Dallas Baptist clinches C-USA title by sweeping UTSA

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Give the Dallas Baptist Patriots some credit. On a weekend that featured a few late-night lightning storms in San Antonio, they brought the the thunder to Roadrunner Field.

The Patriots clinched the Conference USA title Sunday with a 9-6 victory, their third straight in a historic three-game series.

It was the first time in UTSA school history that two teams entered a weekend series on campus nationally ranked. Both lived up to the billing, too, though 18th-ranked Dallas Baptist made more plays and produced more key hits when it counted.

No. 22 UTSA had no reason to hang its head, though. The Roadrunners battled it out to the end in all three games and, moreover, they drew close to 1,000 fans to see a Friday night doubleheader and another 487 on Sunday.

After the school song was played, a fan seated high in the aluminum bleachers stood up and delivered a message to players on the field.

“Good job, guys,” he said. “Thanks for bringing baseball back to San Antonio.”

At least two Roadrunners said later that they heard the comment, a welcome message to a group that held the lead in the C-USA standings for half the season, only to see another team clinch near the end of the campaign on their home field.

“It’s cool to see the impact we’re having in San Antonio,” catcher Josh Killeen said. “It’s pretty neat what we’ve already accomplished. (But) we still have a chance. Conference tournament (is coming up). So, we’re not going to hang our heads here. Obviously, we wanted to pull out a game this week. But it just didn’t go our way.”

The Roadrunners fell behind 8-0 with the Patriots roaring out of the gates with three runs in the first inning and five more in the second. But in keeping with their mindset all season, they kept grinding, scoring two runs in each the fifth and sixth innings to pull within 9-6.

In the end, the Patriots’ defense rose up to meet the challenge.

The Roadrunners left three men on base in the seventh when left fielder Grant Jay robbed Leyton Barry of extra bases on a tumbling catch.

In the eighth, they had another opportunity shut down when third baseman Kodie Kolden stretched out to spear a line drive off the bat of Caleb Hill, who was thinking extra bases when he hit it.

Hill just shook his head and credited the Patriots for making the plays, but he also commented on how the Roadrunners may have sparked a change in attitude in terms of baseball appreciation on campus.

“I think Friday, I realized how many people we had (in the park) at the doubleheader, at both games,” he said. “That’s what I’ve noticed, that the fan base has grown. It just really means a lot that everyone’s been so supportive this year.

“The weekend didn’t go the way we wanted it, but it was a really fun, competitive series.”

The Patriots won 11-7 and 11-9 in two nine-inning games played Friday. Officials decided to play two on the opening day to allow for impending stormy weather. In each game, the newcomers in the conference clubbed three home runs in each game and hit both of UTSA’s best pitchers hard.

After taking Saturday off because of wet grounds, the teams took to the field Sunday under mostly sunny skies. The Patriots took advantage of a leadoff walk in each of the first two innings and four overall during that stretch to jump out to a big lead.

Nathan Humphreys, named last week as the national hitter of the week by one service, clubbed a two-run double in both the first and second innings.

Trailing 8-0, the Roadrunners finally got on the board in the bottom of the second when Killeen barreled a ball over the left field fence for a solo homer.

Killeen also homered in each of the first two games of the series, including a memorable eighth-inning grand in Game 2 that tied the score.

UTSA has some issues to iron out before they conclude the regular season Tuesday at Abilene Christian and Thursday through Saturday at Louisiana Tech. Killeen’s swing, however, is not one of them.

Killen said he “was on the attack” in each at-bat against the Patriots.

“I felt really good with being free with my hands,” he said. “And, yeah, they gave me some good pitches to hit.”

“They’re a very good program,” he said. “They’re good on the mound. They’re very good at the plate, and they play really good defense. They kind of hit every facet of the game really well, so hats off to them, to what they did this week. Yeah, they’re a good program and we hope to see them again at the conference tournament.”


Dallas Baptist 23-4, 40-12
UTSA 19-7, 36-15

Coming up

UTSA at Abilene Christian, Tuesday
UTSA at Louisiana Tech, Thursday through Saturday
UTSA at Conference USA tournament, in Houston, at Rice University, May 24-28

C-USA standings

x-Dallas Baptist 23-4, 40-12
UTSA 19-7, 36-15
Western Kentucky 15-12, 30-22
Charlotte 14-12, 25-25
Florida Atlantic 14-13, 30-22
Middle Tennessee 14-13, 25-24
Louisiana Tech 14-13, 26-27
FIU 7-20, 20-31
Rice 7-20, 18-34
UAB 7-20, 16-34

x-clinched regular-season title

C-USA showdown: Dallas Baptist hits three home runs to down UTSA, 11-7

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Opponents have little room for error when they face the explosive Dallas Baptist Patriots.

