Shocker: UTSA rallies behind Ivy-Curry, Carter to win at SMU

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Jordan Ivy-Curry buried a 25-footer from the wing with 15 seconds left Saturday afternoon as the UTSA Roadrunners completed an improbable comeback, rallying from a 13-point deficit to down the SMU Mustangs, 77-73.

Ivy-Curry finished with 33 points for the Roadrunners, who entered the game at SMU’s Moody Coliseum in a tie for last place in the American Athletic Conference.

But after knocking off the fourth-place Mustangs, they have now won three in a row, a streak that started a week ago with a win on the road at North Texas and then one at home against Tulsa.

The victory over SMU was easily UTSA’s best of the season. The Mustangs entered the day at No. 44 nationally in the NET ratings. They were 13-2 at home and 7-0 in AAC home games.

Up until a week ago, they were still in contention for the AAC title.

Nonetheless, Ivy-Curry, PJ Carter (23 points), Dre Fuller Jr. (13), Christian Tucker (nine assists) and all their friends supplied the grit to help make the upset victory a reality.

Interviewed in the postgame on the ESPN Plus livestream, Ivy-Curry thanked his teammates for staying together through tough times this season.

“Big shoutout to my teammates,” Ivy-Curry said. “We’ve been through a lot of tough battles. We was on a losing streak and we had to fight some battles, keep going to practice. You know, keeping our head level and staying (together). So I want to give a shoutout to my teammates for staying positive, no matter what the outcome was.”

In the wake of the win, the Roadrunners will get some time off before they play the regular-season finale at home against Temple on March. 10. The AAC men’s basketball tournament opens March 13 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth.

For SMU (19-10, 10-6) in the American), the loss might be costly.

The Mustangs entered the day in fourth place in the 14-team AAC. With a top-four finish, teams get a double-bye into the AAC tournament, meaning they will need to win only three games in three days to win it. Teams that finish from fifth place to 10th place must play four games in four days.

With the win, UTSA (11-19, 5-12) likely needs a victory over Temple at home on March 10 and some help to avoid a bottom-four finish, which would result in a five-games in five days route to the automatic NCAA berth.

Halftime

Reversing course from a dismal start, the UTSA Roadrunners battled from behind and made a statement against the SMU Mustangs. The Mustangs withstood the charge and emerged with a 36-34 lead at halftime.

In the beginning, the Mustangs dominated. Employing a physical style, they methodically buried the Roadrunners, surging into a 21-8 lead with a little less than 10 minutes remaining.

UTSA, at times, had trouble getting off a shot against the home team. The Roadrunners mixed turnovers with three-of-13 shooting from the field and found themselves in a rather large hole.

Then, all of a sudden, they flipped the narrative. With Dre Fuller Jr., PJ Carter and Ivy-Curry leading the way, they stunned the Mustangs with a 14-0 run.

Records

UTSA 11-19, 5-12
SMU 19-10, 10-6

Coming up

Temple at UTSA, Sunday, March 10, 2 p.m.

Baseball: UTSA scores five in the first inning and blanks Grand Canyon, 12-0

By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay

UTSA freshman Diego Diaz from Pharr sparked a five-run first inning, and then the pitching dominated the rest of the way in a 12-0 victory over the Grand Canyon University Lopes on Friday night at Roadrunner Field.

Fischer Kingsbery, Rob Orloski and Cooper Hrbacek combined on the first shutout for the Roadrunners in two years. The Lopes, from the Western Athletic Conference, were limited to four hits.

Kingsbery worked the first two innings and then turned it over to Orloski, a freshman from Idaho, who pitched masterfully through the eighth. In his six innings, he allowed only three hits and two walks. With good command on a fastball and a breaking pitch, he struck out seven. Hrbacek closed in the ninth.

In the bottom of the first, Diaz stroked a two-out, three-run double to left field off Grand Canyon ace Daniel Avitia.

It was the first hit of his UTSA career, and after all three baserunners crossed the plate ahead of him, the Roadrunners had a 5-0 lead. Diaz took third on a throw to the plate on the play and slid in head first safely, bringing UTSA players in the dugout to their feet to cheer him.

Ty Tilson went four for four at the plate for the Roadrunners, of the American Athletic Conference, who had 13 hits in the opener of a three-game series against the Lopes.

Records

Grand Canyon 5-4
UTSA 5-5

Coming up

Grand Canyon at UTSA, Saturday, 2 p.m.
Grand Canyon at UTSA, Sunday, 1 p.m.

Notable

Phoenix-based GCU arrived in San Antonio with five wins, including victories in Arizona against Southern Cal, BYU, Ohio State and Nebraska. UTSA entered the series coming off its biggest win, an 8-7 road victory Tuesday afternoon against the Houston Cougars. UTSA trailed 7-2 in the game and rallied with six straight runs to pull it out.

