA outfielders.

At that point, Dante DeFranco roped a double to right that scored Stahlman and sent Bayne to third. The Roadrunners thought they had thrown out DeFranco at second, but the umpire’s call was upheld.

UTSA, trailing 2-1, called on Riojas to try to squelch the threat. But Kaden Hopson, one of the returning 49ers’ starters from last year’s Conference USA tournament title team, worked the count to 3-1 before he unloaded with a ball that sailed over the fence in right-center.

The home run boosted the 49ers into a commanding 5-1 lead.

Early games

The top-seeded East Carolina Pirates rallied for 12 runs in the eighth inning and went on to record a 12-4 victory over the No. 8 Rice Owls on opening day of the American Baseball Championship.

Misplays on two Joey Berini fly balls into right field and an infield error on a potential inning-ending double play grounder doomed the Owls in the eighth. Jacob Starling capped the outburst with a two-run homer.

In the tournament opener, fourth-seeded Wichita State downed the mistake-prone No. 5 seed UAB Blazers, 8-2.

Tuesday’s results

Game 1: (4) Wichita State 8, (5) UAB 2
Game 2: (1) East Carolina 12, (8) Rice 4
Game 3: (7) Charlotte 9, (2) UTSA 5, 12 innings
Game 4: (3) Tulane 14, (6) Florida Atlantic 2, 7 innings

Wednesday’s schedule

Game 5: UAB vs. Rice, noon
Game 6: UTSA vs. Florida Atlantic. 47 minutes after Game 5

Thursday’s schedule

Game 7: Wichita State vs. East Carolina, noon
Game 8: Charlotte vs. Tulane, 47 minutes after Game 7

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.


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

Coming up

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


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.


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.


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.”


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

Baseball: First-place Roadrunners to host the always-dangerous Charlotte 49ers

Mason Lytle. UTSA lost to UT-Arlington 10-9 in the Roadrunners' baseball season opener on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Mason Lytle (No. 3) leads the American Athletic Conference in hitting at .405 entering a series against Charlotte tonight at Roadrunner Field. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

In a development that should be welcomed by fans of the UTSA Roadrunners, slugging outfielder Cam Fisher is playing professional baseball this spring.

As the 131st pick in the draft last summer, he is now toiling in the Houston Astros’ organization, preparing to suit up in the coming days for the Asheville (N.C.) Tourists in the High-A South Atlantic League.

Last year, Fisher put on a power show for the ages with the Charlotte 49ers, slamming 30 home runs, all while leading his collegiate team to the Conference USA postseason title and a berth in the NCAA tournament.

His performance comes to mind today as the 49ers prepare to open a three-game series in San Antonio at Roadrunner Field.

Last year, Coach Robert Woodard’s team emerged as one of only a few to gain the upper hand on UTSA in head-to-head matchups. Charlotte won two of three against UTSA, splitting two in the regular season and then claiming an 11-2 victory on May 25 in Houston at the C-USA tournament.

It was a crushing season-ending loss for the Roadrunners, who had won 38 games and finished second in conference, only to bow out of the double-elimination tournament at 0-2.

The 49ers, who also had lost on opening day, used it as a springboard to win five straight in four days en route to claiming the C-USA postseason crown and the NCAA automatic bid.

A year later, the two teams meet again. The Roadrunners will host the 49ers in an American Athletic Conference series opener that starts at 6 tonight. Tomorrow, they’ll play at 2 p.m., followed by a Sunday matinee that will get underway at noon.

I didn’t get a chance to chat with any of the Roadrunners this week, but I doubt that the last game of last season is at the top of anyone’s mind right now.

In fact, Matt King and Caleb Hill are probably going to be the only two position players on the field for UTSA tonight who also started in the field against Charlotte last May in Houston, at Reckling Park.

But most interesting, to me, is the contrast in what is happening with the two ball clubs right now, balanced against their recent history.

From the historical perspective, Charlotte has the edge, with two NCAA tournament appearances (2021 and 2023) in the past four seasons. UTSA, meanwhile, hasn’t had an NCAA trip in 11 years.

Under Coach Pat Hallmark, the Roadrunners have won 38 games in each of the past two seasons, only to come up short of the national tournament each time.

Now, here we are, with the 49ers incoming.