Two or three mistakes in a nine-inning game, and the Patriots can bury a team in a deep hole in a hurry. That is pretty much what happened to UTSA on Friday afternoon at Roadrunner Field.

Luke Malone. UTSA played Dallas Baptist in the opener of a Conference USA baseball series on Thursday, May 12, 2023, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Luke Malone, pitching in relief, yielded 10 runs on nine hits in 6 and 2/3 innings to take the loss against Dallas Baptist. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Ethan Mann, George Specht and Nathan Humphreys homered as 18th-ranked Dallas Baptist rolled to an 11-7 victory over No. 22 UTSA, solidifying its hold on first place in Conference USA.

Mann belted a three-run home run in the third inning. In the fifth, George Specht socked a grand slam over the centerfield wall to highlight a five-run outburst. Humphreys belted a two-run shot in the eighth.

The outburst gave Dallas Baptist, one of the best home-run hitting teams in NCAA Division I, 92 homers in 50 games this season.

With stormy weather in the forecast, the teams are scheduled to play the second game of a doubleheader Friday night. A third game would be played, weather permitting, on either Saturday or Sunday.

Dallas Baptist got the jump on UTSA in the series and increased its lead on UTSA to a game and a half despite three hits each from Dalton Porter and Garrett Poston and two RBIs each from Leyton Barry, Antonio Valdez and Josh Killeen.

Killeen hit a two-run homer for the Roadrunners in the bottom of the ninth to account for the final runs of the game The Roadrunners had two runners on base when the Patriots retired Barry and Taylor Smith to end it.


Dallas Baptist 21-4, 38-12
UTSA 19-5, 36-13

Coming up

Dallas Baptist at UTSA, Friday, 6:30 p.m. (second game of a doubleheader)
Dallas Baptist at UTSA, TBA, either Saturday or Sunday, weather permitting

UTSA rallies with three runs in the ninth to beat Houston Christian, 9-8

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The 23rd-ranked UTSA Roadrunners rallied with three runs in the bottom of the ninth Tuesday night to defeat the Houston Christian Huskies, 9-8.

The game was tied with two out when UTSA’s Matt King stepped to the plate with bases loaded against Houston Christian reliever Javan Smitherman. King was hit by a pitch to force in the winning run.

At one point in the game, the Roadrunners trailed 6-0 on their home field and appeared to be on the way to back-to-back losses.

Undeterred, they scored three runs in the third inning, one in the fourth, twice in the seventh and three times in the ninth to claim their 31st victory of the season.

With UTSA down 8-6 going into its last at bat, Leyton Barry opened the ninth inning with a triple off Smitherman. The HCU righthander promptly steadied himself and retired the next two batters, getting Taylor Smith to foul out and Antonio Valdez to ground back to the mound.

Needing one more out to nail down what would have been one of Houston Christian’s best victories of the season, Smitherman couldn’t get it. Josh Killeen doubled to drive in Barry, trimming the lead to 8-7.

Smitherman promptly walked Caleb Hill on four pitches and then was tagged for an RBI single by Sammy Diaz. While Killeen scored, Hill advanced to third. Freshman Garrett Brooks then drew a walk to load the bases, setting the stage for the game winner.

For UTSA, Killeen had two hits and three RBIs. Hill had three hits and two RBIs. Ryan Beaird pitched the final 1 and 1/3 innings to earn the victory.

Reed Chumley had four hits for HCU and belted a two-run homer. Also for the visitors, outfielder Damian Ruiz had three hits and threw out a runner at the plate to choke off a seventh-inning rally.

With one out in the seventh, Caleb Hill tripled to left center field to drive in two runs, trimming the HCU lead to 8-6. On the next play, Diaz flied out to Ruiz, who threw from right field to the plate cut down Hill for the last out.

UTSA entered the game ranked in the national top 25 for the second week in a row and for the third time this month. This week, the Roadrunners were 23rd by Baseball America and 25th by D1 Baseball.


Houston Christian 8-28
UTSA 31-10

Coming up

UTSA at UAB, three-game series starting Friday.

