Charlotte hits four homers, rallies for a 12-10 victory and a doubleheader split against UTSA

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

Austin Knight hit two home runs, and Cam Fisher and Brandon Stahlman added one apiece as the Charlotte 49ers erased a seven-run deficit in their home park, downing the 24th-ranked UTSA Roadrunners 12-10 Thursday night in Conference USA baseball.

Charlotte outscored UTSA 12-5 after a 2 hour and 48-minute weather delay. With the victory, the 49ers salvaged a split of a doubleheader. The Roadrunners won the opener, 5-3. Game 3 of the series is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m.

It’s been a wild week for UTSA. The Roadrunners learned on Monday that they had been ranked in the top 25 in the nation for the first time in school history. They were listed at No. 24 in the poll by Baseball America magazine.

By Tuesday, they were on the road, playing a non-conference game on the campus of the University of the Incarnate Word. Against UIW, they bolted to a 6-1 lead and held a 6-4 advantage going into the ninth inning, only to see the Cardinals rally for a 9-6 victory on a Rey Mendoza three-run, walk-off homer.

By Thursday, they were in Charlotte, playing two against the 49ers because of forecasted rain in the area. In the first game, the Roadrunners claimed a victory behind the hitting and baserunning of Antonio Valdez and the pitching of Luke Malone and Simon Miller.

In the second game, the Roadrunners started fast, moving out to a 5-0 lead before a weather delay forced the teams off the field. Once play resumed, the Roadrunners tacked on two more and looked to be in control, 7-0.

From there, the UTSA pitching started to falter and the Charlotte bats came alive. The 49ers created big-time momentum with a six-run fourth inning, capped by back-to-back home runs from Stahlman and Knight.

Right after Stahlman ripped a three-run shot, Knight unloaded with a solo shot, trimming UTSA’s lead to 7-6. After the Roadrunners scored once in the top of the fifth on Taylor Smith’s solo home run, the 49ers retaliated with two runs of their own in the bottom half, tying the game at 8-8.

Knight vaulted the 49ers into the lead in the sixth inning, blasting another solo homer to make it 9-8. Though the Roadrunners would come back to tie with a run in the seventh, their pitching just would not hold. The 49ers exploded with three runs in the eighth to make it 12-9.

Isaiah Walker lashed an RBI double in the ninth for the Roadrunners. But that was it, as Charlotte reliever Paxton Thompson retired two in a row to end it.

Thompson (3-1) was the winning pitcher, working 4 and 2/3 innings, giving up two runs, only one of them earned, while yielding three hits. Pitching in relief, UTSA’s Ulises Quiroga (4-1) was saddled with the loss. Charlotte touched him for three runs on four hits in two innings.


UTSA 24-8, 9-2
Charlotte 15-15, 6-5

Coming up

UTSA at Charlotte, Friday, 5 p.m.

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.

UTSA wins for Germany, Czumbel on Senior Night, downing Charlotte, 78-73

Jacob Germany. UTSA beat Charlotte 78-73 in Conference USA men's basketball on Thursday, March 2, 2023, in the final game of the regular season at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jacob Germany scored 17 points, snared 10 rebounds and blocked two shots in a ‘Senior Night’ victory over the Charlotte 49ers. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

For the last four years, Jacob Germany’s parents from Oklahoma have attended each of their son’s home games at UTSA.

Germany, the Roadrunners’ 6-foot-11 center, has come to expect them at the arena about an hour before tipoff. Crazy enough, it didn’t work out that way for what was likely his last home game.

John Buggs III. UTSA beat Charlotte 78-73 in Conference USA men's basketball on Thursday, March 2, 2023, in the final game of the regular season at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

John Buggs III scored 10 of his 18 points in the second half as UTSA pulled away from Charlotte, leading by as many as 13. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Because of a flat tire on their vehicle, Justin and Stacy Germany were not in the building at the standard 60-minute mark. Not to worry.

