Baseball: UTSA smashes four homers in 21-4 victory over Tarleton

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Trailing by two runs early, the UTSA Roadrunners sent 13 batters to the plate in a seven-run second inning Wednesday night, rolling to an easy 21-4 victory over the Tarleton State Texans.

All told, UTSA stroked 19 hits and four home runs in the midweek home game at Roadrunner Field, avenging a 14-10 loss to the Texans in Stephenville on Feb. 20.

Caleb Hill, Alexander Olivo, James Taussig and Tye Odom all homered for the Roadrunners, who have scored 58 runs in five games since Feb. 27, a nine-day run in which they have compiled a 4-1 record.

Freshman Diego Diaz produced four hits, while Odom and Matt King had three apiece.

Righthander Fischer Kingsbery (1-1) pitched to four batters in relief and struck out all of them for the Roadrunners, who blanked the Texans in six straight innings from the third through the ninth.


Tarleton State 9-5
UTSA 7-6

Coming up

UTSA at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Friday, 7 p.m.


James Taussig, a 6-foot-5, left-side hitter, has homered in three consecutive games. The Houston native has eight RBIs in his last four. Olivo and Hill had two hits apiece against Tarleton and raised their batting averages to .438 and .419, respectively. Kingsbery. a right-handed pitcher, has yielded no runs on two hits in five innings over his last three appearances. In that span, he has struck out nine and walked none.

Roadrunners baseball on the upswing leading into home game vs. Tarleton State

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Back-to-back losses at the Sugar Land Classic a few weeks ago left the UTSA Roadrunners searching for that missing something. A day after dropping a 4-1 decision to the Creighton Bluejays, they gave up five early runs to the Lamar Cardinals and lost 5-3 at Constellation Field.

All in all, a 3-5 record at that point wasn’t what anyone in the Roadrunners’ camp wanted or expected.

Not to worry. The Roadrunners turned it around last week with four victories in five games against solid competition, boosting them to 6-6 leading into a Wednesday night home game against the Tarleton State Texans.

The Roadrunners don’t have everything ironed out in their quest to generate early-season momentum. But in a road victory at the University of Houston and two wins in three days at home over the Grand Canyon University Lopes, they have displayed some of the toughness and resilience that Coach Pat Hallmark always likes to see.

“I didn’t think we were real tough initially,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “We do look like we’re getting tougher. We do look like we’re still resilient and that we like to compete. Maybe another box we need to check is to play better defense and run the bases better. We’re starting to hit a little bit. I’m not disappointed in the pitching despite the total runs (allowed). I think we’re still pitching fine.

“The bats need to stay competitive, which they have been, but the next two boxes is that we need to shore up the defense a little bit. We’re pretty inconsistent there. And the baserunning, I got to look (as head coach) in the mirror on all of it. But if the team doesn’t run the bases good, certainly it could be some coaching there. So, we need to run the bases a little better.”

Coming up

Tarlton State at UTSA, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
UTSA at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Friday, 7 p.m.
UTSA at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
UTSA at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Sunday, 1 p.m.

Triple the fun: Barry’s walk off wins it for UTSA in season opener

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The feeling never gets old for UTSA’s Leyton Barry.

A year ago, he smashed a single to left field that scored the winning run on the last play of a 6-5, 10-inning victory over the Stanford Cardinal.

Jubilant teammates chased him into the outfield in celebration of a win over the No. 2 team in the nation.

Luke Malone. UTSA baseball won its season opener when Leyton Barry's two-run double in the bottom of the ninth gave the Roadrunners a 3-2 victory over Tarleton State at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Luke Malone started and pitched six scoreless innings, allowing only two hits. He walked one and struck out five.- Photo by Joe Alexander

Fast forward 12 months to a cold Friday night at Roadrunner Field, and the dramatics unfolded in much the same fashion.

After fouling off five straight pitches, Barry crushed a fastball into the gap in right field for a triple, scoring two runs and lifting UTSA to a 3-2, season-opening victory over the Tarleton State Texans.