Bullpen-rich UTSA holds off Western Kentucky to clinch a C-USA home series

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Right now, Pat Hallmark has more aces than a card shark in poker.

Just when you think he’s in trouble in a baseball game, the coach of the UTSA Roadrunners looks down to the bullpen and motions for another pitcher to get loose.

Most of the time, the move serves to frustrate the opposing team.

Hallmark was up to his old tricks again Saturday. His starter didn’t make it through the third inning, so he called on freshman Ruger Riojas.

Riojas, Daniel Shafer and Simon Miller combined for 6 and 1/3 innings of relief on a hot and muggy afternoon, helping the Roadrunners hold off the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, 5-4.

As a result, UTSA (22-6, 7-1) won its first two in a three-game home series to maintain its hold on first place in Conference USA.

Western Kentucky (16-12, 2-6) battled hard and held a 2-1 lead through the middle of the fourth inning.

But after UTSA scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth, an outburst highlighted by Josh Killeen’s two-out, two-run single, the Roadrunners never trailed again.

Though the Roadrunners have scored C-USA series victories against FAU, Rice and Western Kentucky, their ride hasn’t been without its bumps.

For instance, coming into the weekend, a once red-hot offense cooled off a bit and UTSA lost three of five overall, all on the road, including non-conference losses at UT-Rio Grande Valley and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

The offense remains in something of a funk, having struck for only four hits in a 3-2 victory Friday night and six more on Saturday.

Thanks to the pitching, though, UTSA has a chance to go for the sweep tomorrow.

“We’re kind of a little displaced with the offense at the moment,” Killeen said. “Hitting comes and goes. It kind of comes in waves. So it’s good to take the series already.”

Riojas (3-0) pitched three innings, yielding single runs in the fourth and in the sixth, to earn the victory.

More importantly to the big picture, he remained undefeated in his first season of college baseball out of Wimberley High School.

“He’s a great pitcher for us,” Killeen said. “We saw it in the fall. He has a really good fastball that kind of takes off out of his hand. Mixes with a pretty good breaker that he hits for strikes.

We like that. And he also can throw his change up pretty well, too. It’s also hard. It’s not a floating changeup. But, he’s got a lot of confidence. We knew that from the start.”

Riojas just looks comfortable on the mound. Even though he entered in the top of the third with bases loaded in a 1-1 game, the 5-foot-11 righthander escaped unscathed by getting a ground ball to end the inning.

“Just wanted to do my job,” he said, “throw strikes and hit my spots as best I could each and every pitch.”

Western Kentucky touched him for four hits as he worked into the sixth inning, including a solo home run by Ty Batusich leading off the fourth.

But he didn’t walk anyone, which has become a trademark. Riojas has walked only five while striking out 22 in 21 innings this season.

His earned run average has increased over his past few outings against Rice and WKU, respectively, but it’s still a more than respectable 3.00 for the season.

“Honestly, I think it’s going really good (for me),” Riojas said, “trusting my stuff, trusting my defense. Just letting my body work as it should … I love it. Just happy to be out there.”

Teammates say Riojas has played quite a bit of baseball in his career, which accounts for his poise in tough situations.

“It’s a lot different than high school,” he said. “I played at a small 4A in the area. There wasn’t as much competition as there is here. Every hitter you face here is good. Staying on top of that I think (is important).”

It also helps that when he gets in trouble, as he did in the sixth when he yielded a two-out single and then hit a batter, he had Shafer to come in behind him.

Though Bret Blomquist greeted Shafer with an RBI double down the line, that was the extent of the damage. With runners at second and third, Andrew Delaney popped up in the infield to end the threat, leaving UTSA with a 5-3 lead going into the late innings.

Shafer retired three straight in the seventh and three of four in the eighth, keeping WKU off the board in each inning.

In the ninth, Shafer was about the close out the game, but a throwing error by first baseman Sammy Diaz on a potential double play ball loaded the bases and kept the door open for the Hilltoppers.

Aidan Gilroy responded with a fly ball that brought in a run for the final 5-4 margin. But with dangerous Drew Reckart coming to the plate, Hallmark didn’t want to take any chances. He called for Miller, who is enjoying one of the best seasons statistically in the nation.

Miller struck out Reckart on three pitches for his fifth save of the season and his second in two days. On the last pitch, WKU’s runs batted in leader was caught looking, as a Miller slider bit down to catch the inside corner.