They arrived just in time to participate in a “Senior Night” ceremony honoring their son and his good friend, Erik Czumbel. Later, they were awarded with a bonus when Jacob helped lead the Roadrunners to a 78-73 Conference USA victory over the Charlotte 49ers.

With the performance, UTSA won its second in a row. In addition, the Roadrunners improved their late-season record to 3-2 in the last five games going into next week’s Conference USA tournament.

“I’m going through a lot of emotions, to be honest,” Germany told reporters in his post-game interview. “I’m excited for the team to win. But I also…it didn’t really hit me until I was doing radio and looked over and saw my mom.”

On his parents’ late arrival, Germany just shrugged in sort of a “that’s life” type shrug.

“They almost didn’t even make it,” he said. “The only day out of the last four years.”

The game was close and competitive in the first half as Charlotte knocked down seven three-point shots, only to see UTSA hammer the ball inside, forging an 18-8 lead in paint points.

With UTSA leading by one coming out of intermission, the teams traded baskets for about five minutes before the Roadrunners hit the 49ers with a decisive 19-5 run. Germany capped the surge by knocking down a 12-foot jumper from the side with seven minutes left, boosting his team into a 66-53 advantage.

Japhet Medor. UTSA beat Charlotte 78-73 in Conference USA men's basketball on Thursday, March 2, 2023, in the final game of the regular season at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Japhet Medor led the Roadrunner with 22 points and five asists. He drew 11 fouls and hit 9 of 14 at the free-throw line. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Charlotte rallied behind guard Brice Williams and center Aly Khalifa to within one point with 2:40 remaining, but UTSA made just enough plays at the end to hold on to the victory, seizing a measure of momentum leading into the postseason.

As much momentum as a team with 21 losses can have, anyway.

“We’re starting to click a little bit,” Germany said. “We stayed practicing the right way. We stayed together. We didn’t veer off. We had a few days where I wouldn’t say we all got better. But we brought each other back…stayed together through thick and thin. You keep doing the right things, and eventually it’s going to pay off.”

Even with the loss, Charlotte (18-12, 9-10) clinched the fifth seed in the tournament and a first-round bye.

Meanwhile, UTSA (10-21, 4-16) finished last in the C-USA standings and thus will take the No. 11 seed into next week. The postseason event — UTSA’s last in the C-USA given its impending move next year to the American Athletic Conference — will be contested from March 8-11 in Frisco, with the winner claiming an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

NCAA Selection Sunday is March 12, when the 68-team will be unveiled.

The Roadrunners did what they needed to do against the 49ers, who play a slow and deliberate Princeton-style offense. They kept the 49ers off the offensive boards and hit a solid 49 percent of their shots from the field. In the second half, their defense was good, with UTSA limiting Charlotte to 43 percent from the field and, more importantly, to four of 13 from behind the arc.

Only a rash of missed free throws in the last five minutes by the Roadrunners kept it from being a double-digit victory.

Christian Tucker. UTSA beat Charlotte 78-73 in Conference USA men's basketball on Thursday, March 2, 2023, in the final game of the regular season at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Reserve guard Christian Tucker had five points, three assists and two steals in 20 minutes. Coach Steve Henson says Tucker “has been very good” over the last month of the season. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“It’s that time of year (when) teams want to get hot,” Germany said. “It’s toward the end of the year when everything starts to matter. It’s March. Literally all this month, it’s all about basketball. It’s a perfect time to get hot.”

Japhet Medor, John Buggs III and Germany were the three players at the start of the year who were expected to lead the team, and all delivered against the 49ers. Driving relentlessly to the rim, Medor finished with 22 points and five assists. Buggs hit four 3-pointers and had 18. Germany notched a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Combined, the three of them sank 19 of 32 from the field.

In addition, the bench played well, with point guard Christian Tucker producing five points, three assists and two steals in 19 minutes. Forward Lamin Sabally also contributed, throwing down a first-half dunk en route to three points and three rebounds.

A few weeks ago, at the tail end of an 11-game losing streak, players off the bench struggled. Now, the confidence as seen in the likes of Tucker and Sabally and Massal Diouf, a freshman, seems to be growing by the day.

