Postseason honors: UTSA lands four on AAC first team

Four baseball players from the UTSA Roadrunners have been named all-conference first team in the American Athletic Conference, according to a news release.

The four included centerfielder Mason Lytle, who was also named as the AAC’s Newcomer Position Player of the Year. The others were pitcher Ulises Quiroga, shortstop Matt King and designated hitter Alexander Olivo.

Landing on the second team were a pair of UTSA players in relief pitching ace Ruger Riojas and leftfielder Caleb Hill. All-Freshman honors went to UTSA’s Robert Orloski and second baseman Diego Diaz.

The postseason honors were announced in a release on Monday afternoon. UTSA is set to play the Charlotte 49ers Tuesday at 3 p.m. in Clearwater, Fla., on opening day of the six-day American Baseball Championship, a tournament consisting of the top eight teams in the AAC.

AAC Baseball Honors

Player of the Year – Carter Cunningham, Sr., 1B, East Carolina

Pitcher of the Year – Trey Yesavage, Jr., East Carolina*

Newcomer Position Player of the Year – Mason Lytle, Jr., OF, UTSA

Newcomer Pitcher of the Year – Tommy LaPour, Fr., Wichita State

Defensive Player of the Year – Ryley Johnson, Jr., OF, East Carolina

Coach of the Year – Cliff Godwin, East Carolina

First-team all conference

P – Blayze Berry, Sr., UAB*
P – Trey Yesavage, Jr., East Carolina*
P – Ulises Quiroga, Sr., UTSA
P – Caden Favors, Sr., Wichita State
RP – Wyatt Lunsford-Shenkman, Jr., East Carolina
C – Justin Wilcoxen, Sr., East Carolina
1B – Carter Cunningham, Sr., East Carolina*
2B – Bobby Boser, Jr., South Florida
SS – Matt King, Jr., UTSA
3B – Gavin Schulz, Jr., Tulane
OF – Jacob Jenkins-Cowart, Jr., East Carolina
OF – Ryley Johnson, Jr., East Carolina
OF – Mason Lytle, Jr., UTSA
DH – Alexander Olivo, Sr., UTSA
UTL – Ben Rozenblum, R-Sr., South Florida

All-Conference Second Team

P – Colin Daniel, So., UAB
P – Danny Beal, Sr., East Carolina
P – C.J. Williams, Sr., Florida Atlantic
P – Tommy LaPour, Fr., Wichita State
RP – Ruger Riojas, So., UTSA
C – Colin Tuft, Jr., Tulane
1B – Brady Marget, Jr., Tulane
2B – Connor Rasmussen, So., Tulane
SS – Gavin Lewis Jr, Jr., UAB
3B – Camden Johnson, Fr., Wichita State
OF – Caleb Hill, Sr., UTSA
OF – Derek Williams, Jr., Wichita State
OF – Logan Braunschweig, Jr., UAB
DH – Ryan McCrystal, Jr., East Carolina
UTL – Michael Lombardi, So., Tulane

All-Freshman Team – Bristol Carter, OF, East Carolina; Ethan Norby, P, East Carolina*; Trey Beard, P, Florida Atlantic; Emilio Gonzalez, INF, Florida Atlantic; Diego Diaz, 2B, UTSA;
Robert Orloski, P, UTSA; Tyler Dobbs, P, Wichita State; Lane Haworth, OF, Wichita State; Camden Johnson, INF, Wichita State; Tommy LaPour, P, Wichita State*

* – Denotes unanimous selection

Grand finale at home: Quiroga pitches UTSA to a 5-2 victory

Ulises Quiroga. UTSA beat South Florida 5-2 in American Athletic Conference baseball on Friday, May 10, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Ulises Quiroga yielded two runs in 8 and 1/3 innings and earned the victory Friday night against the South Florida Bulls. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

With a group of family and friends totaling about 30 people in the grandstands, and with emotions running higher than usual, Ulises Quiroga took the mound on a breezy Friday afternoon for what likely was his last outing at home as a member of the UTSA Roadrunners.

He made the most of the experience during the game, pitching into the ninth inning and leading UTSA to a 5-2 victory over the South Florida Bulls. He also had a good time afterward, taking time to greet everyone from his hometown who turned out to support him on UTSA’s Senior Weekend.

For a good 15 or 20 minutes, the senior from Baytown lingered, talking with family members and posing for pictures. Poignantly, he ended the festivities by walking around and hugging just about everyone.

Later, perhaps thinking about moving on in his baseball career in the near future, he described his feelings on the evening and on the moment as bittersweet. Sweet to win on the home field one last time. A little sad, however, to think about nearing the end of a joyful three-year run at UTSA.