“Sometimes his slider likes to break hard, and then sometimes it kind of sits,” Killeen said. “It’s hard to hit if you don’t know which slider is coming. That was pretty impressive by him, that last (at bat).”


Western Kentucky 16-12, 2-6
UTSA 22-6, 7-1

Coming up

Western Kentucky at UTSA, Sunday, 12:30 p.m.


With the series finale scheduled Sunday afternoon, the Roadrunners have the best record after 28 games (22-6) in school history, one game ahead of the 1994 team (21-7).

For perspective, Coach Jimmy Shankle’s ’94 team was 12-3 at home and 9-4 on the road in its opening 28. This year, by contrast, Hallmark’s fourth UTSA team has played a home-heavy schedule. UTSA is 17-3 at Roadrunner Field and 5-3 on the road …

Catchers normally don’t bat leadoff, but Josh Killeen isn’t paying attention to that. With Hallmark tweaking the lineup, the senior from Reagan High School is just trying to make hard contact.

He’s hit in the No. 1 hole the past two games. On Friday night, Killeen went one for three and scored a run. On Saturday, he went two for four and drove in two. In the process, he boosted his batting average to .362, which is No. 2 on the team.

“I enjoy the position,” Killeen said. “I think it’s great. I’m just sticking with my approach. Not trying to do anything more, anything less. A lot of people like to think, ‘Oh, you get to see more pitches.’ I just like to see a pitch and hammer it.” …

Simon Miller, in 12 appearances this season, has constructed a 6-0 win-loss record, with an 0.59 ERA. At the start of the week, he led the nation with an 0.64 ERA and was also tied for the national lead with the six victories. He’s had saves in UTSA’s two home games this weekend, boosting his season total to five.

JB’s video replay

UTSA run ends in CUSA title game; NCAA tournament probably up next

UTSA's Ryan Flores, shown in a May 29 home game, homered in the ninth inning of Sunday's game. - file photo

UTSA’s Ryan Flores, shown in a May 29 home game, homered in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game. – file photo

(Editor’s note: Updated with all-tournament team members)

Louisiana Tech edged UTSA 9-8 in a back-and-forth game in the Conference USA baseball tournament title game Sunday in Hattiesburg, Miss.

The Bulldogs ended the Roadrunners’ quest for the tournament title and the NCAA tournament automatic bid that goes with it.

UTSA (38-20) has never received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, but that is expected to change this week. The Roadrunners’ credentials for an at-large bid this season include 11 victories over nationally ranked teams and a strong showing in the CUSA tournament. The NCAA tournament teams will be announced Monday at 11 a.m.

UTSA won its first three games of the CUSA tournament to reach the title game. Lousiana Tech was playing its third game in three days, including a loss to Old Dominion on Saturday.

The Roadrunners came from behind multiple times in the game. UTSA’s Ryan Flores led off the top of the ninth with a home run to tie it 8-8. Louisiana Tech’s Steele Netter singled down the right-field line with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to drive home the winning run.

After Louisiana Tech retook the lead 6-5 in the bottom of the sixth, UTSA went in front 7-6 in the top of the seventh on a two-run homer by Ian Bailey, his team-high 16th blast of the season. Louisiana Tech immediately answered and took the lead 8-7 with two runs in the bottom of the seventh.

That set the stage for the dramatic ninth inning.

Louisiana Tech took an early lead with two runs in the bottom of the first.

UTSA went in front with a four-run fourth inning that saw the Roadrunners go from three runs down to a 4-3 lead in the stretch of three batters. UTSA got the rally going with a leadoff walk by Josh Killeen, a double by Chase Keng and then Bailey was hit-by-pitch. Garrett Poston broke the scoring ice with a two-run, bases-loaded double. Groundball outs by Matt King and Jonathan Tapia brought in a run each to tie the game and then put UTSA in front.


UTSA 38-20
Louisiana Tech 42-19


– Louisiana Tech had nine hits in the title game, to seven for UTSA. No UTSA batter had more than one hit.

– UTSA used seven pitchers. Ulises Quiroga had the longest stretch on the mound. He went 2 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed one hit with two strikeouts and one walk.

– Braylon Owens pitched the eighth and nine innings and took the loss.

– UTSA’s Flores, Keng, Poston and Luke Malone were named to the 2022 CUSA all-tournament team.