“Losing has so many effects on a team,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “It chips away with your chemistry. It can chip away at your confidence. It can be very dificult for a team. But, yeah, I think there are quite a few guys playing with more confidence. Christian Tucker has been very good in the last month, at least. He gives us another guy that gives us some penetration. He sees the floor pretty well. He makes certain passes even better than Japhet does …. He’s giving us a little different element. It’s been great to have Lamin down the stretch step up and do some of the things we anticipated him doing, as well.

“Confidence certainly is a big part of it.”

Khalifa, a 6-11 forward for Charlotte, presented all sorts of problems for UTSA. He scored 27 points and made a game-high, five three-point buckets. Williams also had a big night with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Igor Milicic, Jr., a 6-10 transfer from Virginia, supplied 11 points and five rebounds off the bench.


UTSA 10-21, 4-16
Charlotte 18-12, 9-10

Coming up

UTSA at Conference USA tournament, March 8-11, at Frisco


Guard Erik Czumbel entered into Senior Night with some trepidation because he knew that his father and mother and twin brother, who live in Italy, couldn’t make it to the game.

Erik Czumbel watches a video greeting from his parents in Italy on the big screen. UTSA men's basketball honored its seniors Thursday, March 2, 2023, in the final home game of the regular season. The Roadrunners beat Charlotte 78-73 at the Convocation Center.

Erik Czumbel watches a video greeting from his parents in Italy on the big screen. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA surprised him with a taped message from the three of them that was played on the video board before the game. A wide smile crossed Czumbel’s face when he heard his father and mother offer congratulations on his four-year career with the Roadrunners.

Czumbel was scoreless on 0-for-2 shooting in 10 minutes, but he finished a plus six in the plus-minus metric that measures a player’s impact on point differential. In the last minute, Henson put him in the game and then took him out moments later so that he could hear the crowd cheer for him one last time.

It’s long been the expectation that Germany would not be back at UTSA next season, but he said in his post-game interview with reporters that some of his teammates have talked to him about the possibility of returning to the team for a fifth year.

“I’ve had some conversations about it but it’s kind of like what I said earlier in the year, I’m kind of just focused on ending the season the right way,” he said. “But if you ask me in a month or so, then I might have a different answer for you.”

UTSA women roll to a 64-50 victory over the Charlotte 49ers

Elyssa Coleman. UTSA beat Charlotte 60-54 in a Conference USA women's basketball game Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA sophomore center Elyssa Coleman stepped up to produce 16 points as the Roadrunners beat the defending C-USA champion Charlotte 49ers. It was UTSA’s first victory over Charlotte since 2014. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Forward Jordyn Jenkins registered another double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds Saturday as the UTSA Roadrunners notched a signature victory, knocking off the defending Conference USA champion Charlotte 49ers, 64-50.

Center Elyssa Coleman added 16 points and eight rebounds for the UTSA women, who snapped out of a three-game losing streak and, in the process, downed the 49ers for the first time since 2014.

The Roadrunners (4-11, 2-4) played a smothering 2-3 zone defense and held the visitors to 31.1 percent shooting. The 49ers (7-8, 3-3) were led by guard Dazia Lawrence, who scored 13 points.

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat Charlotte 60-54 in a Conference USA women's basketball game Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins had 23 points and 11 rebounds to follow her 37-point, 11-rebound outing against UTEP on Wednesday night. – Photo by Joe Alexander

But nobody else hit double figures on the day for the C-USA champs, who were limited to 19 of 61 shooting from the field. The zone also worked to limit the 49ers from getting to the free throw line.

They were only five of eight on free throws, compared to 15 of 16 for UTSA. Roadrunners players expressed both satisfaction and relief that they were able to beat the 49ers, an NCAA tournament entry last year.

“We’ve been trying to get over the hump,” Coleman said. “We’ve been losing every game, like, by less than 10, this whole season. So to beat the last conference champion, that means a lot.”

In 2021-22, Charlotte not only had the best record in the conference, but it also swept through the C-USA tournament to win the postseason crown.