Tucker ties conference, school records with 14 assists as UTSA routs Tulsa

Christian Tucker. UTSA beat Tulsa in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Junior point guard Christian Tucker produced 12 points and a school- and conference-record tying 14 assists UTSA rolled as past Tulsa, 89-73. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Don’t look now, but with the postseason in men’s college basketball looming in only a few weeks, a UTSA Roadrunners team plagued for months by poor defense, erratic offense and bad vibes in general has started to find a rhythm.

Humming to the beat of record-tying point guard Christian Tucker, they’re even starting to show a little bit of swagger.

To some around the American Athletic Conference, this may come as quite a surprise. Not too long ago, the Roadrunners dropped four straight games. Then seven straight. All the while, they were sinking fast in the standings.

But after claiming a two-point road win at North Texas last weekend, they followed it up on Wednesday night at home by trouncing the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, 89-73. “Two in a row and we’re not done yet,” Tucker told the team’s radio broadcast.

Steve Henson. UTSA beat Tulsa in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Coach Steve Henson’s Roadrunners will take a two-game winning streak into Dallas for a meeting with SMU on Saturday. – Photo by Joe Alexander

As UTSA avenged its worst loss of the season, Tucker emerged as the spark that ignited the offense, passing for a conference and school-record tying 14 assists.

His artistry in driving into the teeth of the defense and then whipping passes to the perimeter led, in large part, to the Roadrunners hitting 14 three-point baskets.

“All credit to my coaches and teammates for putting me in that position,” he told broadcaster Andy Everett on The Ticket, AM-760. “I give all the credit to them. They make me look good when I’m giving them the ball and they’re making shots.”

On Jan. 17, the Roadrunners met the Golden Hurricane for the first time as members of the American. For UTSA, its trip to Oklahoma wasn’t a pleasant experience. Tulsa revved its offense after intermission and routed UTSA 54-30 in the second half, en route to a 107-78 victory.

But that was then, and this is now, with UTSA using every day at practice to improve, and then applying it on the court.

The Roadrunners have actually played well in their last three games. A week ago, with AAC-leading South Florida coming into San Antonio, they showed up and played one of their best defensive games, collapsing late in a 66-61 loss. Last weekend, the defense held up again. This time, the Roadrunners won 64-62 as they bottled up North Texas for the team’s first road win in Denton since 2015.

Tucker blocked a shot in the final seconds as UTSA players celebrated the end of the seven-game skid. Now, they’ve done it again. While the game against Tulsa wasn’t a defensive masterpiece, it was a good showing nonetheless against a team that likes to push the pace faster than most.

Jordan Ivy-Curry. UTSA beat Tulsa in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordan Ivy-Curry scored 20 points to lead the Roadrunners, his third game in the last four with 20 or more. – Photo by Joe Alexander

“Pretty good on the defensive end,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said. “Obviously, offensively, we were really clicking. Got back to what we were doing earlier in the year with Tuck just serving it up to people. He was terrific.”

Six players scored in double figures, led by Jordan Ivy-Curry with 20 points. Chandler Cuthrell had 14. Tucker and Dre Fuller Jr. added 12 apiece. Tre Edmonds had 11 and PJ Carter 10 for the Roadrunners, who made 44 percent from the field and 42 percent from three.

Eleven of UTSA’s 14 triples came in the first half.

For Tulsa, redshirt freshman PJ Haggerty showed why he has been billed as an honors candidate nationally, as he scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 35 minutes.

Haggerty, a TCU transfer, deftly scored from all three levels. Either the native of Crosby, Tex., was pulling up from 22 feet, or he was driving it, drawing fouls. He went to the line 18 times and made 12 of them.

At the same time, many of the players who hurt the Roadrunners earlier in the season weren’t quite as proficient this time around. Isaiah Barnes, Cobe Williams and Tyshawn Archie all scored 17 points apiece against UTSA at Tulsa. In San Antonio, none of them reached double figures.

“Defensively, that’s three games in a row,” Henson said. “I don’t know if our points per possession will be quite as good as the last two ball games. But it was pretty good. They didn’t have a whole lot of rhythm. They didn’t do what they typically do.”

First half

The UTSA Roadrunners played one of their better halves of the season, knocking down 11 three-point baskets en route to a 53-34 halftime lead.

Chandler Cuthrell. UTSA recorded a 103-89 men's basketball victory over Prairie View A&M on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Chandler Cuthrell, shown here in a file photo, came off the bench to sink four three-point shots. He scored 14. – File photo by Joe Alexander

After missing their first eight shots in the game, the Roadrunners surged, hitting 16 of 35 from the field and 11 of 21 from three in the half. Ivy-Curry paced UTSA with 12 points, while Cuthrell had 10 and Dre Fuller Jr. nine. The three of them combined for eight field goals from behind the three-point arc, including three each by Cuthrell and Fuller.