Game 1: Old Dominion 18, Middle Tennessee 7 (7 innings)

Game 2: Louisiana Tech 4, Charlotte 0

Game 3: Southern Miss 4, UAB 3

Game 4: UTSA vs. Florida Atlantic, postponed until Thursday, 9 a.m.


Game 4: UTSA 6, Florida Atlantic 4

Game 5: Charlotte 22, Middle Tennessee 0

Game 6: Louisiana Tech 7, Old Dominion 2

Game 7: Florida Atlantic 11, UAB 1 (7 innings)

Game 8: Southern Miss vs. UTSA, postponed until Friday, 10 a.m.


Game 8: UTSA 7, Southern Miss 6

Game 9: Old Dominion 13, Charlotte 4

Game 10: Southern Miss 5, Florida Atlantic 0


Game 11: Old Dominion 9, Louisiana Tech 6, 13 innings

Game 12: UTSA 11, Southern Miss 2 (Southern Miss eliminated)

Game 13: Louisiana Tech 8, Old Dominion 7 (Old Dominion eliminated)


Game 15: Championship – Louisiana Tech 9, UTSA 8

UTSA rolls into CUSA tournament title game; Hallmark said Roadrunners are NCAA worthy

UTSA's Daniel Garza pitching against Marshall on May 6, 2022, at Roadrunner Field. - photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Daniel Garza, shown in a May 6 home game, pitched eight innings in relief Saturday as the Roadrunners clinched a spot in the CUSA tournament championship game – file photo.

(Updated with late Louisiana Tech-Old Dominion game)

UTSA is headed for the Conference USA tournament championship game – and probably the NCAA tournament as well.

The Roadrunners stayed unbeaten in the conference tournament with an 11-2 beatdown of top-seeded Southern Miss on Saturday afternoon.

UTSA will play Louisiana Tech in the tournament title game Sunday at 1 p.m. in Hattiesburg, Miss. Louisiana Tech beat Old Dominion 8-7 in Saturday’s late game to advance.

The Roadrunners have 11 victories this season over nationally ranked teams – including two this week against 14th ranked Southern Miss.

UTSA was projected to need two victories in the conference tournament to have a good shot at an NCAA tournament at-large bid. The Roadrunners not only have three wins this week, they are one win away from winning the CUSA tournament and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Roadrunners coach Pat Hallmark was asked in a postgame interview on ESPN+ if UTSA had done enough to earn an NCAA tournament berth. He answered unequivocally.

“Yes, sure. No doubt,” Hallmark said. “Look who we’re beating. That’s an unbelievable team. We come into their place and beat them twice. Look at everybody else we beat. We beat Stanford, TCU. We beat everybody they put in front of us. So yes, no doubt.”

UTSA took an early lead on Garrett Poston’s two-run homer in the second inning. They added two runs in the third and took control with a six-run outburst in the top of the eighth.

For the second time in the tournament, the Roadrunners got a big relief performance from a pitcher who has experience as a starter. Daniel Garza entered the game in the second inning and held Southern Miss scoreless until the seventh.

Garza, a starter or longer-innings pitcher most of the season, went in with a runner on base and no outs in the second. He got Southern Miss to hit into double plays in the second and third innings. He finished the game, allowing two runs in eight innings and throwing 113 pitches.

UTSA outfielder Garrett Poston batting against Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at Roadrunner Field. - photo by Joe Alexander

Garrett Poston, shown earlier in the season, hit a two-run homer Saturday to give UTSA a 2-0 lead. – file photo

UTSA got the early 2-0 advantage when Poston hit a home run with Josh Killeen on base in the second inning. It was the second blast of the season for the sophomore from League City.

UTSA added on two runs in the top of the third. Jonathan Tapia led off with a walk and Leyton Barry singled to second. An error left runners on second and third with no outs. Shane Sirdashney’s sacrifice fly brought in Tapia to make it 3-0. Killeen’s one out bunt scored Leyton from third to make it 4-0.

Southern Miss scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to 4-2. UTSA answered forcefully. Ian Bailey walked and Poston, King, Tapia, Barry, Sirdashney and Flores strung together hits in the top of the eighth as the Roadrunners scored six runs to pull away.

UTSA, the top hitting team in CUSA for the season, finished the game with 15 hits.

“It’s high,” Hallmark said of the Roadrunners’ confidence at the plate. “But we’re a pretty good hitting team. We led the league in average and some other stuff. Top three in pretty much everything. They’ve been confident all year. They’re good baseball players.”


