Baseball wins the Alamo Irish Classic

Julia Maenius, assistant sports editor

The UTSA Roadrunner baseball team won the first place trophy in the Alamo Irish Classic after dropping their first game of the season against the number 22 ranked University of Texas Longhorns.

The ‘Runners faced the Longhorns in Austin on Feb. 18. They claimed the lead early in the first inning, 1-0. Back-to-back miscues by the Longhorns’ outfielders allowed Nick Thornquist to cross the home plate in the top of the fourth. After multiple pitching changes throughout the next innings, the Longhorns made four hits and two walks. The ‘Runners registered their first loss of the season as they returned home for the weekend tournament, 2-6.

The University of Toledo Rockets were the first to face the ‘Runners in the Alamo Irish Classic at Nelson W. Wolff Stadium. No runs were scored in the first two innings. With Cole McKay’s leadership of the ‘Runners’ defense on the pitching mound, Jonathan Tapia batted in Taylor Barber, beginning a long scoring run. In the fifth inning, the Rockets’ defense allowed the ‘Runners to score five runs and one hit by Tapia. A two-run hit by Thornquist allowed first baseman Bryan Sturges to cross the fourth base, increasing the ‘Runners’ score, 10-3. At the top of the eighth, freshman outfielder Hobbs Price recorded his second home run of the season, and Thornquist batted in Sturges to end the game, 12-3.

The following day, the Rockets had a chance to redeem themselves in the second match-up of the Classic. To begin their scoring run, Sturges hit a single allowing Dylan Rock to score from second base. Rock was batted in again in the fifth by Griffin Paxton. After a pitching slump from Slater Foust, allowing the Rockets to record four runs, the ‘Runners retaliated in the sixth with Leyton Barry batting in Tapia, claiming his first homerun of the season. In the following inning, Sturges batted in Paxton after hitting a home run.

The Rockets attempted to make a comeback in the remaining two innings, cutting the ‘Runners’ lead down to 6-5 instead Chase Keng claimed his runners batted in (RBI) for the game. Joshua Lamb followed suit with a run of his own. The ‘Runners ended the game up by three runs, 8-5.

The third game of the tournament was a competition on the mound for the ‘Runners as the University of Notre Dame matched the pitching talent on the opposing side of the field. Both teams’ defenses held the score 0-0 for the first five innings, until Thornquist landed on base to begin the scoring assault by the ‘Runners. Sturges was hit by a pitch, and Barber was walked to load the bases. A stray pitch from the Fighting Irish advanced all of the ‘Runners, with Thornquist moving across home plate.

After two pitching mistakes, the ‘Runners recorded two more runs at the bottom of the sixth. Thornquist stole home after stealing multiple bases to increase the ‘Runners’ lead in the seventh, 4-0. The ‘Runners held Notre Dame to no runs until the ninth inning, when the Fighting Irish capitalized on the ‘Runners’ change in pitching. The ‘Runners lead the tournament undefeated going into their match-up against the University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals.

Head coach Pat Hallmark met his former team on the field for the last game of the tournament as the ‘Runners faced the Cardinals for the trophy title. The ‘Runners allowed the Cardinals to mark their first tally on the board as the Cardinals took advantage of multiple pitching changes made in the first couple of innings. At the top of the fifth, the ‘Runners’ offense kicked in as Sturges scored off of a miscue by the Cardinals and Hunter Grimes scored off of a sacrifice hit by Lamb. Rock batted in Keng with a fly ball deep to the outfield to end the scoring for the ‘Runners for the duration of the tournament. The Cardinals took the offensive advantage, scoring two hits on two runs to conclude the tournament and the game, 7-3.

The ‘Runners will be traveling to Beaumont coming off their tournament win to face the Lamar University Cardinals. The weekend will hold a three-game series for the ‘Runners against the Grambling State University Tigers at the Bird Bath beginning Friday, Feb. 28 at 4 p.m.