“Today was a good win for us,” said UTSA freshman Madison Cockrell, who scored a career-high nine points off the bench. “It got us back on our feet. So, excited for our next game on Monday.”

The Roadrunners open a three-game road swing at Rice University in Houston on Monday. The trip will also take the team to Florida, where it will play at Florida Atlantic on Thursday and at FIU in Miami on Saturday.

With the victory over Charlotte, UTSA improved to 4-2 at home. At the same time, the team has yet to win away from the Convocation Center.

Madison Cockrell. UTSA beat Charlotte 60-54 in a Conference USA women's basketball game Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Freshman guard Madison Cockrell enjoyed a career-best nine points on three of three shooting from 3-point distance. With her performance, she affected the game in only 14 minutes – Photo by Joe Alexander

In nine games away from the Convo, the Roadrunners are 0-9, which includes an 0-7 record in true road games and 0-2 on neutral courts.

Seemingly every time UTSA plays away from home, the fouls start to stack up, and the opponent gains an upper hand.

It even happens at home, on occasion, as evidenced by Coleman’s showing Wednesday night against the UTEP Miners. The Miners won 74-67, with the 6-foot-3 sophomore on the bench most of the night.

She eventually fouled out with only two points and three rebounds in 18 mintues. Against the 49ers, she picked up two quick ones in the first quarter and sat down for the rest of the half.

In the third quarter, Coleman turned the tables. She scored eight points and drew a couple of fouls on the 49ers, which she converted into four for four at the free-throw line.

“I was in foul trouble in the first half, which I was trying not to do since I fouled out last game,” she said. “But, things happened. I warmed up on the bench, got my time in the second half and then just did what I needed to do.”

Coleman said she knew she had to stay mentally engaged even while she was just watching.

Maya Linton. UTSA beat Charlotte 60-54 in a Conference USA women's basketball game Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Freshman Maya Linton pulled down six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. The Roadrunners won the battle under the boards, 43-39. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“You can’t just sit at the end of the bench and go sulk,” she said. “You have to still stay engaged, hype up the people on the floor so they can make a difference.”

Fortunately for UTSA, Jenkins caught fire in the second quarter, scoring 13 points on a variety of shots — inside and out.

For the second straight game, she was rolling, and when it was over, she emerged from her week’s work with a combined 60 points and 22 rebounds against both UTEP and Charlotte.

While Jenkins has been putting up all-conference type numbers all season, only recently has Cockrell, a freshman from Dallas Bishop Lynch, started to play well.

Even though she didn’t score against the Miners, she made an impact with her defense, and then against the 49ers, she did it on both ends of the floor.

Against Charlotte, she knocked down three 3-point shots, including two in the second half, when the Roadrunners kicked the lead up to as many as 22 points.

Afterward, she seemed to delight in talking about her teammates.

“We played amazing today,” she said. “Off the court, everyone came in at shootaround with the right mindset. It was just a great day all around.”

Cockrell hinted that attitude might have been the difference between winning and losing against the 49ers. After a disappointing loss against the Miners, players kept their heads up.

“We did,” she said. “We took (the loss to UTEP). It happened. That’s what it was, and we bounced back today and came back a lot better. Stronger. Harder. Everything.”


Charlotte 7-8, 3-3
UTSA 4-11, 2-4

Coming up

UTSA at Rice, Monday, 7 p.m.


Charlotte has dominated the C-USA series against UTSA ever since the teams started playing in 2014. The Roadrunners won the first meeting in 2014, but the 49ers won the next seven times through last season. Last January, the 49ers romped to a 58-33 victory against the Roadrunners in San Antonio.


Talking about employing a zone defense, Aston said, “Realistically, we were just doing everything we could to keep those guards (Dazia Lawrence and Jada McMillian) out of the paint. They are really, really good.”

First half

Three days after scoring 37 points at home against UTEP, forward Jordyn Jenkins exploded for 13 of her 17 points in the second quarter against Charlotte, lifting the Roadrunners into a 34-20 halftime lead.