UTSA 38-19

Southern Miss 43-16


– UTSA had pitchers turn in eight or more innings in relief in two of its three games in the tournament. Luke Malone went nine innings and 107 pitches on Thursday and Garza went eight innings and 113 pitches on Saturday.

“Both of them have guts and they’re pretty good pitchers too,” Hallmark said. “We love their guts.”

– UTSA got production from the bottom of the order. Poston batted eighth and had two hits including his home run. King batted ninth and had two hits and two RBI.

– Flores stayed hot at the plate, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. He batted .684 (13-for-19) in five games against Southern Miss this season:
May 13 – 3-4, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB
May 14 – 2-3, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, HR
May 15 – 3-4, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, HR
May 27 – 2-4, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, HR
May 28 – 3-4, 1 RBI, 0 R, 1 BB
Total – 13-19, 8 RBI, 5 R, 5 BB, 3 HR


Game 1: Old Dominion 18, Middle Tennessee 7 (7 innings)

Game 2: Louisiana Tech 4, Charlotte 0

Game 3: Southern Miss 4, UAB 3

Game 4: UTSA vs. Florida Atlantic, postponed until Thursday, 9 a.m.


Game 4: UTSA 6, Florida Atlantic 4

Game 5: Charlotte 22, Middle Tennessee 0

Game 6: Louisiana Tech 7, Old Dominion 2

Game 7: Florida Atlantic 11, UAB 1 (7 innings)

Game 8: Southern Miss vs. UTSA, postponed until Friday, 10 a.m.


Game 8: UTSA 7, Southern Miss 6

Game 9: Old Dominion 13, Charlotte 4

Game 10: Southern Miss 5, Florida Atlantic 0


Game 11: Old Dominion 9, Louisiana Tech 6, 13 innings

Game 12: UTSA 11, Southern Miss 2 (Southern Miss eliminated)

Game 13: Louisiana Tech 8, Old Dominion 7 (Old Dominion eliminated)


Game 15: Championship – UTSA vs. Louisiana Tech, 1 p.m.

UTSA knocking on door of NCAA tournament after win over Southern Miss

UTSA's Ryan Flores homered in the ninth inning for the winning run against Southern Miss in the Conference USA tournament on Friday, May 27, 2022. - file photo

UTSA’s Ryan Flores homered in the ninth inning for the winning run against Southern Miss in the Conference USA tournament on Friday, May 27, 2022. – file photo

(Updated with result of Game 9 and 10)

Expectations around UTSA were that the Roadrunners needed two wins in the Conference USA baseball tournament to be in strong position to earn an NCAA tournament at-large bid.

The ultimate outcome from UTSA’s standpoint would be to win the CUSA tournament and the automatic bid that comes with it.

UTSA claimed its second CUSA tournament win Friday morning in Hattiesburg, Miss. The Roadrunners beat top-seeded Southern Miss 7-6 in the winners bracket.

The Roadrunners (37-19) advanced to Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. CUSA tournament quarterfinals with a chance to advance to Sunday’s championship. They will face Southern Miss one more time.

A back-and-forth game came down to a solo home run by UTSA’s Ryan Flores in the top of the ninth. That broke a 6-6 tie. It was his third home run against Southern Miss this season – all on the Golden Eagles’ home field.

“Clearly he likes to hit here,” UTSA coach Pat Hallmark said in a postgame interview on ESPN+. “We played here two weeks ago. He hit the ball well here and they’ve got the best pitching staff in the league and one of the best staffs in the country. Flo just likes hitting here I guess so I hope he stays hot.”

Simon Miller (4-3) pitched the final 2 2/3 innings for UTSA to earn the win. He allowed one run on two hits.

The Roadrunners scored one or two runs in each of the last four innings in a game that stayed close the whole way.

Matt King and Jonathan Tapia hit back-to-back doubles in the top of the eighth – King scoring on Tapia’s hit to put UTSA in front 6-5. Southern Miss scored in the bottom of the inning to even it at 6-6.

“I’m a little flustered,” Hallmark said. “We didn’t play great. We made some mistakes. I think we played really hard.

“They’re (Southern Miss) tough. They’re playing at home. They got the crowd. Then we turned it back around.”

UTSA scored twice in the seventh. The Roadrunners took advantage of a two-run error. That set up a run by Leyton Barry from third on a ground ball and a run by Shane Sirdashney on a Josh Killeen hit.