Once again, the Roadrunners streamed out of the dugout and mobbed their man in shallow left field as the fight song played on the public address.

“It was a fastball, basically right down the middle,” Barry said. “Typically, when you foul off so many pitches in a row, at least what you hope as a hitter, if you keep doing your job and keep fighting up there, you’ll get rewarded for it eventually.”

UTSA had to scramble to secure the win from Tarleton, a baseball program in only its third year in NCAA Division I.

The Roadrunners scored in the third inning, bringing in a run from third base on a ground ball to the right side.

It would be the only run for either team entering the ninth, which made it seem like a great opportunity for UTSA to win in a 1-0 shutout. Tarleton, however, had other ideas.

Garrett Poston. UTSA baseball won its season opener when Leyton Barry's two-run double in the bottom of the ninth gave the Roadrunners a 3-2 victory over Tarleton State at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Garrett Poston scored in the third inning after reaching on a walk. It was the only run of the game until the ninth inning. – Photo by Joe Alexander

The Texans produced three, one-out singles off Simon Miller in the top of the ninth to load the bases, bringing Trace Morrison to the plate.

After Morrison grounded a ball toward Barry, the UTSA second baseman, he flipped to shortstop Matt King covering the bag for the force out.

Subsequently, King’s relay skipped past first base for a throwing error, allowing the second run to score on the play and giving the Texans a 2-1 lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, Tarleton sent reliever Jake Burcham to the mound. Burcham, from San Antonio’s Reagan High School, faced his first opponent in UTSA’s Garrett Poston and struck him out looking.

At that point, Burcham started to lose his touch, issuing back-to-back, six-pitch walks to Shane Sirdashney and Taylor Smith. With Barry at the plate, the tension mounted.

“I was thinking, try and fight,” Barry said. “I know they brought in arguably their best pitcher for the last inning, so I knew it was going to be tough, especially when I got to two strikes.

“I just thought, I’m going to have to fight every pitch and remain calm.

Antonio Valdez. UTSA baseball won its season opener when Leyton Barry's two-run double in the bottom of the ninth gave the Roadrunners a 3-2 victory over Tarleton State at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Antonio Valdez started at third base for the Roadrunners and produced three infield assists. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“You know, a lot of guys will maybe tense up in that moment. So, I just tried to remain calm and see the ball well, and it worked out in the end.”

With the count at three balls and one strike, Barry started his foul-ball spree. On the first one, he lofted it high over the net and slightly to the left. The next four, he sprayed them off to the side.

Next came a fastball down the middle, which Barry ripped into the gap in right field.

Initially, it appeared as if right fielder Kooper Shook might run down the ball and make a spectacular catch. But as he sprinted into the gap, the drive started to sink like a backhand with top spin in a tennis match.

Shook didn’t have a chance to get a glove on it, and the game was over.

UTSA coach Pat Hallmark lauded Barry’s clutch hitting, calling it “terrific.”

“He had three or four fouls balls prior to the base hit, but he’s done it before,” Hallmark said. “He did it in the Stanford game. He hit .340 (in batting average) the last two years. Hitting is difficult. You’re never going to produce every time. But I’m not surprised (at Barry). He’s been a producer now going on three years.

“It’s fun to watch. It’s fun to be a part of.”

Pitchers ruled in the opener between the Roadrunners of Conference USA and the Texans of the Western Athletic Conference.

Luke Malone, UTSA’s top starter from a year ago, worked six scoreless innings and allowed only two hits. He walked one and struck out five.

In earning the victory, Miller struck out seven in three innings. He allowed three hits and two runs, only one of which was earned.

For Tarleton, starter Will Stevens worked four frames, throwing pitches that topped out on one radar gun at 101 mph.

Beset with wildness, he walked seven, but he also displayed great stuff and fanned five.

Texans reliever Piercen McElyea also was tough, allowing only two hits while striking out six in four innings. Pitching the ninth and getting only one man out, Burcham took the loss.