Mason Lytle. UTSA beat South Florida 5-2 in American Athletic Conference baseball on Friday, May 10, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Mason Lytle recorded assists with throws from center field in both the first and the third innings. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“Right now it feels good (to win),” Quiroga said. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”

All the nostalgia aside, Quiroga’s performance was important on a few different levels. First, he helped lift the spirits of the Roadrunners after they had endured two tough weeks. They arrived at the ball park with a 3-4 record in their last seven games, and they exited with newfound momentum.

Later in the evening, they gained something even more tangible. The Roadrunners picked up a game in the race for the regular-season title in the American Athletic Conference.

Coming into the weekend, the front-running East Carolina Pirates led the second-place Roadrunners by three games. Their lead was trimmed to two after the Roadrunners won and after the Pirates lost 6-5 on the road to the Tulane Green Wave.

UTSA coach Pat Hallmark, discussing the AAC race before the East Carolina game had been completed, said the Pirates would be “hard to catch” with only a handful of games left on the schedule. Both East Carolina and UTSA now have five left to play in conference.

“We’re just trying to win games and play good ball whether we’re in second place or not in second place,” the coach said. “We can only control what we can control.”

Immediately, UTSA will focus on trying to win the three-game series against South Florida. Game Two is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. A third game will be played either later Saturday night as part of a doubleheader, or on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Regardless of the fluidity in the schedule, Hallmark felt good about winning the opener. Looking over the box score immediately after the game, he was asked what numbers he liked the most, and he replied with a wry grin, “The score.”

Some of the other numbers weren’t that great from the Roadrunners’ perspective. For instance, South Florida slammed two homers and out-hit UTSA, 10-7. But Hallmark was fine with it on the whole because his team played a better overall game, spiced with sound defense and pitching.

Two outfield assists by centerfielder Mason Lytle erased runners off the basepaths in the first few innings. One of those assists factored into one of three UTSA double plays. Not to be overlooked, the pitching of Quiroga and Ruger Riojas was solid.

Diego Diaz. UTSA beat South Florida 5-2 in American Athletic Conference baseball on Friday, May 10, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA second baseman Diego Diaz makes a play and fires to Isaiah Walker at first. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Between the two of them, UTSA pitching didn’t walk a batter all night.

“Zero walks from Uli and Ruger, (that) was very important on a night with the wind blowing in like it was,” Hallmark said. “It’s important on any night, but this team can really hit the ball. So (to have zero walks), that was big.”

Quiroga (7-1) struck out four in 8 and 1/3 innings and succeeded mainly by pitching to contact and letting his fielders make plays. He allowed all 10 hits, including solo homers by Bobby Boser and Drew Brutcher.

Trailing by three runs entering the ninth inning, the Bulls made it interesting with two straight, one-out hits, a double past third base by Ben Rozenblum and a single by Rafael Betancourt. The shot by Betancourt glanced off Quiroga’s lower body, which kept the ball in the infield and forced Rozenblum to hold up at third base.

With runners at first and third and the potential tying run coming to the plate, Riojas entered the game to finish off the Bulls with two straight outs. He fanned Joaquin Monque and retired Brutcher on a foul fly ball.

Offensively for the Roadrunners, Matt King led the way with three hits and Caleb Hill had two. Diego Diaz and Hector Rodriguez produced two RBI each. Rodriguez smashed a two-run double that highlighted UTSA’s three-run fourth inning.

Defensively, Lytle led the way with two assists from center field. One came in the first inning, on the game’s first play. Fielding a base hit on the bounce, he threw to second base to cut down Boser, who was trying to stretch it into a double.

In the third inning, Eric Snow was aboard at second base when Lytle caught a middle distance fly ball. Snow was tagging on the play, but he seemed to get a bad jump. Unfortunately for the Bulls, Lytle’s throw beat him to the third by quite a bit, completing a double play and erasing another scoring threat.


South Florida 23-26, 9-13
UTSA 28-20, 14-8

Coming up

AAC series: South Florida at UTSA
Saturday: 2 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.

Note: It’s possible the teams will play a doubleheader Saturday afternoon and evening depending on the weather forecast for Sunday. The decision on the schedule is expected to be made Saturday morning.

JB’s video replay

South Florida’s Rafael Betancourt smashes a ball that hits UTSA senior righthander Ulises Quiroga and goes for a ninth-inning infield single. It was Quiroga’s last pitch on a night that likely was his final performance at Roadrunner Field.

Hector Rodriguez lines a two-RBI double to left to cap a three-run fourth inning for the Roadrunners.