Tucker had seven points and 10 assists for the Roadrunners, who were attempting to win a second consecutive game this season for the first time since December.

Records

Tulsa 14-14, 5-11
UTSA 10-19, 4-12

Coming up

UTSA at SMU, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Notable

With games against SMU and Temple remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Roadrunners remain tied for last in the AAC with Wichita State. They’re one game in the loss column behind Tulsa, Tulane and Temple. The Roadrunners last won consecutive games in November and December, in the opening weeks of the season, when they won three in a row. In that stretch, they beat UIW on Nov. 25 before downing Lamar on Nov. 30 and then Arkansas-Fort Smith on Dec. 10.

Originally, Issy Washington set the UTSA single-game school and Convocation Center records for assists with 14 on Nov. 29, 1986. Playing for Coach Ken Burmeister in only the sixth season of basketball at the school, Washington established the standard in a 113-67 victory over Jarvis Christian College. SMU’s Kendric Davis set the AAC single-game record of 14 on Jan. 7, 2021. Davis set the mark at home, at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, in a 76-69 loss to Cincinnati.

Women’s basketball

In Memphis, Tenn., the UTSA women ran into a team that seems to be peaking for the AAC tournament. The Memphis Tigers won their fourth in a row by muscling past the Roadrunners, 60-53, at the Ella Roane Fieldhouse. Guard Alasia Smith led the Tigers with 12 points and 17 rebounds. For UTSA, Jordyn Jenkins paced the Roadrunners with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Three UTSA standouts — Jenkins, Elyssa Coleman and Idara Udo — all fouled out of the game. Despite mounting foul problems, UTSA made a run to lead by one point at the end of three periods, but Memphis wouldn’t fold. The Tigers outscored the Roadrunners 18-10 in the final quarter with forward Hannah Riddick notching six of those points.

Records

UTSA 14-13, 8-8
Memphis 12-15, 8-8

Coming up

UTSA at Wichita State, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Notable

UTSA will be investing $57 million in new facilities and capital projects over the next five years, it was announced Wednesday afternoon. The investment includes funding secured for a volleyball and basketball training center and also for upgrades to baseball and softball facilities. Baseball and softball are slated to get player development centers. In addition, the university is planning to add a nutrition performance center for all student-athletes. Football will get a covered football pavilion.

Christian Tucker. UTSA beat Tulsa in American Athletic Conference men's basketball on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Christian Tucker leads the American Athletic Conference with an 88.6 free-throw percentage and also ranks tied for second with 5.15 assists per game. — Photo by Joe Alexander

Temple grinds out a 56-48 victory over the UTSA women

Jordyn Jenkins. Temple defeated UTSA 56-48 in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Jordyn Jenkins produced 15 points and 10 rebounds, but the Temple Owls won 56-48 in a physical battle Thursday night at the Convocation Center. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The first-place Temple Owls held UTSA without a field goal for the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter Thursday night, riding a strong defensive effort to a 56-48 victory over the Roadrunners at the Convocation Center. The win was the fourth in a row for the Temple women. It also gave the Owls a 2-0 sweep over the Roadrunners in the season series.

Moreover, it was the first time in five games this season that the Roadrunners played a team in first place in the American Athletic Conference standings and lost. Over the past five weeks, UTSA had claimed victories in such situations over Charlotte, North Texas and UAB, all at home, and North Texas again on the road last Sunday in Denton.

Elyssa Coleman. Temple defeated UTSA 56-48 in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Center Elyssa Coleman (white jersey, No. 0) had 10 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Roadrunners. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Leading by seven after the first quarter, the Roadrunners couldn’t capitalize on the fast start. The Owls kept hitting the offensive boards and finding their way to the free-throw line. On the night, Temple won the rebounding battle, 48-42, including a 22-10 edge on the offensive glass. The Owls also made a living at the line, knocking down 18 of 28 to UTSA’s 9 of 15.

“We got obliterated on the boards, and that’s really the story of the game,” UTSA coach Karen Aston said on the team’s radio broadcast.

Temple led by two at halftime and by three at the end of three periods. Oddly enough, the Owls missed 11 shots in a row at one point in the third and still led 43-40 going into the fourth.

In the fourth quarter, UTSA came unraveled. The Roadrunners misfired on their first six shots. Meanwhile, the Owls were doing just enough on the offensive end to start pulling away. After corralling a defensive rebound, they rushed it up the court. Guard Tiarra East passed to Denise Solis, who knocked down a jumper for a 51-41 lead with 3:31 remaining.

UTSA never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.

“We just couldn’t make a perimeter shot to loosen anything up at all,” Aston said. “And then they just got to the point where they didn’t want to shoot it because they were having maybe not a good night. I thought the 22 offensive boards were the difference in the game. We just couldn’t put our foot down on them, at all. Just one of those (nights). They outplayed us.”