The Roadrunners got a run in the sixth when Garrett Poston doubled in Chase Keng.

UTSA got on the board first with two runs in the top of the third. King scored from third on a fielder’s choice and Killeen singled in Barry.


UTSA has played Southern Miss four times in 2022 – all on the Golden Eagles’ home field in Hattiesburg. Flores had hits in all four games including home runs in three of four:

1st game – 3-4, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB
2nd game – 2-3, 3 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, HR
3rd game – 3-4, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB, HR
4th game – 2-4, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, HR
Totals – 10-15, 8 RBI, 5 R, 4 BB, 3 HR


UTSA awaits the winner of Friday’s 5 p.m. elimination game. As of now, that could set up yet another meeting with Southern Miss, which faces Florida Atlantic.

UTSA had 12 hits including two each from Tapia, Barry, Flores, Killeen and King. The Roadrunners recorded three doubles.


Game 1: Old Dominion 18, Middle Tennessee 7 (7 innings)

Game 2: Louisiana Tech 4, Charlotte 0

Game 3: Southern Miss 4, UAB 3

Game 4: UTSA vs. Florida Atlantic, postponed until Thursday, 9 a.m.


Game 4: UTSA 6, Florida Atlantic 4

Game 5: Charlotte 22, Middle Tennessee 0

Game 6: Louisiana Tech 7, Old Dominion 2

Game 7: Florida Atlantic 11, UAB 1 (7 innings)

Game 8: Southern Miss vs. UTSA, postponed until Friday, 10 a.m.


Game 8: UTSA 7, Southern Miss 6

Game 9: Old Dominion 13, Charlotte 4

Game 10: Southern Miss 5, Florida Atlantic 0


Game 11: Lousiana Tech vs. Old Dominion, 9 a.m.

Game 12: UTSA vs. Southern Miss, 12:30 p.m.

Game 13: TBD, if necessary, 4 p.m.

Game 14: TBD, if necessary, 7:30


Game 15: Championship, 1 p.m.

Roadrunners win again, pull to within two games of first place

The UTSA Roadrunners continued their hot roll on offense Saturday afternoon, pounding out 15 hits and two home runs in a 12-4 Conference USA road victory over the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.

With the win, the surging Roadrunners pulled to within two games of the first-place Southern Miss Golden Eagles in the C-USA standings.

Earlier in the afternoon, the UAB Blazers beat the Golden Eagles, 3-2. Coming into the weekend, Southern Miss had won 15 straight. Now, the Golden Eagles have dropped two straight to the Blazers in Birmingham, a development that has allowed the Roadrunners to sneak into the title chase.

Meanwhile, in Murfreesboro, Tenn., UTSA won its second game in two days against Middle Tennessee and its sixth straight overall. Over its last 20 games, UTSA has won 17 of them. Also in the last 20, the statistics indicate that the Roadrunners are winning with hitting, averaging .324 in that stretch.

UTSA finished 15-for-43 at the plate against Middle Tennessee on Saturday. Josh Killeen stood out by smashing a third-inning grand slam to highlight a 4-for-5 performance. Killeen finished the day with 4 RBIs. Not to be outdone, Ian Bailey added a three-run homer in the ninth, as UTSA scored four runs in the final frame to put the game away.

Luke Malone (7-1) pitched 6 and 2/3 innings for the victory. He gave up three runs and nine hits along the way, but he also got some big outs. Malone fanned five. Peyton Wigginton (5-4) took the loss for the Blue Raiders. He gave up eight runs, seven of them earned, in 4 and 2/3 innings.

Jackson Galloway went 5-for-5 for Middle Tennessee, which had won five consecutive C-USA series coming into the weekend. Entering the series, Middle Tennessee had the second best RPI in the conference at 48th, while UTSA, in 51st, was third.

UTSA has won the first two games in dominant fashion, 13-2 and 12-4. The Roadrunners have hit six home runs combined in two days at Reese Smith Jr. Field. The finale of the three-game series is set for Sunday morning, with the first pitch at 11 a.m.


UTSA 30-13, 14-6
Middle Tennessee 21-19, 11-9


The Roadrunners are 236 for 727 at the plate as a team (.324) over their last 20 games. They’ve also scored 195 runs (9.75 per game) during that stretch. In terms of power, they have hit 20 home runs over their last 20. But, in essence, most of their long-ball damage has been done recently, with 11 round-trippers in their last six outings.