On one end of the floor, UTSA played 2-3 zone to frustrate Charlotte. The Roadrunners, with the junk defense, held the 49ers to nine points in the second quarter and 27.6 percent shooting for the half.

On the offensive end, UTSA kept going to Jenkins, who hit six of 12 shots from the field and five of five at the free throw line in the half. Sidney Love added seven points on two of five shooting.

Defending champs in town: UTSA women host the Charlotte 49ers

After losing three games in a row and six of their last seven, the youthful UTSA Roadrunners will host the defending champion Charlotte 49ers today at 2 p.m. in Conference USA women’s basketball.

The Roadrunners are looking for their first victory since New Year’s Eve when they won at home, defeating the UAB Blazers, 71-68.

Since then, they lost at Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky on the road last week.

Hoping to reverse their fortunes at home Wednesday night, they fouled too much and couldn’t make stops when they needed them, falling 74-67 to the UTEP Miners.

Not even a 37-point, 11-rebound performance from Roadrunners forward Jordyn Jenkins could offset a huge deficit in trips to the free-throw line (39-16) and in free throws made (26-11).

Playing defense and keeping opponents off the line have been dual problems for the UTSA women all season. Opponents have hit 228 of 324 at the stripe. UTSA, by comparison is 142 for 202.

Despite their problems, the Roadrunners have played hard and have been in most games for all 40 minutes.

Of their 11 losses, eight have come by seven points or less. Jenkins, averaging a C-USA leading 19.3 points, hit 15 of 22 from the field against UTEP. The 6-foot Washington native has scored 30 or more twice in her last six games.

The headliners for the 49ers include guards Dazia Lawrence and Jada McMillian. Lawrence had 31 points and five steals in the team’s last outing, a 77-67 victory at home last Saturday against Florida Atlantic. McMillian leads the C-USA in assists.

Charlotte guard Mikayla Boykin, formerly of the Duke Blue Devils, announced on Nov. 30 a career-ending injury. In making the announcement, she said she had suffered a fifth anterior cruciate ligament tear.


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


UTSA’s Karen Aston landed her first NCAA Division I coaching job in 2007 at Charlotte.

Under Aston, the 49ers were 86-47 with four national postseason tournaments. In 2009, they reached the NCAA tournament to cap a 23-9 season. They also won 27 games and advanced to the Women’s NIT semifinals in 2011.

Cara Consuegra has coached the 49ers since the 2011-12 season. Under Consuegra, a former star at the University of Iowas, the 49ers have won 20 or more games in three of their last six years.

Last season, Consuegra’s Niners went 22-9 overall and posted the best regular-season record in the conference at 15-3. After claiming the C-USA postseason title, they advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time since Aston’s 2009 trip.

Defense sparks victory as UTSA sweeps No. 23 Charlotte

Returning home from the East Coast a week ago, the UTSA Roadrunners had lost two of three at Florida Atlantic and eight of their last 11 overall.

But after getting back to town, the Roadrunners found something.

They started with a 6-4 victory in 10 innings Tuesday night at Incarnate Word, followed by a 12-8 road win at 12th-ranked TCU on Wednesday. Finally, they completed a five-games-in-six-days stretch with three straight wins at home against the 23rd-ranked Charlotte 49ers.

The Roadrunners capped the sweep of the defending C-USA regular-season champions with an 8-5 victory Sunday afternoon. The game was shortened to seven innings because of time constraints on a travel day for Charlotte.

In the aftermath of an exhausting stretch, UTSA emerged with an 18-10 record, a 5-4 mark in the conference and perhaps a rising level of confidence.

“We played good baseball,” Roadrunners coach Pat Hallmark said. “I actually did not think we played very good on Tuesday (at UIW). But we persevered, and we won. The other four games, we played good. The defense was the key.

“You know, hitting comes and goes, and we’re still young on the mound. So, we’re going to be up and down (with the pitching). Hopefully in a couple of years, we’re much more consistent there.

“But the (pitchers) we’re relying on are young. They’re doing a good job. The key to me this week was the defense. From Wednesday to Sunday, those four games, we really defended very well.”