Temple women's basketball coach Diane Richardson. Temple defeated UTSA 56-48 in American Athletic Conference women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Temple women’s basketball coach Diane Richardson watched as her team forced 17 turnovers and outrebounded UTSA 22-10 on the offensive glass. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Jordyn Jenkins came off the bench to produce 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Roadrunners. Center Elyssa Coleman had 10 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots. Idara Udo, another member of the Roadrunners’ frontcourt, produced nine points and five boards. UTSA’s starting backcourt, meanwhile, struggled to find a rhythm. Three backcourt starters combined to shoot five for 21 from the field.

Guard Tiarra East led the Owls with 18 points, including 10 in the second half when she made eight of 10 at the free-throw line. Five-foot-six Aleah Nelson added 11 points and Demi Washington had 10.

Starting forward Rayne Tucker and Solis, a reserve center, came up big on the boards for Temple. Both had eight rebounds apiece and combined for seven on the offensive glass. Both Solis and Ines Piper, a forward, came off the bench to grab four offensive boards apiece.

Perhaps most frustrating for UTSA, Temple shot just 26.9 percent from the field and still managed to win. And a big win it was for the Owls, who are in the pole position coming down the stretch for the AAC regular-season title . Temple leads the race at 10-4, followed by North Texas and Tulsa at 9-5.

UAB and Rice are next at 9-6, followed by Charlotte and South Florida, both 8-7. East Carolina, SMU and UTSA are next at 7-7.

Records

Temple 16-10, 10-4
UTSA 13-12, 7-7

Coming up

FAU at UTSA, Sunday, 1 p.m.

Third quarter

As the game evolved into a defensive struggle, the Owls shot only two of 19 from the field in the third period. But they made up for it with numerous trips to the free-throw line. The Owls hit 9 of 13 at the line to forge a 43-40 lead on the Roadrunners. Conversely, UTSA did not get to the line in the quarter.

First half

Trailing by seven after the first period, the Owls retaliated with a 19-10 outburst to take a 30-28 lead at halftime. Guard Tiarra East and forward Ines Parker ignited a Temple rally in the second quarter.

East scored six points in a row for the Owls at one juncture. Roadrunners forward Jordyn Jenkins scored seven in the period to keep the Roadrunners in it. Jenkins hit three of five from the floor in the quarter, while the Roadrunners as a team managed only four of 15 afield.

Notable

The UT System on Wednesday approved a funding plan for UTSA’s proposed Volleyball and Basketball Training Facility. According to the UT System’s agenda, posted online, the facility will cost $35 million. Broken down, $15 million will come from Revenue Financing System Bond Proceeds, $10 million from designated funds and $10 million in grants from the City of San Antonio and Bexar County. The facility will be built adjacent to the Roadrunner Athletics Center of Excellence on the west end of campus. Construction is expected to start in 2025, with ‘substantial’ completion by August 2026 and ‘final’ completion in November of 2026.

UTSA women host first-place Temple tonight at the Convocation Center

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Undefeated in games against first-place teams in the American Athletic Conference, the UTSA women hope to win again against another league leader tonight when they host the Temple Owls at 6:30 at the Convocation Center.

Temple (15-10 overall) has won three in a row and five out of its last six to take the lead in the 14-team AAC race at 9-4. UTSA (13-11) has won two of its last three to move into sixth place at 7-6.

Over the past five and a half weeks, the Roadrunners have earned a reputation for beating AAC leaders, knocking off Charlotte, North Texas, UAB and North Texas again.

Most recently, they came away with their biggest road victory of the season when they downed North Texas 66-63 on Sunday afternoon in Denton. Forward Jordyn Jenkins, in her third game back after sitting out the first 21 recovering from a knee injury, led the way with 29 points off the bench.

In facing the Owls, the Roadrunners will meet a team that handed them a loss in their first AAC game. On Dec. 30, the newcomers to the conference played the Owls in Philadelphia and took a beating. Temple won 71-58 after dominating the fourth quarter, 20-12.

Afterward, UTSA coach Karen Aston credited the Owls’ guard play as making a difference in the outcome.

“Their guards were tough,” Aston said after the game. β€œ(They had) tough-minded guards, with the ability to rise up and make really tough shots.”

Backcourt players Aleah Nelson, Tiarra East and Demi Washington lead the Owls in scoring for the season. Against the Roadrunners in the first meeting of the season, guards Terriyonna Gary and Tristen Taylor played well late in the game.

Records

Temple 15-10, 9-4
UTSA 13-11, 7-6

Coming up

FAU at UTSA, Sunday, 1 p.m.

Jenkins scores a season-high 29 as the UTSA women beat first-place North Texas, 66-63

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Fast-improving forward Jordyn Jenkins scored 12 of her season-high 29 points in the fourth quarter Sunday as the UTSA Roadrunners defeated another first-place team in the American Athletic Conference women’s basketball race, downing the North Texas Mean Green 66-63 at the Super Pit in Denton.

