Road struggles continue in baseball’s losses to Baylor and Florida Atlantic


Ellyson Ortega

Jonathan Tapia celebrates as he rounds the bases after hitting a home run during a games against Seattle earlier this season. Tapia, a senior from San Antonio, Texas, launched two home runs during the series against Florida Atlantic over the weekend, bringing his season total up to three. Tapia is enjoying a career year at the plate for the ‘Runners as he’s currently hitting a career best .302 with seven doubles and 15 RBIs.

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

The UTSA Roadrunners (13-10, 2-4 C-USA) were on the road this week to take on the Baylor Bears (12-11) on Tuesday, March 22, and the Florida Atlantic Owls (16-9, 3-3 C-USA) in a three-game series from March 25-27. Underlining a recent trend, the ‘Runners struggled on the road, blowing a late lead against Baylor in a 2-3 loss before losing the series against Florida Atlantic two games to one.

The ‘Runners headed to Waco to take on Baylor in the first game of the week, and got off to a good start. Things were scoreless in the second inning when the ‘Runners loaded the bases and Garret Poston came to the plate. Poston ripped a ball right back up the middle for an RBI single to give UTSA an early 1-0 lead. Jonathan Tapia was next up and worked a walk to bring in another run, but that was all the ‘Runners got from the inning as they stranded the bases loaded with two quick outs. A sacrifice fly allowed Baylor to grab one run back in the bottom of the third, but in a game where the ‘Runners employed almost exclusively relief pitchers, the Baylor offense was kept quiet. Things remained quiet offensively for both teams until the top of the eighth when the ‘Runners had men on second and third with nobody out. Unfortunately, the ‘Runners squandered the opportunity, with Matt King’s inning-ending double play serving as the backbreaker. 

Entering the ninth inning, UTSA still clung to a one-run lead, but Baylor was not ready to go away. Simon Miller (1-3, 4.38 ERA) was on the mound to close things out, but ran into trouble almost immediately. A leadoff walk put the tying run aboard and the runner was then moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt. That runner then came around to tie things up after first baseman Ryan Flores committed a fielding error. A hit batter and then another walk loaded the bases with one out and put UTSA in imminent danger of blowing another close game against a power conference opponent, a hallmark of last year’s team. It was here that Miller committed one of the cardinal sins of baseball, walking in the game-winning run on four pitches. With that Baylor walked away with a walk-off 3-2 victory over the Roadrunners.

The ‘Runners attempted to get back on track with a three-game series against the Florida Atlantic Owls. In game one of the series, UTSA benefited from solid pitching en route to the victory. Luke Malone (3-0, 1.21 ERA) got the start on the mound for the ‘Runners and having been consistent all season, he turned in another solid outing. Malone pitched six and two-thirds innings while only allowing six hits, two runs, one walk and struck out two. Malone’s effort was aided by decent run support. Tapia hit a two-run homer to give UTSA the early lead and after Florida Atlantic drew within one after the third inning, Sammy Diaz smashed a double to right-center to drive in two more Roadrunners to take a 4-1 lead. The Owls brought the score to 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run, but Diaz restored the three-run advantage on a sacrifice fly that scored Flores. Daniel Shafer (0-1, 4.60 ERA) was on the mound in the ninth to close things out, which was not easy. Shafer surrendered a two-run home run to put Florida Atlantic down just one, then issued a walk to put the tying run on base with only one out. Shafer settled in from there, getting the next batter to reach on a fielder’s choice as the lead runner was out at second. Shafer then struck out the last batter of the game to end things and give UTSA the win in game one of the series by a final score of 5-4. 

Game two was a much more offensively centered game, with the ball just flying out of the yard. Tapia led off the game with a solo home run for the ‘Runners, then Flores hit a two-run shot later in the inning to give UTSA an early 3-0 advantage. Florida Atlantic also demonstrated their power, however, as they crushed a three-run homer in the bottom of the second to tie things up. King gave the ‘Runners the lead right back in the top of the third with an RBI single, but Florida Atlantic took the lead with a two-run home run in the bottom half of the inning. Then in the fourth inning, the Owls put three more runs on the board to seize control of the game at 4-8. Another two home runs for Florida Atlantic in the sixth put UTSA in a deep hole at 4-11 and despite Flores hitting his second home run of the game in the eighth, and a couple more runs coming across for the ‘Runners in the latter stages, they fell short of a comeback, losing game two 9-12. 

Unlike their previous three games, UTSA did not start fast out of the gate in the deciding game three of the series. An early three-run homer by Florida Atlantic put the ‘Runners in a hole they had to work to climb out of. Isaiah Walker connected on a solo home run to left field to get UTSA on the board in the top of third, and then in the fourth, Chase Keng drove in a run and Tapia hit a two-RBI double to give UTSA their first lead of the ballgame at 4-3. The Owls immediately regained control, however, in the bottom of the fourth when they hit a two-run homer off of Miller, who had just entered the ballgame. UTSA had nine straight batters retire consecutively from that point and Florida Atlantic grew the lead out to 4-8. 

In the eighth, the Roadrunners were threatening to close things back up. With two outs in the inning, UTSA loaded the bases and Poston came to the plate looking to do some major damage to the Owls’ lead. He was not able to come through, however, grounding out right back to the pitcher to kill the ‘Runners’ rally. UTSA was retired in the ninth in order and Florida Atlantic took the series’ rubber match 4-8, and the series two games to one.

UTSA will next head on the road for games against UIW (11-10) on March 29, and No. 12 TCU (18-5) on Wednesday, March 30. Afterward, the team will return home for a three-game series against Charlotte (16-7, 4-2 C-USA) from April 1-3. The UIW game will be available on StretchLive, the TCU game on ESPN+ and the Charlotte series on