UTSA beats Sam Houston State, wins series over Rice


Dustin Vickers

Braden Davis delivers a pitch during a game against Charlotte earlier this month. Davis, a true freshman from Austin, Texas, burst onto the scene earlier this season when he threw six shutout innings in just his second collegiate start. Davis is currently 2-2 with a 5.56 ERA this season.

Julia Maenius, Assistant Sports Editor

The UTSA baseball team (24-12, 9-6 C-USA) went 3-1 last week in a midweek match-up against Sam Houston (19-15) and a three-game weekend series at Rice (11-26, 4-11 C-USA). The Roadrunners exited the weekend 12 games above .500 on the season and outscored their opponents 36-22 in their four games.

UTSA traveled to Huntsville on April 14 to face the Bearkats. Three scoreless innings from the Roadrunner pitching staff held the scoreboard empty heading into the fourth. UTSA put a run on the board in the top of the fourth to take a 1-0 lead. Leyton Barry was walked and stole second to become the third Roadrunner to reach base in the game. Sammy Diaz stepped into the box and sent a double to right-center, which sent Barry across home plate to put UTSA up 1-0. Two more scoreless innings were worked by UTSA. A single from Tapia to start the sixth inning jump-started the Roadrunner offense. A sacrifice bunt from Barry advanced Tapia to second. Ryan Flores singled up the middle to center field to score Tapia and give UTSA a 2-0 lead that they held until the end of the game.

The team then traveled down to Houston to face the Rice Owls on April 15-17. Winning the first two games of the series, the Roadrunners were unable to clinch the sweep after suffering a loss in the final game of the series on Sunday. 

A four-run second inning fueled UTSA’s 9-2 win over the Owls on Friday afternoon. With Chase Keng and Shane Sirdashney on first and third, a single from Garrett Poston scored Keng (1-0) for the first run of the series. Tapia followed with a three-RBI home run to left field to score Poston and Sirdashney as the Roadrunners created a 4-0 lead. A solo homer from Keng in the third increased the lead. Rice tacked two runs onto the board in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to three runs. Barry sent a sacrifice fly to left field to score Poston in the fourth. The board remained 6-2 for three innings to follow before Sirdashney sent the first pitch of the eighth over the left-field wall for a solo homer (7-2). A pair of runs in the top of the ninth secured a Roadrunner win. With Barry on third and Diaz on second, Flores flew out to score Barry for an 8-2 lead. Keng singled as Josh Killeen was sent home for a seven-run lead and a 9-2 win for the first game of the series. 

The Roadrunners continued their heavy-hitting into the second game on April 16. A six-run fourth inning and five-run eighth inning saw an 11-run deficit for the Owls on Saturday. Keng kicked off the scoring run for UTSA by batting in Ian Bailey off a sacrifice fly in the top of the second. The Owls took a 1-3 lead in the third. They did not hold the lead for long as UTSA carved a 7-3 lead in the top of the next frame. Sirdashney advanced to third after Poston singled through the left side. Matt King bunted to bring in Sirdashney to kick off the four-run inning. A single from Tapia through the left side scored Poston, who was waiting on second. Barry then singled up the middle to move Tapia to third before Diaz sent the senior home with a single to right field. With two runners on, a home run ripped off the bat of Ryan Flores scored Diaz and Barry for a three RBI hit to put the Roadrunners up by four (7-3). 

The board remained the same until a single from Diaz to score King notched the eighth run for UTSA in the top of the sixth. The Owls tallied a fourth run in the bottom of the frame to cut the lead to four heading into the seventh. A Poston walk advanced Sirdashney to second before a double to left-center from King scored both runners for a 10-4 lead. Continuing their scoring run, the Roadrunners tacked on five runs to their lead in the eighth. With bases loaded, a double from Keng scored Flores and Diaz (12-4). Continuing the full diamond, Poston was walked by the Owls’ pitching staff to advance all runners and send Bailey home. King was in the box next and four balls sent him to first as Keng was advanced to cross home plate. A hit into a double play from Tapia scored Isaiah Walker, who was in to pinch run for Sirdashney, as UTSA took a 15-4 lead to win the series and head into the final game 2-0 on the weekend. 

The Owls were not done with the Roadrunners, as a 16-7 win on Sunday afternoon allowed Rice to escape a home sweep. A seven-run eighth inning fueled the win for Rice. Kicking off the scoring, the Owls claimed three runs in the bottom of the first inning for an early 3-0 lead over UTSA. The Roadrunners got on the board in the second with two runs. With Sirdashney and Bailey on second and third, Killeen grounded out to shortstop as Sirdashney scored. Scoring on an error by the catcher, Bailey cut Rice’s lead to one run (2-3). Two runs in the bottom of the third increased the Owls’ lead to 5-2. Bailey was walked to start the fourth. Killeen sent a double to left field as Bailey advanced home on an error by left field. Rice increased to a 7-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth.

The UTSA offense then suffered through two-three up, three down innings, resulting in no change of score until Rice tacked on an eighth run in the bottom of the sixth and a ninth run in the seventh. The Roadrunners cut the Owls’ lead to two runs in the top of the eighth. A double from King scored Sirdashney and Flores. A ground out from Keng sent Bailey to cross home plate before a Tapia single that advanced him to second scored King for a 9-7 board as UTSA trailed. Rice responded with a seven-run in the bottom of the eighth to create a 16-7 scoring deficit and win the last game of the weekend. 

The team is set to face Texas State (28-9) on Tuesday, April 19, at 6 p.m. in San Marcos before returning to Roadrunner Field this weekend, April 22-24 to host FIU (11-23, 4-11 C-USA) in a three-game series. The faceoff at Texas State can be viewed on ESPN+. The first pitch of the home series will be thrown at 6 p.m. on Friday. The games against FIU can be viewed on CUSA.tv.