C-USA leaders

Southern Miss 16-4
UTSA 14-6
Louisiana Tech 13-7
Florida Atlantic 12-8
Middle Tennessee 11-9
Old Dominion 11-9

Coming up

Sunday — UTSA at Middle Tennessee, 11:30 a.m.

What cold weather? UTSA stays hot with its third straight victory

For the third time in two days, UTSA played a game in weather better suited for outdoor hockey than baseball. Only this time, a light rain greeted the team when it showed up Saturday morning for a noon start against the Seattle Redhawks.

“We had some bad weather this morning,” Roadrunners catcher Josh Killeen said. “Light drizzle. Really cold. To get loose, it takes awhile. We got here early to run around and get our legs moving, to get our arms moving so we could feel good for the game.”

With his motor running, Killeen stepped up to the plate in his first at bat and drilled a long home run into the screen in left field.

“Felt great,” said Killeen, a sophomore from Reagan. “I knew, right off the bat (that it was a homer). It was first pitch. I was ready for a fastball, and he came in with it. I just did what I did.”

After UTSA scored twice in the first inning and once in the second off Killeen’s first home run of the season, the pitching took over, with Ulises Quiroga, Simon Miller, Grant Miller and Ryan Ward combining on a four-hit shutout in an 11-0 victory.

UTSA blew it open with six runs in the seventh inning en route to a 5-1 start to the season and a 3-0 start to the first homestand. The Roadrunners will finish the four-game home series against Seattle Sunday at noon, before nationally-ranked Stanford comes in Monday for a 1 p.m. game.

“Feels good to start off right,” Killeen said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who’ve stepped up, even guys off the bench. So, we’re excited. Just trying to keep this momentum going into tomorrow. And then it’s a big week ahead, with Stanford. So we’re excited and ready to get after it.”

After winning 7-3 and 3-2 on Friday, the Roadrunners left the park feeling a little bit uneasy about their performance.

“I didn’t think we played very good yesterday and we won two,” UTSA coach Pat Hallmark said. “That’s what the message to the team was. We were fortunate, lucky a little bit, maybe. Also, the message was, how good can we be if we play good. Right? You win two and you don’t play good, it’s kind of a good sign.

“But we were better today. We pitched well. We hit well, and we ran the bases well. We did not run the bases well yesterday. Anyway, we were better.”

Last year, pitching haunted the Roadrunners in a 22-26 season. Their ERA was 5.92. Teams scored almost eight runs per game against them. They lost so many leads late in games, it felt like collapses were almost inevitable.

Now they’re three games into their first homestand, and they’ve given up only five runs in 25 innings against the Redhawks. For the season, they’ve really only had one clunker of a pitching outing in a 12-1 loss at Tarleton last week.

On Saturday, the Roadrunners walked too many batters. They walked 12, which will not be good enough when they face the best hitting teams later in the season. But for the second day in a row, UTSA pitchers were good enough to buckle down and throw good stuff with men on base.

“It was good to see Simon Miller pitch as well as he did,” Hallmark said. “We need him, because he’s got the stuff to beat good teams. You know, the Southern Miss of the world. He’s got the stuff to do it. He just needs experience and (to throw) the strikes.”

Miller pitched the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to earn the victory. He seemed to get stronger as he threw more and more pitches. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound sophomore from Canton didn’t allow a hit and struck out five, though he did walk four.

“He got the breaking ball going,” Hallmark said. “He’s got a good breaking ball. He found the strike zone with it. He can be tough when he does that.”

After being limited to eight hits in Friday night’s second game, the Roadrunners rebounded with 10 hits, including four for extra bases. Leyton Barry, Chase Keng and Killeen had two hits apiece. Led by Barry, who is hitting .409 on the season, the Roadrunners have six players batting better than .300.

After going 2 for 5, Killeen boosted his average to .278. He said he is feeling good after hurting his thumb and playing as the No. 2 catcher behind Nick Thornquist last year. Killeen broke a thumb in his wrist area in the preseason and just wasn’t right physically.

He emerged fromm it all as one of the team’s best hitters in the fall. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Killeen said. “I knew I had put in all the work. Now it’s just God’s gift to me, blessing me. (Just) hoping it continues.”

Coming up

Sunday — Seattle at UTSA, noon
Monday — Stanford at UTSA, 1 p.m.