Jordyn Jenkins. UTSA beat Florida Atlantic 77-61 in Conference USA women's basketball on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, at the Convocation Center. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA forward Jordyn Jenkins scored a season-high 29 points Sunday afternoon in her third game back after sitting out the first 21 in rehabilitation for a knee injury. – Photo by Joe Alexander

With the victory, UTSA (13-11, 7-6) split a two-game AAC road trip and swept a two-game, regular-season series against North Texas (19-6, 9-4).

UTSA, aided by 16 points from freshman guard Aysia Proctor and nine points and nine rebounds from junior center Elyssa Coleman, also improved to 4-0 on the season against first-place AAC teams. The Roadrunners are 3-0 at home and 1-0 on the road against squads leading in the standings.

The Mean Green were in first place both times they played the Roadrunners and were turned away twice in close games. On Jan. 31, UTSA won in its on-campus arena, downing North Texas 75-67 in overtime.

In that game, Jenkins had not yet been cleared to play. She sat out the first 21 games this season while rehabilitating a knee injury. Since her return, the Roadrunners have won two out of three, claiming the two victories against AAC contenders Alabama-Birmingham and now North Texas.

UTSA’s road win against its in-state rivals, at the Super Pit in Denton, may have been the team’s best of the season. The Mean Green had been 10-0 at home this season. They were also 5-0 in AAC games at home — until Jenkins, a high-scoring forward from Kent, Wash., showed up to play.

Jenkins hit 11 of 17 shots from the floor, including three of five from three-point distance. In the fourth period, she was at her best, hitting four for four from the floor and knocking down her only three-point attempt.

On one of her shots, she had the ball on the right side of the floor, about eight feet from the basket, when she turned and flipped in a left-handed scoop shot. The bucket gave UTSA a three-point lead with 40 seconds remaining.

Coming out of a time out, North Texas guard Dyani Robinson hit a shot to cut the UTSA lead to one. On the other end, Jenkins was fouled and sank two free throws with 27 seconds left for the game’s final points.

North Texas called time with 20 seconds left needing a three to tie. The Mean Green failed to get off a clean shot, as Shamaryah Duncan’s three from the right wing was deflected by UTSA’s Kyra White, clinching the victory for the Roadrunners.

Six-foot forward DesiRay Kernal paced North Texas with 16 points and 12 rebounds. As UNT’s top offensive threat, she wasn’t as effective as she has been, making five of 12 from the field. Another Mean Green threat, center Tommisha Lampkin, was hindered by foul trouble and played only 20 minutes. She finished with six points and six rebounds.

In the second and third quarters, the Mean Green started to play better team basketball. They hit six of 11 from the field and eight of nine at the free throw line in the second, outscoring the Roadrunners 21-16 in the period and taking a 34-30 lead at the intermission. After halftime, they came out energized and once again got the better of the visitors, opening the advantage to 52-46.

North Texas guard Jaauckland Moore made a three with three seconds remaining in the third, lifting the Eagles into their six-point lead.

Records

UTSA 13-11, 7-6
North Texas 19-6, 9-4

Coming up

Temple at UTSA, Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

Notable

After missing so much of the season, Jenkins is fast improving her conditioning. In her first two games, she played 11 minutes against UAB and 14 in a Wednesday-night loss at Tulsa. Against both UAB and Tulsa, she scored 11 in each game. Combined in those two games, she hit seven of 25 shots from the field. Jenkins followed with 24 minutes against North Texas and finished 11 of 17 from the floor. Her 29-point performance left the Mean Green faithful with long memories dismayed, as she scored 40 in the Super Pit last February in UTSA’s 68-67 overtime victory. The two games were played nearly one calendar year apart — from Feb. 20, 2023 to Feb. 18, 2024.

Temple snaps a 10-game losing streak by downing UTSA, 83-77, in AAC men’s basketball

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

Leading by three with two minutes left, the Temple Owls broke it open down the stretch thanks to a Steve Settle three pointer, and then they went on to snap a 10-game losing streak with an 83-77 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners.

In an American Athletic Conference played game at Philadelphia, the Owls shot 45 percent from the field and knocked down eight threes to win for the first time since Jan. 7. UTSA has now dropped six straight and hasn’t won since Jan. 24.

Guard Hysier Miller scored 20 points to lead four Temple players in double figures. Settle finished with 16, followed by Jahlil White with 15 and Jordan Riley 12.

UTSA played the second half without floor leader Christian Tucker, who was disqualified just before halftime for leaving the bench area. Jordan Ivy-Curry led the Roadrunners with 22 points, five rebounds and three assists. PJ Carter hit three three-point baskets and finished with 13. Dre Fuller Jr. had 11 points and four rebounds.

The Roadrunners shot 42.7 percent from the floor and made six three-point baskets.