In the here and now, the Roadrunners are rolling, having won six games in a row and seven of eight, including a two-of-three series victory at home over powerhouse East Carolina and a three-game road sweep last week at Tulane.

UTSA (17-12, 5-1) shares the lead in the American with Wichita State, while Charlotte (13-16, 3-3) is showing signs of progress but hasn’t quite put it all together just yet. Even though the 49ers won two of three at home last week against the South Florida Bulls, their record over the past months indicates some unresolved issues.

For Charlotte, a six-game losing streak replete with problems in scoring runs ended only on March 24 with a 13-1 road win at Florida Atlantic.

At the same time, even without a Cam Fisher, an Austin Knight, a Jack Dragum or any of the other departed standouts that made the 49ers so dangerous last season, I have a feeling that they will show up at Roadrunner Field tonight ready to play and do damage.

My forecast? I don’t know who will win the series, but I do have a feeling that a highly-competitive three days of college baseball is looming.

Coming up

Tonight: Charlotte at UTSA, 6 p.m.
Saturday: Charlotte at UTSA, 2 p.m.
Sunday: Charlotte at UTSA, noon


Charlotte 13-16, 3-3
UTSA 17-12, 5-1

Charlotte wins 79-70 and hands UTSA its fifth straight loss

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Playing a slow-down game in their home arena, the Charlotte 49ers emerged Thursday night with a 79-70 victory over UTSA, handing the Roadrunners their season-high fifth straight loss.

The surprising 49ers, who are nothing if not masters of a methodical pace, nearly led the game wire to wire.

The score was tied briefly at 10-10 early in the first half. But other than that, the 49ers kept the Roadrunners at arms length, and they won again to keep a promising season alive in front of the home fans at Halton Arena.

Center Dishon Jackson led the 49ers with 19 points.

Guard Lu’Cye Patterson had 17 and Nik Graves 12 as Charlotte won its second straight and remained in contention for the American Athletic Conference title. The 49ers played solid defense for most of the game, shot 48 percent from the field and marched to their 10th win in their last 11.

As a result, a log-jam remained at the top of the AAC standings, with South Florida leading the 14-team pack at 11-1, followed by Charlotte and 24th-ranked Florida Atlantic tied for second at 10-2. Not bad for a Charlotte team picked in the preseason poll to finish 13th.

For UTSA, the frustration continued.

The Roadrunners aren’t anywhere near the league leaders and haven’t won since Jan. 24, at home against Tulane. Since then, they have fallen, in succession, to South Florida, Rice, Wichita State, East Carolina and now Charlotte. Consequently, they’re tied for 12th place with Wichita State at 2-10, ahead of only the Temple Owls, who are 1-11.

UTSA had its moments against Charlotte. At the end of the first half, they rode the hot shooting of PJ Carter and whittled what had been a 13-point deficit to two at the break. But after intermission, UTSA went cold and stayed cold for the rest of the game, shooting a second-half field goal percentage of only 25.7 percent.

Carter emerged as the only legitimate scoring threat on the night with a career-high 22 points. Even then, the 49ers bottled him up after halftime, holding him to only three points the rest of the way. Christian Tucker had 13 and Dre Fuller Jr. 11. Both made some plays down the stretch, but they weren’t enough.

Jordan Ivy-Curry, UTSA’s leading scorer, couldn’t find a rhythm for the second time in his last three outings. He scored five points on 2 of 10 shooting, nearly matching his 1 for 10 effort from a few games ago against the Wichita State Shockers.

Ivy-Curry wasn’t alone in his struggles. Seven-foot center Carlton Linguard Jr. finished 2 for 9 and scored four points. Guard Adante’ Holiman shot 0 for 3 and went scoreless.

In the first game between the two this season, played at San Antonio, the 49ers won 66-58.

“We played better,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told Andy Everett on the school’s radio broadcast. “In the first half, to put up 44 on them is a pretty big accomplishment. They’re a really good defensive team. (With their) pace of play, that was a lot of points to put up.

“I thought like we looked like ourselves in the first half. Ball was moving pretty good. Beginning of the game, they had a pretty good flow going. We kept telling out guys, ‘Just hang in there.’ And all of a sudden, we felt like our guys turned it up defensively a little bit.”

