‘Runners roughed up by ranked opposition at Texas Classic


Julia Maenius

Emily Johnson connects on a ball during the fall exhibition season. Johnson has started eight games for the ‘Runners this season.

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

The UTSA Roadrunners (3-10) traveled to Austin this past weekend to compete in the Texas Classic. There, the team faced off against a pair of ranked opponents on Sunday in the form of No. 22 Arizona State (9-4) and No. 23 Texas (7-7) before ending the tournament on Monday with a matchup against Tulsa (5-7). The ‘Runners dropped a close one to Arizona State 4-7, before falling to Texas in a rout 0-8 a few hours later. On Monday, the team finished their tournament off with a 1-6 loss against Tulsa as the team’s pitching staff remained volatile.

The ‘Runners squared off against the No. 22 Arizona State Sun Devils to open their tournament and fell behind early. Jamie Gilbert (1-1, 6.25 ERA) got the start on the mound and endured a rough day at the office. She worked five and a third innings and gave up seven hits, six runs and five walks, but did strike out three. The Sun Devils seized control of the game early and led 0-3 after three innings of play. In the fourth, though, UTSA mounted a comeback. Marena Estell nailed a two-RBI double to right field and then Lauren Coerver tied the game up with an RBI single to left field. The ‘Runners left Coerver stranded on third to end the inning. However, the Sun Devils then responded in the sixth inning. Back-to-back doubles pushed three runs across the plate and chased Gilbert from the game. Estell (1-3, 5.63 ERA) was brought in to relieve Gilbert and escaped the inning without any further damage. Arizona State tacked on a further insurance run in the top of the seventh and UTSA came up in the bottom of the seventh looking for a rally. After their first two batters were sat down in order, the ‘Runners showed they still had some fight left in them. The next three ‘Runner batters reached base safely and Emily Dear’s RBI single brought Riley Grunberg in to score and sent Estell to the plate representing the game-tying run. Unfortunately, Estell went down looking on strikes and the two-out rally fell short, with the Sun Devils picking up the win 4-7. 

Just a few hours later, UTSA returned to the field to play against the No. 23 Texas Longhorns. After playing a ranked opponent very competitively just a few short hours before, hopes were high a similarly competitive game would develop in this one, but it was nowhere close to the same result. The Longhorns absolutely shelled UTSA starter Alexa Williams (0-3, 7.79 ERA) on the mound, tagging her for four runs on three hits in just one inning of work. Down 0-4 early, UTSA could not mount any offense whatsoever against Texas starter Sophia Simpson (2-1, 2.06 ERA). The ‘Runners were no-hit by Simpson and the game was called after six innings via the mercy rule for a 0-8 Texas victory.

After the rough game the night prior, UTSA returned Monday to square off against the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes and looked to bounce back. Williams got the start on the mound once again for the ‘Runners and after allowing a run in the first inning, settled down and got through the next two innings clean. In the top of the third, UTSA tied things up 1-1 when Camryn Robillard ripped a single down the left field line to score Coerver. In the fourth, though, everything fell apart for Williams. Six hits and an error helped contribute to Tulsa putting up five runs in the inning to jump out to a 1-6 lead. The ‘Runners’ last seven batters in the game were retired in order and Tulsa took the victory by a final score of 1-6. 

The team will remain out on the road next week with a matchup in Houston against the Houston Baptist Huskies (6-5) on Tuesday, March 1. Afterward, the team will travel to Arlington to compete in the Boerner Invitational from March 4-6.