First half

In a blow to the Roadrunners’ chances to win, guard Christian Tucker was ejected just before halftime. It all started when Temple guard Hysier Miller was trapped in the corner adjacent to the UTSA bench. Guarded closely by Roadrunners’ guard Jordan Ivy-Curry, Miller pushed off. Ivy-Curry fell backward and went down on the floor.

Tucker, who was not in the game at the time, stood up in front of the bench. Then he came out on the court, extending his hand to help Ivy-Curry get up. But, by rule, he was ejected, leaving UTSA short-handed for the second half. The Roadrunners went into the dressing room leading 41-34 after Ivy-Curry hit a free throw awarded on a technical foul against Miller for pushing off.

Records

UTSA 2-11, 8-18
Temple 2-11, 9-17

Coming up

South Florida at UTSA, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Notable

Christian Tucker had one point, two rebounds and two assists at the time of his ejection. For the season, he was averaging 12 points, 3.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists.

Baumann’s walkoff winner lifts UTSA to a doubleheader sweep

Aiden Baumann delivers the winning hit, and the UTSA Roadrunners celebrate a 2-1 victory and a doubleheader sweep of UT Arlington. – Video by UTSA athletics

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

On a cold and blustery February afternoon in San Antonio, pinch hitter Aiden Baumann’s two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning scored the winning run Saturday in a 2-1 victory for the UTSA Roadrunners over the UT Arlington Mavericks.

With the win, UTSA swept a doubleheader on the second day of the season. UT Arlington won the season opener Friday night, holding on in the ninth inning to take a 10-9 decision.

In response, the Roadrunners bounced back to claim victory in the first game of the double dip Saturday, winning 7-2 in seven innings. After a short break to catch their breath, the two teams played again, this time in a nine-inning contest.

Zach Royse pumps his fist after striking out the final batter he faced. UTSA beat UT-Arlington 2-1 in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Zach Royse pumps his fist after striking out the final batter he faced. UTSA beat UT Arlington 2-1 in the second game of a doubleheader. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Baumann, a part-time player in his first appearance of the season and in only the 10th appearance of his career, delivered with a hit to right field that ended the day’s proceedings, giving UTSA a 2-1 edge in the season-opening series.

The two teams will play the finale of the four-game set on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Roadrunner Field.

UTSA coach Pat Hallmark praised his players’ mental toughness in setting aside Friday night’s disappointment and responding with solid play, on a day with difficult weather conditions, to claim their first two wins of the season.

“It was a better day,” Hallmark said. “We just played tougher … You know, this game is not easy. Failure is part of it. Being able to fail and turn around and make the next play. All those little things.”

Someone asked Hallmark in the postgame about his team’s resilience.

“I said we were resilient today, but it’s (only) three games (into the season),” he said. “We need to be resilient 30 games into it. I hope we’re still as resilient (then) as we were today, and I think we will be. It’s a good sign.”

The first game of the day was highlighted by a few standout defensive plays, including one that featured second baseman Isaiah Walker leaping to catch a line drive and flipping the ball to second base to double off a runner, effectively taking away a couple of runs while ending the inning.

Third baseman Matt King also hit the highlight reel on a foul pop up that came down just outside the field of play. King dashed toward the falling spheroid on its descent, collided with a waist-high wall and made the catch while falling into an area where fans usually sit.

Ty Tilson. UTSA beat UT-Arlington 2-1 in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s Ty Tilson takes a rip during an at bat in Game 2 .of Saturday’s doubleheader. – Photo by Joe Alexander

Starting pitcher Ruger Riojas earned the victory in allowing two runs in 5 and 2/3 innings of work. The sophomore from Wimberley struck out six while walking none.

In the second game, which started a little after 3 p.m., players, coaches and fans were fortunate that temperature rose into the high 40s on a sunny afternoon. But the wind whipped in from the northeast for the entire game, blowing so hard that it kept the flags fluttering constantly.

As for fans seated around the ball park in the shade, some huddled under blankets.

Others moved into sunny areas as the shadows extended. By the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, the rightfield berm became a popular gathering spot. Fans stood with hands plunged into coat pockets, watching as both teams moved ominously toward what looked like it might be a 1-1 tie going into extra innings.

The Roadrunners, however, had other ideas. With lefthander Austin Wallace entering the game in the ninth for Arlington, UTSA’s Mark Henning opened the inning with a line shot that got past third baseman Tate Bethel and down the line.

Arlington leftfielder Ryan Ellis tracked it down and fired into second base, but by that time, Henning had a full head of steam, and he dove into second base head first — well ahead of the throw — for a double.

At that point, Wallace retired James Taussig and Ty Tilson on fly ball outs, with fans gasping on each play.

