— UTSA Baseball ⚾️ (@UTSABSB) April 26, 2023
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 at UAB, three-game series starting Friday.