A play in the top of the fourth on Sunday stood out in Hallmark’s mind.

With UTSA leading 3-0, Charlotte had a runner aboard at first with nobody out when 49ers star Austin Knight roped a pitch from Braden Davis deep into the gap in right center.

Roadrunners’ center fielder Shane Sirdashney sprinted to his left, traveled a long way, and made a running catch.

As it turned out, the play saved at least one run. One out later, Charlotte’s Cam Fisher unloaded by slicing a two-run homer to left.

Davis got out of it with only two runs allowed. In the bottom half, the Roadrunners pushed across a run on a Jonathan Tapia sacrifice fly to make it 4-2.

“Dash is pretty good,” Hallmark said of Sirdashney’s play in the field. “The jump is the key for him. He reads the ball good off the bat. He has those long strides. He made it look pretty easy. But he was running when he caught it. It’s not that easy.

“Just because he didn’t dive doesn’t mean it’s an easy play. He ended up tweaking something, too. We ended up taking him out of the game. Not sure what it was. Groin or (hamstring) or what.”

After the series at Florida Atlantic, the season for the Roadrunners had a chance to go downhill — and fast. But it didn’t. Now, it’s headed on a different trajectory.

“They’re hungry,” Hallmark said. “But, what’s the alternative? I know it seems like a coach answer. But if you don’t come hungry and ready to play, the alternative is not good.

“The guys understand. Guys like Tapia, they’ve been around. Chase Keng. They’ve been around. You don’t have to motivate ’em. I might coach ’em mechanically on something every now and then but there’s no motivational talks with these guys.

“Some of the young guys, they’re learning how to do it. We might coach those guys a little more. But Ian Bailey, Leyton Barry, they’ve been around. The alternative to not being ready is … we don’t even go there.”

The experience factor came into play on the last play of the game. With the bases loaded and two out in the top of the seventh, Knight hit a grounder toward the hole on the left side of the infield.

Tapia, playing third, gloved the ball but lost his footing. Then, somehow, he threw from his knees to second base for a force play. Game over. Sweep completed.

“The ball was hit with a lot of over spin,” Hallmark said. “The little subtleties of the game, with a natural surface field in South Texas, this field’s always hard. So any ball hit with over spin is tricky and nasty.

“Those are the ones you see bounce up on infielders. He over-committed a little. It cost him the footing. But, like you’re saying, the experience allowed him to recover. It was a fantastic play by an experienced player … a terrific play.”

At the end of the week, Tapia’s finger prints were all over the five-game streak. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, the senior from O’Connor had three hits apiece in those victories. That all came before Sunday, when he secured the victory with his glove, and his poise.

“He’s really good,” Hallmark said. “He held us together last year (with his versatility) and he’s doing it again.”


UTSA 18-10, 5-4
Charlotte 17-10, 4-5

Coming up

Wednesday — Stephen F. Austin at UTSA, 6 p.m.
Friday — UTSA at Old Dominion, 5 p.m.
Saturday — UTSA at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.
Sunday — UTSA at Old Dominion, 11 a.m.


Junior right-hander Daniel Shafer completed the seventh inning to earn his second save in two days. For the week, he was 1-0 with the two saves in three appearances. Since Tuesday, Shafer pitched 4 and 1/3 innings scoreless, allowing only two hits and one walk. He struck out one.

The Roadrunners are 5-0 this season against ranked opponents, including a 6-5, 10-inning home victory against Stanford on Feb. 28, a 12-8 win at TCU last Wednesday and then 13-3, 8-7 and 8-5 victories over Charlotte. All three ranked opponents played in the NCAA tournament last year.

Young, 49ers fend off a Roadrunners rally to win, 62-53

Jahmir Young scored 15 and Syracuse transfer Robert Braswell added 14 Saturday as the Charlotte 49ers turned back the energetic but short-handed UTSA Roadrunners, 62-53.

Young, the leading scorer in Conference USA, hit only 4 of 13 shots from the field.