Taussig’s line drive to right field might have been one of the hardest hit balls all afternoon. It was a rocket. But it went straight to rightfielder Tyson Pointer for the first out. Tilson followed by stroking a ball into right center that looked like it had a chance to fall, only to have centerfielder Garrison Berkley come sprinting toward it to make a sliding catch for out No. 2.

Broc Parmer. UTSA beat UT-Arlington 2-1 in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Catcher Broc Parmer worked nine innings behind the plate in the second game of a doubleheader. – Photo by Joe Alexander

From there, Hallmark elected to send Baumann, a right-handed batter, to the plate to pinch hit for the left-side hitting Dalton Porter.

Baumann came through with only his third hit in a UTSA uniform to win the game. Fittingly, when he sliced it down the rightfield line, some drama ensued. Pointer ran hard and dove for it. Just as the ball hit into his glove, it popped out onto the grass.

As Henning rounded third, raced for the plate and touched home for the winning run, one gaggle of Arlington fans seemed transfixed on the nearly spectacular catch that wasn’t made. With the ball on the turf, they fell silent. Meanwhile, UTSA fans celebrated, and Roadrunners players dashed out of the dugout and onto the field to mob Baumann.

Baumann said it was almost like a blessing that the wind was blowing in so hard.

“If the wind’s not blowing like that, the ball is probably caught,” he said. “When the wind’s blowing in like that, there’s always a chance.”

Baumann said the walkoff game winner was his second in the last calendar year. The first came last summer when he was playing summer ball in Jefferson City, Mo. His hit on Sunday had a different feel.

“This feels great,” said Baumann, who once played for the New Braunfels High School Unicorns. “We’re really close as a team. I know we’ve got a lot of new guys. But we’ve been around each other since the fall, working hard together. This means a lot for this team.”

Zach Royse and Braylon Owens pitched well to hold Arlington down. Royse worked six innings and allowed only a run in the fifth inning. In the meantime, he kept Arlington batters off balance, allowing only three hits while striking out six and walking three. Owens, meanwhile, yielded two hits in three scoreless innings to earn the win in relief. He struck out three and walked one.

Braylon Owens pitched the final three innings in relief and earned the win. UTSA beat UT-Arlington 2-1 in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Braylon Owens pitched three scoreless innings of relief to earn the win in a 2-1 victory over UT Arlington. – Photo by Joe Alexander

UTSA’s defense late in the game was solid, particularly first baseman James Taussig, who deftly dug out a couple of balls on throws from the infield.

Records

UT Arlington 1-2
UTSA 2-1

Coming up

UT Arlington at UTSA, Sunday at 1 p.m.
UTSA at Tarleton State, Tuesday at 4 p.m.

A photographer’s eye view of the Roadrunners on opening night

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

Coach Pat Hallmark, in the blue shirt, pays a visit to the mound to make a point in Friday night’s season opener. – Photo by Joe Alexander .

The UTSA Roadrunners play the UT Arlington Mavericks in a doubleheader today, with a seven-inning game set for noon, followed by a nine-inning game that will start about 3 p.m. Arlington broke out to a couple of nine-run leads early in the season opener Friday night and then held on for a 10-9 victory. I wanted to share a package of photos by Joe Alexander. Here are some of his best images:

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

Relief pitcher Cooper Hrbacek worked two scoreless innings in the opener to help the Roadrunners stay in the game. Hrbacek is from Abilene where he attended Wylie High School. He also played for McLennan College. – Photo by Joe Alexander

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

Junior Hector Rodriguez joins the UTSA squad this season as a transfer from Galveston College. He played in high school at Houston Westside. – Photo by Joe Alexander.

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

Shortstop Zane Spinn hails from Holland, Tex. He’s played in college at Temple JC and at Sam Houston State. – Photo by Joe Alexander.

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

Lorenzo Morresi, from Macerata, Italy, started at catcher for the Roadrunners. Morresi has played at New Mexico Junior College. He also represented Italy in the Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands. – Photo by Joe Alexander

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

Hard-throwing pitcher Rob Orloski comes to UTSA from Middleton, Idaho. The Boston Red Sox selected him on the 20th round of the draft last summer. He elected to play at UTSA. – Photo by Joe Alexander

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

Alex Olivo started in the opener as a designated hitter. Olivo also plays first base. He comes to UTSA from Texas Southern. He played previously at Deer Park HS and Ranger College. – Joe Alexander.

Feeling the opening-night blues: UTSA rally falls short, 10-9, to UT-Arlington

Caleb Hill (15) hit two home runs. UTSA lost to UT-Arlington 10-9 in the Roadrunners' baseball season opener on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, at Roadrunner Field. - Photo by Joe Alexander

Caleb Hill (15) hit two homers to highlight a two-for-five performance with three runs scored and four RBIs against the UT Arlington Mavericks. – Photo by Joe Alexander

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The second game of the the season can’t come soon enough for the UTSA Roadrunners.

