Baseball loses 12-14 slugfest against No. 9 Texas St., sweeps FIU over the weekend


Dustin Vickers

Chase Keng drives a ball during UTSA’s series sweep clinching win over FIU on Sunday. Keng had a solid week, going 5 for 16 at the plate with two doubles and five RBIs. He currently leads the ‘Runners in RBIs for the season with 42 and is tied for second in doubles with 12 on the year.

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

The UTSA Roadrunners (27-13, 12-6 C-USA) continued their march towards the conference tournament this past week as they competed in four more games. First, on Tuesday, April 19, the team took on the No. 9 Texas State Bobcats (32-9), then over the weekend, the team squared off against the FIU Panthers (11-26, 4-14 C-USA) in a three-game series. The team dropped their matchup to the Bobcats in an offensive showcase 12-14, but rebounded by sweeping the Panthers in an authoritative fashion. 

The action started on Tuesday evening against the Bobcats with a back-and-forth game early on. A two-RBI single from Chase Keng put the ‘Runners up early 2-0, but a four-run third inning from the Bobcats saw them take a 3-5 lead. Texas State kept up that momentum and used a dominant fourth inning when they put seven more runs on the board to stake themselves to a 3-11 lead after four innings of play. Both offenses went quiet through the fifth and sixth innings, but UTSA’s offense came back to life, and they put up two runs in the seventh to draw within six. Texas State answered back in the bottom of the seventh, however, and pushed across three more runs to extend their lead to 5-14. Things seemed bleak for the ‘Runners after a quiet eighth inning, but in the top of the ninth, the team rallied. Thanks to good plate discipline and timely hitting, UTSA slowly began to chip away at the lead. The lead was 6-14, then 7-14 and even later it shrank to 9-14. All the while, the ‘Runners continued to reach base safely. Eventually, an Ian Bailey strikeout left UTSA hanging on by a thread with two outs and the score down to 10-14, but a clutch RBI single from Leyton Barry and an Austin Ochoa walk with the bases loaded cut the Texas State lead to two points. Nick Crespo was brought on to pinch-hit with the winning run on first, but struck out looking on a full count to end it as Texas State escaped with a 12-14 win. 

Heading into their weekend series against FIU, the Roadrunners were keen to put an end to their two-game losing streak and they did so in a big way. UTSA ace, Luke Malone (6-1, 1.78 ERA), got the start on the mound for the ‘Runners in game one and turned in another high-quality start. Malone lasted five and one-third innings, giving up only five hits, three runs, none earned and struck out five. UTSA jumped out to an early 1-0 lead thanks to a sacrifice fly by Ryan Flores in the first inning and then they tacked on three more in the second to go up 4-1. Ian Bailey crushed a no-doubt solo home run in the third inning to push the lead to 5-1 and then Garret Poston slammed a home run of his own, this one a two-run shot to put the ‘Runners up 7-1. The Panthers put up two in the fifth to inch closer, but a Jonathan Tapia three-RBI double with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth put the game firmly out of reach and UTSA cruised from there to a 12-4 victory in game one. 

In game two of the series, UTSA endured a shaky early start on the mound. Jacob Jimenez (2-1, 5.08 ERA) got the call to start the game for the ‘Runners and struggled mightily with command issues. Jimenez walked two runners into scoring position, but managed to tightrope his way out of danger early in the first. In the bottom half of the inning, Tapia led the game off with a double and then Shane Sirdashney drove him in with an RBI double that he looped just inside the third-base foul line to put UTSA up 1-0. In the second inning, Jimenez continued to struggle, walking another FIU batter and after an error by Matt King allowed another baserunner to reach safely. Head coach Pat Hallmark pulled Jimenez from the game in favor of John Chomko (2-0, 3.71 ERA). Chomko retired three consecutive batters to get UTSA out of the inning unscathed. Barry then doubled UTSA’s advantage in the bottom half of the inning when he hit a laser back up the middle for an RBI double. In the third, Chomko ran into trouble as he became afflicted with the same control issues that plagued Jimenez. Chomko walked three batters in the inning and hit a fourth, but somehow managed to limit the damage and only allowed one run to come across on a wild pitch. UTSA tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the third when Keng doubled to right-center to put UTSA up 4-1. 

Simon Miller (2-3, 5.32 ERA) was called out of the bullpen to start the fourth inning for UTSA and went on to put together the best appearance of his collegiate career thus far. Miller lasted four and two-thirds innings of work, allowed just one hit, one walk, one hit batter and struck out an absurd 10 FIU batters. Miller’s breaking ball was deadly all outing, demonstrating a fantastic last-second break as the Panthers were frozen time and time again and left flailing when they did decide to swing. While Miller was busy giving a master class on relief pitching, UTSA continued to build on their lead, putting up two runs each in the sixth and seventh to take an 8-1 lead, which would hold up as the final margin. 

Going for the series sweep in game three, UTSA found themselves in a battle against the Panthers. FIU jumped out an early 2-0 lead and extended it to 4-1 in the fourth, but UTSA came back with a five-run fifth inning capped by a Sirdashney three-run homer to put UTSA ahead 6-4. FIU responded in the sixth to tie the game on an error by Kody Darcy and then retook the lead in the seventh with a two-RBI single to go up 6-8. UTSA fought back in the bottom half of the seventh with Tapia, who led the inning off with a solo home run to left, and then Flores tied the game on a single through the right side of the infield. Then in the eighth inning, Poston came through in the clutch and hit an RBI single with two outs in the inning to score Isaiah Walker and give UTSA a 9-8 lead. FIU was retired in order in the top of the ninth as UTSA secured the series sweep of the Panthers.

UTSA baseball will stay in San Antonio for a rematch against the No. 9 Texas State Bobcats on Tuesday, April 26. The team will then hit the road from April 28 to May 1 for a three-game series against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (21-17, 11-7 C-USA). All four games will be available to stream on