Henson said even though UTSA didn’t shoot well in the second half, he felt good about his players’ competitive spirit to the final buzzer. “It was one of our better overall efforts in terms of intensity,” he said.


UTSA 8-17, 2-10
Charlotte 16-8, 10-2

Coming up

UTSA at Temple, Sunday, 1 p.m.

UTSA takes down Charlotte 81-80 in double OT on Udo’s winner

UTSA's Idara Udo celebrates after time runs out in the Roadrunners' double-overtime victory. She made the winning basket as UTSA beat Charlotte 81-80 in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Idara Udo celebrates after time runs out in the Roadrunners’ double-overtime victory. She made the winning basket as UTSA beat Charlotte 81-80 in American Athletic Conference women’s basketball on Sunday at the Convocation Center. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Freshman Idara Udo rebounded a miss and hit a short follow-up for the game winner at the buzzer Sunday afternoon, lifting the UTSA Roadrunners to an 81-80, double-overtime victory over the Charlotte 49ers.

With the victory, the Roadrunners (9-7, 3-2) made a statement in the American Athletic Conference. In winning their third straight, they knocked off the 49ers (11-6, 4-1) who entered the contest leading the AAC standings.

UTSA's Idara Udo grabs an offensive rebound and goes back up to score the winning basket with one second left in the second overtime. UTSA beat Charlotte 81-80 in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Idara Udo grabs an offensive rebound and goes back up to score the winning basket with one second left in the second overtime. Udo finished with a career-high 26 points. She also had nine rebounds, including six on the offensive end. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“I couldn’t be more proud of a group of girls,” UTSA coach Karen Aston said. “We faced a lot of adversity throughout the game … I thought we were resilient. A lot of players made plays.”

The final minute of the game became an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved at the UTSA Convocation Center.

Charlotte’s Keanna Rembert missed the second of two free throws with 48 seconds left to leave the score tied, 77-all, prompting UTSA to call a timeout.

Afterward, former Judson High School standout Kyra White drove and passed off to the side, where Hailey Atwood made the catch and calmly drained a mid-range jumper for a two-point lead.

Following a 30-second timeout by Charlotte, the 49ers came up with their own big play, with Dazia Lawrence feeding Jacee Busick, who knocked down a three. The shot with 13 seconds left lifted the 49ers into an 80-79 lead.

Pushing the ball up the court, UTSA had White coming at the Charlotte defense again. She fired a jumper and missed. In a battle under the boards, Udo snared the rebound and hit the winner from point-blank range.

“I was just thinking of giving my team an advantage,” Udo said. “I had two opportunities earlier in the regular period and the first overtime to capitalize, and I didn’t. So I knew that whenever I had a chance the third time, I was going to capitalize. Third time’s the charm.”

Aysia Proctor. UTSA beat Charlotte 81-80 in double overtime in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA freshman guard Aysia Proctor produced 17 points and 13 rebounds against Charlotte. – Photo by Joe Alexander

When the horn sounded, UTSA players circled Udo and bounced up and down, with the freshman shouting in the exhilaration of the moment.

Asked about the celebration, White’s comments were measured and were delivered with some humility. She brought up the first two games that UTSA played on its AAC schedule, when the Roadrunners lost at Temple and East Carolina.

“It felt good,” White said of the celebration. “I think our first two conference games, honestly, I’m just going to come out and say that we weren’t prepared for the physicality or what the American conference looked like.

“I think now that we’ve got our feet back under us, just keep ’em rolling, to help us going into the next game against a very good team as well.”

Next up for UTSA is a Tuesday night home game against the South Florida Bulls, the preseason favorite in the conference.

Udo led the Roadrunners in scoring with a career-high 26 points, and she also pulled down nine rebounds, including six on the offensive end. Udo, from Plano, hit nine of 13 shots from the field.

Another freshman, guard Aysia Proctor from San Antonio-area Clemens High School, also produced a strong effort. Proctor had 17 points, 13 rebounds and three steals. She hit five of six from the 3-point arc. Elyssa Coleman, who fouled out, finished with 12.

White nearly pulled off a triple double with nine points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. White played a team-high 44 minutes.

For Charlotte, center Tracey Hueston enjoyed a big day of her own. Hueston scored a game-high 27 points. The 6-foot-2 transfer from the University of Pittsburgh stepped outside to make four of four from beyond the 3-point arc.