Malone set the tone early for UTSA by mixing a fastball and a breaking pitch that he seemed comfortable in throwing on any count.

“Honestly, what a better way to open up the season,” Malone said. “Hell of a pitchers’ duel, awesome defense throughout the game and some timely hitting and great base running.

“What a great way to start the season off.”

Coming up

Tarleton State at UTSA, Saturday, 2 p.m.
Tarleton State at UTSA, Sunday, 1 p.m.

Malone gets opening-day start for UTSA against Tarleton State

UTSA pitcher Luke Malone got the win against Florida International on Friday, April 22, 2022, at Roadrunner Field. - photo by Joe Alexander

Pitcher Luke Malone is expected to take the mound tonight in the season-opener for the UTSA Roadrunners, who will host the Tarleton State Texans in the opener of a three-game series. – File photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Temperatures that could dip into the 30s are expected for the UTSA baseball team’s season opener tonight against the Tarleton State Texans at Roadrunner Field.

Senior righthander Luke Malone is expected to start for the Roadrunners against the Texans’ hard-throwing righty, Will Stevens, with first pitch set for at 6 p.m.

UTSA, of Conference USA, and Tarleton, a third-year Division I program in the Western Athletic Conference, will play again Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

“Everybody’s ready to go,” UTSA coach Pat Hallmark said in an interview on Thursday afternoon after his team’s final preseason practice.

Hallmark said he is unsure of his batting order, though it could be first baseman Garrett Poston leading off, followed by Shane Sirdashney in center field, Leyton Barry at second base and Taylor Smith at designated hitter.

After that, in an order to be determined, fans could see shortstop Matt King, catcher Josh Killeen and third baseman Antonio Valdez among those in the fifth through ninth spots.

The remaining two presumably would be between several players vying for corner outfield positions, including Garrett Brooks, Tye Odom, Isaiah Walker, Caleb Hill and Dalton Porter.

Regardless of the batters in UTSA’s opening-day lineup, they are expected to be challenged by Stevens, a transfer from Wichita State.

Hallmark said he had the pitching machine at Thursday’s practice cranked up to get his players ready for 100-mph fastballs.

The coach expressed cautious optimism about what to expect from his team on opening weekend.

“I think everyone thinks they’re ready until somebody exposes you a little bit,” Hallmark said. “I’ve been around long enough to know, we’ll find a little bit out about ourselves … There’ll be some good and some bad. Hopefully it’ll be a lot more good.”

UTSA will play eight home games over the next 10 days, so fans will likely see much of the Roadrunners’ pitching arsenal. Newcomer Robbie Maldonado is expected to start Saturday and Ulises Quiroga on Sunday.

The back end of the bullpen is one of the team’s strengths, highlighted by Simon Miller and Daniel Shafer.

UTSA had four players named to the preseason all Conference USA squad, led by Barry, a .349 hitter last year, Malone, Miller and Shafer. Malone led UTSA with a 9-3 record and a 2.67 earned run average.

“I expect we’ll throw strikes,” Hallmark said. “I’d be surprised if we don’t throw strikes. Again, I might be surprised. But we got some pitchers back from last year. Some of them (are) proven strike throwers … We played all fall and for the last five weeks, and we’ve been throwing strikes — at least, the guys that you’re going to see initially.”

Pitching rotations

According to the Tarleton State athletics website, here are the starters (with the Texans listed first) matched against the Roadrunners, whose starter were announced Thursday by UTSA coach Pat Hallmark.

Friday: RHP Will Stevens vs. RHP Luke Malone
Saturday: LHP Dylan Delvecchio vs. LHP Robbie Maldonado
Sunday: RHP Hunter Day vs. RHP Ulises Quiroga


This year’s Roadrunners have a tough act to follow. Last year, they dazzled UTSA fans with one of the better seasons in school history. They went 38-20 and reached the championship game of the Conference USA tournament. Though they failed to make the NCAA tournament, they won 11 games against ranked teams and finished a program-best 37th in the RPI.