But with a well-rounded game, he helped to hand the Roadrunners their fourth straight loss with six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

In a road game for UTSA played at Charlotte’s Halton Arena, only a few fans turned out due to impending bad weather and the Covid-19 threat.

The Roadrunners, playing without three starters, seemed to take advantage of the lack of energy in the building by erasing most of a 19-point deficit.

Down 32-13 early, they came back to pull within 42-37 with 10 minutes left.

In the end, without Jordan Ivy-Curry, Cedrick Alley Jr. and Dhieu Deing, they didn’t have enough firepower to sustain the momentum.

Deing (pro ball aspirations) and Alley (academics) are no longer with the team. They won’t be back this season. Ivy-Curry (Covid protocols) could return next week.

UTSA was concerned coming in that Charlotte’s offensive style, with cuts and back-cuts, would pose a problem.

While the 49ers didn’t hit a high percentage of shots from the field (34.7 percent), they did force their way to the free-throw line, where they hit 20 of 24, including 14 of 18 in the second half.

Another problem for the Roadrunners centered around decisions they made with the ball when they had it close to the basket.

A 13-1 lead for UTSA in second-chance points likely could have been an even wider margin, given a massive 19-5 edge in offensive rebounding for the Roadrunners.

Looking back, the Roadrunners probably wished they had either taken the ball stronger to the basket on the put-back attempts, or they should have dribbled out and re-started the possession.


UTSA 7-11, 0-5
Charlotte 9-5, 2-0

Coming up

The Roadrunners were scheduled to return to San Antonio Saturday night. In coming days, they’ll begin preparations for a road game at UTEP on Thursday of next week.

Jan. 20 — UTSA at UTEP, 8 p.m.
Jan. 23 — UTEP at UTSA, 3 p.m.
Jan. 27 — FIU at UTSA, 7 p.m.
Jan. 29 — FAU at UTSA, 1 p.m.


UTSA forward Aleu Aleu apparently suffered an injury in the first half and didn’t return.

The Roadrunners shot 29.4 percent from the field (20 of 68). From three-point distance, they hit only 12.5 percent (2 of 16). Christian Tucker emerged as UTSA’s leading scorer with 10 points. Without the team’s other primary scoring threats on the floor, junior center Jacob Germany faced traps and double teams most of the afternoon, and as a result he hit only 2 of 9 shots.

Freshman Lamin Sabally and sophomore Lachlan Bofinger supplied good energy when they were on the floor. Sabally scored six points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Bofinger had six points and nine rebounds.

UTSA holds off Charlotte, 72-62, advances to C-USA quarterfinals

The UTSA Roadrunners celebrated in the locker room Wednesday night after opening the Conference USA championships with a 72-62 victory over the Charlotte 49ers.

At the same time, the good vibes were mixed with a sense of urgency on what comes next.

“We were excited that we were going to enjoy it for the next 20 or 30 minutes or so,” UTSA center Jacob Germany said. “But, we came here to win more than one game. So, we’re all feeling good, confident. But we’re locked into the next one, too.”

The Roadrunners advanced in the bracket into a quarterfinal matchup Thursday against the powerful Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. The tournament is being held at The Star in Frisco.

In running up a 41-26 lead at halftime, the Roadrunners held the 49ers to 28 percent shooting, and senior guard Jhivvan Jackson exploded for 18 points.

UTSA’s defense played well at the outset, as well. Players really clamped down in the closing minutes of the half, limiting the 49ers to 1 of 8 shooting from the floor.

In the half, the 49ers hit only 7 of 25 shots.

Jackson was as good as ever in the early going. He hit two threes and scored 10 in the first eight minutes. For the half, he was 7 of 13 from the field.

UTSA experienced a scare with its leading scorer with about four minutes left before intermission, as he came out of the game holding his left shoulder. Jackson, who had suffered what Coach Steve Henson described as ‘like a stinger,’ returned with 3:49 remaining and played the rest of the way.

In the second half, Jackson wasn’t the same offensively as he went scoreless on 0 for 6 shooting. But as the 49ers rallied to get back into it, Keaton Wallace and Germany stepped in to stop the charge.