Kyra White. UTSA beat Charlotte 81-80 in double overtime in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Kyra White nearly had a triple double with nine points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. She played a team-high 44 minutes. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Lawrence and Busick had 12 points each, and Imani Smith had 11. Lawrence entered the game with some notoriety as the AAC’s Player of the Week last week.

She had 24 points in a victory at Rice on Thursday. But UTSA did a good job on her, bringing double-team help even when she was on the perimeter.

Faced with the pressure, she hit only three of 17 from the field. Lawrence’s biggest moment came at the end of the first overtime when she made a 15-footer at the buzzer to tie the game at 68.


Charlotte 11-6, 4-1
UTSA 9-7, 3-2

Coming up

South Florida at UTSA, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

First half

Sparked by a Madison Cockrell-led defense, the Roadrunners outscored the 49ers by seven in the second quarter and took a 29-25 lead at intermission.

Cockrell fueled a 6-0 UTSA run in the opening minute and a half of the second quarter. After Coleman hit a jumper to open the period, Cockrell jumped in front of Olivia Porter and drew a charge.

On the other end, Udo sank a 12-foot jumper. Subsequently, Cockrell forced another turnover, which led to another bucket by Udo and a 13-12 lead for the Roadrunners, their first since early in the first quarter.

Udo led UTSA in scoring at the half with 11 points. She hit four for four from the field. Coleman also contributed with eight points on four of seven shooting.

Lawrence and Hueston led Charlotte with six points apiece. Lawrence was limited to one for seven shooting. UTSA at times ran a double team at Lawrence, even on the perimeter.

Hailey Atwood. UTSA beat Charlotte 81-80 in double overtime in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Senior Hailey Atwood took only four shots in the game but she hit a key jumper off the side with 20 seconds left in the game. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Lawrence-led Charlotte 49ers to test the upstart UTSA women

By Jerry Briggs
Special to The JB Replay

Dazia Lawrence and the Charlotte 49ers are the talk of American Athletic Conference in women’s basketball.

Picked to finish 10th in the league’s preseason poll, the 49ers sit in first place in the AAC with a 4-0 record.

They’re warming up at the UTSA Convocation right now, preparing for a 2 p.m. game against the UTSA Roadrunners women.

Dazia Lawrence, a dynamic guard-forward, leads the 49ers. She averaged 28 points and 5.5 rebounds last week. This week, she torched the Rice Owls for 24 points in a 61-54 victory Thursday night in Houston.

“She’s definitely the head of their team,” UTSA guard Sidney Love said. “We’re just going to have to know that she’s going to hit tough shots. We’re going to have to contain her. We’ll have to adjust to what she can do. But we’ll be all right.”

UTSA has a player in Elyssa Coleman that has been putting up some numbers, as well. Coleman had 32 points and 19 rebounds last week against Wichita State and followed Wednesday night at Florida Atlantic with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

As a result, the Roadrunners have bounced back from an 0-2 start, getting to 2-2 as they prepare to face the 49ers.

“I think we’re coming off two good wins,” Love said. “We started a little slow. But I think we needed that to find a place to pick, to build on. We’re in a good space right now. We’re just building. It’s all positive energy.”

One of the most remarkable aspects of UTSA’s 8-7 season to date has been the team’s resilience in competing without Jordyn Jenkins, the Player of the Year last season in Conference USA.

Jenkins, a USC transfer who averaged 20 points per game last season, hurt her knee last April in the offseason and is still rehabilitating.

That UTSA has continued to progress as a program speaks volumes about the heart of everyone suiting up today against Charlotte.

And, just for the record, Jenkins is in the arena with her teammates as she has been all season, but she isn’t expected to play against the 49ers.

“I like to call it bittersweet, because she’s such a great player,” Love said. “We would do nothing but elevate if we had her on the court. But without her, it’s made people step up and realize that we all need each other.

“We all have to play for each other,” Love said. “We have to be big on the court in certain moments when we need to be big. I just think it’s made the team better, and when she comes back, it’ll be just that much better for everybody.”

