Softball opens season winless

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

The UTSA Roadrunners (0-5) officially took to the field for the first time this season to compete in the Houston Invitational from Feb. 11-12 and for a matchup against the South Dakota Coyotes (4-1) on Feb. 13. 

The ‘Runners got things started on Friday night in the Houston Invitational by squaring off against the Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-1). Texas Tech took home the victory 8-0 in a game called after five innings. The ‘Runners managed just one hit in the ballgame courtesy of shortstop Taylor Medina. On the pitching side of things, Marena Estell was tabbed to get the start and gave up five runs, four earned in just two and a third innings of work.

Their next matchup against the University of Houston Cougars (4-1) was similarly brutal. The ‘Runners were tagged for 13 runs as the Cougars jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. UTSA’s starting pitcher gave up nine runs, six earned in just an inning and two-thirds, and UTSA fell behind 13-0 heading into the fifth inning. Second baseman Kat Ibarra put the ‘Runners on the board for the first time this season with a solo home run to left center, but that was all the offense UTSA could muster, and they fell 13-1.

The following day the ‘Runners squared off in a rematch against the Red Raiders and this was a much tighter affair. Texas Tech jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first, but a Medina sacrifice fly scored Ibarra in the bottom half to level things at one early. After Texas Tech regained the lead in the second inning, UTSA responded with three more runs in the bottom half of the second and then tacked on another run in the third to take a 5-2 lead. This was completely off of the back of wild pitches and passed balls as Texas Tech allowed all four runs to score in this manner. Texas Tech responded and got two runs back in the fourth and the fifth to send things into the seventh inning down just 5-4. Seith was brought in to try and close things out but gave up a go-ahead two-run homer to Carson Armijo to blow the save opportunity. The ‘Runners were unable to capitalize on a leadoff single by Riley Grunberg in the bottom of the seventh and dropped a close one to the Red Raiders 5-6.

The team squared off later in the day against the Cougars in a rematch of the day prior. The game was scoreless until the third inning when Medina scored Camryn Robillard on a sacrifice fly to take a 1-0 lead. Houston responded with four in the bottom of third, but in the top of the fourth, UTSA scored four of their own on the Cougars to regain the lead 5-4. From there though, UTSA’s offense went cold. Houston tied things up in the fourth on a bases loaded walk and then surged ahead in the sixth with another four-run inning. The ‘Runners had one last chance in the top of the seventh when they loaded the bases with nobody out, but a double play and ground out sealed the win for Houston by a final score of 5-9. The ‘Runners finished the Houston Invitational with an 0-4 record. 

In their final game of a busy weekend, the ‘Runners headed to Huntsville on Sunday afternoon to take on the Coyotes. Both teams were hitless through two innings until the bottom of the third when South Dakota put two on to start the inning and then catcher Bela Goerke smashed a three-run homer to the left to hand the Coyotes an early 0-3 lead. In the fifth inning, though, UTSA responded. With two on and two out Grunberg blasted one over the centerfield wall for a three-run shot to tie things back up 3-3. The lead did not hold, however, as in the bottom half of the inning the Coyotes regained the lead on an RBI single from third baseman Aleesia Sainz. UTSA got the tying run on base in both the sixth and seventh innings, but came up empty in their attempts to tie the game and lost 3-4 their fifth straight to start the season.

The ‘Runners will head back to San Antonio for a home-opener matchup against the Green Bay Phoenix (3-2) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Afterwards, the team will head across town to compete in the UIW Tournament from Feb. 18-20.