Why? Because, in the opener on Friday night, the Roadrunners made a few too many mistakes early, got burned by three home runs and fell behind by nine on two different occasions.

In the end, the Roadrunners scored eight unanswered runs in a spirited rally led by Caleb Hill and Mason Lytle, only to fall in a heartbreaker, 10-9, to the UT Arlington Mavericks.

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

UTSA starting pitcher Robert Orloski, a freshman, worked 3 and 2/3 innings and yielded six hits and six runs – four of them earned. He also walked only one and struck out five. – Photo by Joe Alexander

With Hill homering twice and Lytle making a grand UTSA debut by hitting a high-arc blast into the screen over the left field fence, the team nevertheless tasted defeat on what had been billed as a day of celebration, when officials welcomed fans into a remodeled Roadrunner Field.

The game just started off on a sour note all the way around for the Roadrunners, who watched as the Mavs built leads of 9-0 and 10-1.

They didn’t quit, though. A crowd announced at 785 started to generate noise when the home team erupted with three runs in the fifth, one in the sixth, three more in the seventh and one in the ninth.

Hill sparked the uprising by crushing a line drive to right center for a three-run homer in the fifth. Not to be outdone, Lytle hit a solo shot in the sixth. He nearly homered again in the seventh but it was caught at the wall for a sac fly RBI. In addition, Hill scorched a sky-scraper that landed well beyond the right field wall to lead off the ninth.

“It was good but it wasn’t enough,” UTSA coach Pat Hallmark said. “We just didn’t play very good (early). We got to play better. We looked hesitant and passive way too often, which can happen, especially in the first game of the season, with the nerves.

“I’m sure it was nerves, but you got to get over it,” the coach said. “I was disappointed in the way we played and I was disappointed in the way I coached. I need to be better, too.”

The Mavericks were just too good for the Roadrunners in the early innings. With UTSA giving the ball to highly-touted freshman pitcher Robert Orloski to start the opener, Arlington made him pay by smashing two home runs.

Orloski yielded six runs, four of them earned, in 3 and 2/3 innings to take the loss. Against Orloski, Ryan Black delivered a one-out homer in the first inning to make it 1-0. In the second inning, Parker Airhart led off by belting one out of the yard to make it 2-0.

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

Isaiah Walker batted leadoff, stroked two hits and scored twice in the season opener against UT Arlington . – Photo by Joe Alexander

In the third, Orloski was still throwing well but the game started to get away from him. Black, swinging from the left side, laced an RBI double down the left field line. A relay throw to the plate from UTSA shortstop Zane Spinn was overthrown, allowing Black to take third base on the play.

He scored a few moments later on a wild pitch for a 4-0 lead.

Fans who watched the Roadrunners win 38 games in each of the last two seasons seemed a bit stunned at the outburst, but the Mavericks weren’t finished.

Lifting Orloski with two outs and two runners on base in the fourth, the Roadrunners called on junior Ryan Beaird, and Garrison Berkley greeted him with a three-run blast to break the game open. Like Orloski, Beaird was throwing well and firing hard. But he grooved one, and Berkley smashed it over the wall for a 7-0 lead.

Later in the frame, the Mavs tacked on two more runs to take a commanding 9-0 lead.

Hallmark said he wasn’t displeased at all with the first outing for Orloski, who at this time last year was pitching in high school in Middleton, Idaho.

“He was OK,” the coach said. “The kid on their team, the (No.) 2 hole hitter, Black, is good. We knew he was good. The whole report was that this kid’s their best hitter, and he looked like it. So, I wasn’t disappointed in him getting hits off Rob.”

Not shy about throwing a high fastball, Orloski at times was impressive by inducing the Mavs into futile swings and misses. And yet other times, a couple of his mistakes proved costly. In the end, he pitched 3 and 2/3 innings and yielded six hits and six runs — four of them earned — while he walked one and struck out five

“Rob can pitch better,” Hallmark said. “I bet his strike percentage was somewhere around 58 percent, which is a little low. But he didn’t pitch poorly at all. I wasn’t disappointed at all with Rob. He was fine. He’ll be back out there.”

Hallmark tipped his cap to an old friend, Clay Van Hook, the UT Arlington coach who is in his second season with the Mavs. Years ago, both worked together as assistant coaches at Rice University under the Wayne Graham. Hallmark is also friends with Arlington assistant Mike Taylor.

“Mike and I go way back,” Hallmark said. “We played against each other. Both of them, they’re good baseball people. They bounced back last year. They won a bunch more games last year than they did the year before. He’s doing a good job. Clay knows baseball.”

Coming up

Saturday — UT Arlington at UTSA. Doubleheader. First game starts at noon.
Sunday — UT Arlington at UTSA, 1 p.m.

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

Mason Lytle made his UTSA debut a memorable one by smashing a high-arc home run into the screen over the left field wall. – Photo by Joe Alexander