Coming up

South Florida at UTSA, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

Charlotte shuts down UTSA 66-58 for first road victory

PJ Carter. UTSA lost to Charlotte 66-58 in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Guard PJ Carter scored 13 points off the bench, but his performance wasn’t enough as the UTSA Roadrunners lost at home to the Charlotte 49ers. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The Charlotte 49ers continued their surprising early surge in the American Athletic Conference, knocking off the error-prone UTSA Roadrunners 66-58 Saturday night at the Convocation Center.

With the victory, the 49ers improved to 9-7 on the season and to 3-1 in the AAC. UTSA, coming off a strong performance Wednesday in a six-point overtime loss at Memphis, fell to 7-10 and 1-3.

Charlotte big men Igor Milicic Jr. and Dishon Jackson led the 49ers to their first road victory of the season. Milicic, a 6-foot-10 Croatia native, hit three 3-point shots and scored 19.

Jordan Ivy-Curry. UTSA lost to Charlotte 66-58 in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordan Ivy-Curry scored 20 points on seven of 18 shooting from the field. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Jackson, a transfer from Washington State, had two blocked shots and seven of his 17 points in the second half.

Guard Jordan Ivy-Curry led the Roadrunners with 20 points.

Once again, the Roadrunners fell victim to a team that played a slower pace. On Dec. 21, the Army Black Knights trotted out a similar style and won 63-53 at UTSA. In four outings after the Army disappointment, UTSA averaged 92.5 points.

Asked if Charlotte maintaining its desired pace to the game was the difference, UTSA coach Steve Henson said, “We anticipated that. It’s hard to speed ’em up. We knew it would be a low possession game. Their offense affects that greatly, and then they’re pretty good defensively, too.

“We spent our time in practice trying to handle their splits, the Princeton elements of their offense. And we did a pretty good job of that for the most part. Didn’t give up any back doors. Handled most of their splits.”

On the other end of the floor, the Roadrunners were just too sloppy to win. They committed too many errors that were unforced, especially in the second half.

“The pace, we didn’t anticipate speeding them up much,” Henson said, “but I didn’t anticipate us turning the ball over 17 times. They don’t get out in the passing lanes. They’re not an aggressive team. They don’t trap much, and we were just throwing it all over the gym.”

The story of the game may have been the 49ers’ defense. While UTSA scored 101 points and hit 17 three-point baskets at Memphis, the Roadrunners never could get anything going against Charlotte.

UTSA shot 35 percent from the field and 20 percent on three pointers. The Roadrunners also committed way too many mistakes in a game that wasn’t played at an up-and-down pace.

Three-point shooting? Well, it was subpar, to say the least. Defended well on the perimeter for the most part, the Roadrunners made only five of 25 from the arc.

A key sequence in the second half unfolded when Charlotte center Jackson took it inside to score and was fouled. He knocked down a free throw for a 3-point play.

On the next possession, Charlotte rejected UTSA on a drive at the rim and turned it into three more points, with Daylen Berry running for a layup and drawing another foul.

He hit the freebie, giving the 49ers a 50-37 lead with 12:17 remaining. UTSA never got closer than seven the rest of the way.

Considering Charlotte was held without a field goal for the last eight minutes, it was remarkable that the home team couldn’t make it more interesting.

“We do defend pretty well,” first-year Charlotte coach Aaron Fearne said. “And I knew we really had to control the tempo of the game against this team. We knew we couldn’t let this team get out in transition … I was very proud we were able to do that.”


Charlotte 9-7, 3-1
UTSA 7-10, 1-3

Coming up

UTSA at Tulsa, Wednesday, 7 p.m.


With the loss, UTSA fell to 0-2 at home in the American, with the setbacks coming to the UAB Blazers and now the Charlotte 49ers. The Roadrunners have lost three of their last four at home overall. UTSA is 5-4 at home on the season …

Roadrunners starters struggled as a unit against the 49ers. Big men Carlton Linguard Jr. and Trey Edmonds combined for five points and 1 of 8 shooting. Small forward Dre Fuller Jr. scored two points in 12 minutes. Christian Tucker, the AAC’s assist leader, was held to one assist while making five turnovers. Guard Isaiah Wyatt had seven points and five boards.

First half

Milicic scored 11 and Jackson added 10 as the Charlotte 49ers built a 32-27 lead on the cold-shooting UTSA Roadrunners. The 49ers led by as many as 12 points late in the half.

