Playing for both momentum and the chance to stay alive for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, UTSA opens a three-game Conference USA series tonight at Roadrunner Field.
UTSA is scheduled to take on the visiting UAB Blazers tonight, Friday night and Saturday afternoon in advance of next week’s C-USA tournament.
The Roadrunners were eliminated from C-USA regular-season title contention by losing two of three on the road last week at Southern Mississippi.
At the same time, they still have much to play for, including an opportunity to keep alive hopes for both an at-large and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The winner of the C-USA tournament claims the league’s automatic bid into a 64-team national field.
In order to stay in contention for an NCAA at-large bid, UTSA likely needs to sweep or at least win two games against UAB this weekend, and then also win a couple of games in Hattiesburg next week, when eight teams convene for the C-USA tournament at Pete Taylor Park.
The tournament site in Hattiesburg is the home ball park of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, who lead the C-USA standings by two games over Louisiana Tech and by three over UTSA and Middle Tennessee with three to play in the regular season.
Southern Miss closes with three on the road at Middle Tennessee, while Louisiana Tech will play three at Charlotte.
UAB 30-21, 12-15
UTSA 33-18, 17-10
Thursday — UAB at UTSA, 6 p.m.
Friday — UAB at UTSA, 6 p.m.
Saturday — UAB at UTSA, noon
Southern Miss 20-7
Louisiana Tech 18-9
Middle Tennessee 17-10
Old Dominion 16-11
UTSA, under third-year coach Pat Hallmark, can set a school record for Conference USA victories in a single season if it can win tonight. The Roadrunners went 17-13 in 2015 under Coach Jason Marshall.
The C-USA is fifth in the nation in the NCAA’s ratings percentage index. With victories over Stanford, TCU, Texas State and Southern Miss, UTSA is 45th as a team. UAB is 93rd.
At-large bids into the NCAA tournament are determined by a selection committee. The tournament field is scheduled to be announced on May 30.
Opening games in the NCAA regionals would be on June 3. UTSA has made the NCAA tournament in baseball only three times (1994, 2005 and 2013).
All three times, the Roadrunners made it via the automatic bid, as tournament champions in the Southland Conference in ’94 and ’05 and in the Western Athletic Conference in ’13.