Roadrunners bounce back, beat the Rice Owls 4-2 in series finale

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Repay

James Taussig’s two-run homer in the eighth inning Sunday capped a four-run rally and boosted the UTSA Roadrunners to a 4-2 victory over the Rice Owls in the American Athletic Conference.

Roadrunners starting pitcher Ulises Quiroga (6-0) stayed undefeated for the season, throwing 97 pitches in seven innings and allowing only two runs on four hits. He struck out eight. Fischer Kingsbery sealed the victory and earned the save, his first, by striking out three over the last two innings.

The win allowed the Roadrunners to avoid losing three straight to the Owls in Houston leading into Tuesday night’s non-conference home game against the Texas State Bobcats.

Rice beat UTSA 9-8 in 10 innings on Friday night and 9-3 on Saturday. In addition, the Owls had the Roadrunners down 2-0 going into the eighth inning in the AAC series finale.

Facing Rice reliever Tom Vincent in the eighth, UTSA’s Andrew Stuckey led off with a single to left field. Mason Lytle followed with a double to left. On the play, Stuckey tried to come all the way around to score but was out at the plate on a relay throw from the second baseman.

Not to be denied, UTSA kept on swinging with Caleb Hill lining an RBI single to center that plated Lytle. From there, Alex Olivo grounded out to the right side, advancing Hill to second base and prompting the Owls to replace Vincent with Garrett Stratton.

Matt King worked the count to 3-1 and then bashed a double into the gap in left center, scoring Hill from second base and tying the game. Taussig then followed with a two-run home run to right field to make it 4-2.

Tucker Alch pitched well as the starter for the Owls, working his way through 6 and 1/3 innings scoreless. He struck out five. Stratton (1-3) was tagged with the loss.


UTSA 25-18, 12-6
Rice 17-26, 8-10

Coming up

Non-conference: Texas State at UTSA, Tuesday, 6 p.m.
AAC: Wichita State at UTSA, Friday, Saturday and Sunday


The East Carolina Pirates lead the AAC regular-season title race by two games over the second-place Roadrunners. The Pirates (35-8, 14-4) beat the Memphis Tigers 8-3 on Sunday to complete a three-game road sweep. East Carolina has won eight in a row and 13 out of 14 overall.

Texas State

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

Damaged playing surface at Roadrunner Field forces first official practices off campus

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The UTSA baseball team opened practices off campus for three days last weekend as work progressed on a project to upgrade Roadrunner Field.

UTSA coach Pat Hallmark. UTSA scored four runs in the seventh inning to rally past Rice 9-7 in Conference USA baseball on Friday, May 5, 2023, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA coach Pat Hallmark says his team held its first official practices last weekend off campus after Roadrunner Field was damaged in efforts to lay underground cable. – File photo by Joe Alexander

The project includes a new press box and a new grandstand behind home plate that will include chair-back seating. Dugouts also are being expanded.

Fifth-year coach Pat Hallmark said in an interview on Monday morning that recent work to lay underground cable for television went awry and left the field unplayable in different areas.

“They did something under the ground,” Hallmark said. “… and they damaged the field in multiple places. So that’s got us practicing somewhere else.”

Explaining the situation, Hallmark said “a drill powered by air and water” was in use, “and somehow it backed up, and everything came up,” leaving the field wet and mushy in parts of the infield and the outfield.

“It was like a water bed when you walked on it,” the coach said.

The portion of the infield that had been soggy is now dried and just needs “patching up,” Hallmark said, but the outfield area in shallow center remains an issue.

“It’s more of a mess,” the coach said. “I guess there’s more moisture under there. I don’t know exactly (why). But it’s not even dry yet (and) we’ve had three good days of dry (weather). Anyway, I don’t know even all the details. I just know we can’t play a game on our field.”

After off-campus workouts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, players had Monday off. Come Tuesday, the plan called for them to work at Roadrunner Field because there is no intrasquad game scheduled. “You can control practice better when there’s no intrasquad game,” the coach explained.

Hallmark acknowledged that the uncertainty with the playing surface on the team’s home field is “a little bit” of a distraction with the regular-season opener looming on Feb. 16.

“Some of these high schools and their (baseball) programs have been very gracious, to let us on their fields,” he said, noting that the team has practiced at Antonian, Central Catholic and Cornerstone.

Added Hallmark, “We’re getting our work in. Like I said, we’ve played 23 innings, which is what we had planned, whether it was here or (elsewhere). So, (we) adapt and move on.”

Hallmark is in the initial stages of preparing to build on back-to-back 38-win seasons. Last spring, the Roadrunners started out sizzling with a 28-8 record, soaring into the national top 25 for most of April and May.