Milicic nailed four-for-five from the field and Jackson four-for-four. Charlotte hit 12 of 26 from the field as a team for 46.2 percent. Meanwhile, the Roadrunners couldn’t get their offense untracked.

UTSA missed six of its first seven shots and finished the half 11 of 32 for 34.4 percent. Three players who came off the bench led the team in scoring.

Charlotte coach Aaron Fearne. UTSA lost to Charlotte 66-58 in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Aaron Fearne’s Charlotte 49ers are playing well at just the right time. After a loss to SMU, the Niners have notched consecutive victories over FAU, Tulsa and UTSA to improve to 3-1 in the American. FAU has most of its players back from a team that reached last year’s Final Four. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Charlotte vs. UTSA weekend looms at the Convocation Center

Jordan Ivy-Curry had 22 points and eight assists off the bench for UTSA in a 103-89 men's basketball victory over Prairie View A&M on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Guard Jordan Ivy-Curry has averaged a team-high 16.3 points in six games since he became eligible at Oregon State on Dec. 17. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Fans in San Antonio will see a double dip of American Athletic Conference college basketball this weekend at the UTSA Convocation Center.

The Roadrunners men will host the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday at 7 p.m. In a quick turnaround for arena staff, a women’s game featuring teams from the same two schools will tip off at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Elyssa Coleman had 32 points, 19 rebounds and 3 blocks as UTSA earned its first American Conference women's basketball win, beating Wichita State 74-60 at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Center Elyssa Coleman has totaled 48 points and 29 rebounds in her last two games. – File photo by Joe Alexander

For the Roadrunners men, it’s their first chance to get back on the court since they nearly knocked off a top-15 team on the road. The 13th-ranked Memphis Tigers edged past UTSA 107-101 in overtime on Wednesday.

“I feel like everybody’s in a good mindset right now,” UTSA guard Jordan Ivy-Curry said Friday. “We believed (before), but now we believe even more because we competed with the No. 13 team in the nation.

“It’s just like, we have a lot of hope. We know we can compete with anybody in this conference.

“I feel like we have a ton of confidence going into this game. We have a ton of confidence just playing. I feel like it’s going to be a real good year.”

On Sunday, the UTSA women will come in feeling good after back-to-back wins of their own, one at home against Wichita State last Saturday and the other on Wednesday night in Florida against FAU. The Charlotte women will be a good match, given the 49ers’ undefeated record of 4-0 in conference.

UTSA point guard Sidney Love said the Roadrunners are eager to show what they can do against Charlotte, the AAC’s first-place team.

“We’re in a good space right now,” Love said. “We’re just building.”

Charlotte vs. UTSA


Charlotte (8-7, 2-1) will arrive Saturday night with momentum to face off against fast-improving UTSA (7-9, 1-2). After the 49ers lost their AAC opener at SMU, they won back-to-back games at home against the 24th-ranked FAU Owls and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. The 49ers feature a milk-the-clock style offense that feeds off the talents of guard Lu’Cye Patterson and forward Igor Milicic. The UTSA men are a team in transition since Ivy-Curry was inserted into the playing rotation just before Christmas. UTSA is 2-4 since he became eligible, but the record is deceiving given close losses to quality opponents at Oregon State of the Pac-12 conference, at home against UAB and on the road at Memphis. At Memphis, Ivy-Curry hit six 3-pointers and exploded for 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists.


Charlotte (11-5, 4-0) has yet to lose an AAC game after victories against North Texas, South Florida, UAB and Rice. Last week, guard Dazia Lawrence was named as the conference’s player of the week. On Thursday night, she played well again, scoring 24 points in a 61-54 road victory at Rice. Lawrence leads the 49ers in scoring at 18.6 per game coming into the Sunday afternoon matinee. UTSA (8-7, 2-2) opened conference with losses at Temple and East Carolina but has rebounded to win at home against Wichita State and on the road against FAU. After center Elyssa Coleman registered a 32-point, 19-rebound performance against Wichita State, she followed with 16 points and 10 boards against FAU. Coleman, a 6-3 junior from Atascocita, leads the Roadrunners in scoring (12.2 points), rebounding (8.1) and blocked shots (1.8). A trio of players out of San Antonio area high schools are in the backcourt, including Kyra White (Judson), Love (Steele) and Aysia Proctor (Clemens).