Wallace poured in 11 of his team-high 20 points and Germany scored 10 of his 16 after intermission. Germany also finished with 10 rebounds for his first postseason double-double.

Asked if he was worried when the 49ers started to make a run, Germany said, “Mmm, kind of.”

“Coach told us they were going to get into their little groove offensively and try to slow the game down,” he said. “We always knew they would eventually get going. But I think we did a good job in responding and controlling the game.”

For the streaking Roadrunners, it was their 10th win in their last 12 games. It was also their first win at the C-USA tournament since 2018 when they beat UTEP in the opening round before bowing out with a loss to Middle Tennessee in the quarterfinals.

In 2019, the Roadrunners had a first-round bye into the quarterfinals but stumbled in a loss to the UAB Blazers.

Last season, UTSA lost in the opening round, falling to UAB for the second straight year on March 11, the day before the tournament was scrapped because of the pandemic.

Charlotte’s season ended on a nine-game losing streak. The 49ers were led by guards Jordan Shepherd with 20 points and Jahmir Young with 19.


UTSA 15-10
Charlotte 9-16

Coming up

Conference USA quarterfinals
Thursday, at The Star, in Frisco

UTSA vs. Western Kentucky, 5:30 p.m.
Rice vs. UAB, 6 p.m.

Looking ahead

Western Kentucky (18-6) is the No. 1 seed out of the C-USA East Division. The Hilltoppers boast the Player of the Year, center Charles Bassey. Bassey, a 6-11 center, averages 17.6 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.1 blocks.

Guard Taveion Hollingsworth (14.3 points and 2.3 assists) is also a threat. The Hilltoppers won in non- conference play against Memphis, Rhode Island and on the road at Alabama. They topped the C-USA East standings at 11-3. It’s the first game of the tournament for WKU, which earned a first-round bye. Because of the unbalanced schedule this year, the Roadrunners did not play them.

“They had a terrific year,” Henson said. “We didn’t get to play all the teams in the East this year. But we’re excited. We’ve got great respect for them. They’re clearly one of the best teams in the East and the No. 1 seed. We know what Bassey will do, and it’s not a one-man show. You know, and they’ve got some other really, really good players. It’ll take a great effort. But, shoot our guys are fired up. They’re excited.”

UTSA set to play Charlotte in C-USA championships

The UTSA Roadrunners will open play in the Conference USA basketball championships against the Charlotte 49ers, according to the bracket announced Saturday.

The 14-team men’s tournament starts Tuesday with a pair of first-round games at The Star in Frisco. As the No. 4 seed in the West, UTSA will open play in the second round on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. against the 49ers, the No. 5 seed in the East.

UTSA enters tournament play having won nine of its last 11, while Charlotte has lost eight straight. The two teams were scheduled to play Feb. 19-20 in North Carolina, but the games were scrapped because of the winter storm in Texas.

If the Roadrunners beat the 49ers, they would advance to play in the third round Thursday against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, the No. 1 seed in the East. UTSA will need to win four games in four days to secure the C-USA’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

UTSA hasn’t played in the NCAA tournament since 2011.


Charlotte 9-15, 5-11
UTSA 14-10, 9-7


Please click on the link for full details on the C-USA championships.

UTSA road games at Charlotte are postponed

The last road trip of the regular season for the UTSA Roadrunners has been postponed because of winter-weather issues in Texas over the past week, it was announced Thursday night.

UTSA had been scheduled to travel on Thursday afternoon in order to play road games against the Charlotte 49ers on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

But the trip was scrapped in the wake of winter storms that have adversely affected the state of Texas for the past four days. A release from UTSA did not mention possible make up dates.

The Roadrunners (12-9, 8-6 in Conference USA) had won four in a row, sweeping two on the road at Florida International and two at home against Florida Atlantic.

According to the news release, UTSA “will now return to action with its final games of the regular season,” hosting the UAB Blazers Feb. 25-26 at the Convocation Center.