After a few key players suffered injuries, their momentum was slowed significantly.

Even then, the Roadrunners still had a chance to win the Conference USA title going into their last home series.

But in the end, the Dallas Baptist Patriots swept three straight games at Roadrunner Field to clinch the regular-season title. UTSA finished in second place and bowed out of the C-USA tournament in two straight games.

Transitioning into the American Athletic Conference this season, UTSA has been picked to finish third even though standouts such as Simon Miller, Luke Malone, Antonio Valdez, Taylor Smith, Leyton Barry and Josh Killeen have moved on in their careers.

Hallmark, speaking to a reporter in his office at the Roadrunner Athletics Center of Excellence on Monday morning, shrugged off the AAC preseason poll by saying that it doesn’t mean much.

“It doesn’t matter, to be honest,” he said. “Whether we were first, third or last, we still got to go out there and play good ball. Throw strikes. Play defense. Fight at the plate. That’s what I’m hoping we do.”


UTSA opens with a home series against UT-Arlington on Feb. 16.

Top returning position players for the Roadrunners include Matt King, who has moved from shortstop to play third base, outfielder Caleb Hill and infielder/outfielder Isaiah Walker. King has been named to the preseason all-AAC team. UTSA’s most productive returning pitchers would include Ulises Quiroga and Ruger Riojas.

Righthander Braylon Owens, who went 3-2 in 2022 but struggled last year, pitched well last weekend as the team played 23 innings intrasquad.

A couple of newcomers to watch are fleet outfielder Mason Lytle, a transfer from Oregon, and freshman pitcher Robert Orloski.

Lytle sat out most of last season with the Ducks with an injury, but in previous years he was .339 hitter in his career at San Jacinto College. Lytle played in high school at Pearland in the Houston area. Orloski, an Idaho native who completed high school last spring, was drafted in the 20th round in July by the Boston Red Sox. He did not sign and elected to play for the Roadrunners.

Simon Miller, a righthanded reliever, is expected to report to training camp with the Cincinnati Reds in coming weeks.

UTSA and Southern Miss meet again in CUSA tournament

UTSA's Daniel Garza, shown pitching earlier this season at Roadrunner Field, went five innings and got the win against Southern Miss on May 13. - file photo

UTSA’s Daniel Garza, shown pitching earlier this season at Roadrunner Field, went five innings and got the win against Southern Miss on May 13. – file photo

When UTSA and Southern Miss square off Friday in the Conference USA baseball tournament, it will be their fourth meeting of the season.

First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m. and will be televised on ESPN+. Friday’s winner advances to the tournament quarterfinals.

The Golden Eagles took two out of three games in the regular season, May 13-15, in Hattiesburg, Miss.

UTSA scored six times in the sixth inning to beat Southern Miss 8-7 in the series opener on May 13. Daniel Garza started on the mound for the Roadrunners and went five innings to get the win. Luke Malone pitched the final inning to get the save.

The Roadrunners scored only eight runs in the next two games combined. The Golden Eagles won the second game of the series 8-3 and wrapped up the weekend with a 9-5 victory.

Southern Miss’ success in the regular-season series helped carry the Golden Eagles to the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Roadrunners are seeded No. 5.

UTSA has not announced a probable starting pitcher for Friday. Malone threw nine innings on Thursday, so don’t expect to see him Friday.

Roadrunners pitchers who have seen a lot of action this season include:

– Garza, who has made five starts. The sophomore right-hander from Houston has a 3-1 record and 4.41 ERA in 12 games.

– Jacob Jimenez, who has made eight starts. The senior right-hander from Houston has a 2-1 record and 5.01 ERA in 14 games.

– Ryan Ward, who has made six starts. The sophomore right-hander from Schertz has a 1-0 record and 5.09 ERA in 13 games.

– Ulises Quiroga, who has made five starts. The sophomore right-hander from Baytown has a 2-4 record and 7.13 record in 14 games.

– Ryan Beaird, who has made five starts. The freshman right-hander from San Antonio has a 2-3 record and 7.32 ERA in 21 games.

Top prospects to see innings out of the bullpen include Simon Miller (3-3, 3.78 ERA) and John Chomko (2-0, 3.92). Braylon Owens, who faced two batters on Thursday, could also be available to pitch again in the tournament.


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 vs. Southern Miss, 10 a.m.

Game 9: Charlotte vs. Old Dominion, 1:30 p.m.

Game 10: UTSA-Southern Miss loser vs. Florida Atlantic, 5 p.m.


Game 11: Lousiana Tech vs. TBD, 9 a.m.

Game 12: UTSA-Southern Miss winner vs. Game 10 winner, 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.