Athlete of the Week: Luke Malone


Julia Maenius

Luke Malone begins to release a pitch during a game against UT Arlington last season. Malone has easily been the ace of the UTSA pitching staff this year with batters hitting just .225 off of him this season.

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

The UTSA baseball team is in the midst of their best season in recent memory. The team is 27-13 on the year and is 12-6 in conference play. Leading the charge is an overpowering offense that is averaging 8.4 runs per game, 18th best in the nation. Another key piece of the team’s performance this year is redshirt junior Luke Malone. A season after finishing 2-2 with a 6.41 ERA in 17 appearances, Malone has transformed himself into one of, if not the best, pitcher in Conference USA for the Roadrunners this season. Through 11 appearances, Malone is 6-1 and leads Conference USA with a 1.78 ERA. Malone credits his confidence with his massive jump in performance this year.

“Just confidence, just going out there knowing that if I compete and I’m feeling my stuff, I’ll be alright, just throwing the ball and letting my defense work, everything will be okay,” Malone said. 

A large part of that confidence this year has stemmed from Malone’s mindset, in which he treats every opponent the same.

“I have a built-in routine, no matter who I am facing, I always take it like it is the same team. It could be the Texas Rangers or whoever, I just like to think of it as the same team. I just attack them the same way as I attack everybody else,” Malone said.

Part of that routine is his pregame and mid-game rituals, which allow him to stay locked in during his starts on the mound.

“Pregame, I always listen to a lot of Kenny Chesney and George Strait before the game. During the game, I like to work on my breathing. Keeping focused, not getting too ahead of myself and staying in the moment,” Malone said.

For as good as he is on the mound, Malone actually did not start out as a baseball player. Instead, he credits some of his family members with introducing him to the game and sparking his career.

“I actually used to be a swimmer and a soccer player. My parents were away for a week and I went to go stay at my cousins’ house and they were both big on baseball. So, they taught me baseball there and I’ve been playing ever since,” Malone said.

Malone initially started out, like most, as a two-way player, but unlike most, it was not until he got to college that he fully committed to focusing solely on the mound.

“In high school, I was both [a pitcher and a position player]. I got recruited at Corpus as both, but while I was at Corpus I decided to focus on pitching.”

Originally starting out at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Malone ended up transferring to UTSA after one full season. As he explains it, if it was not for the one-key-hire by UTSA, Malone may likely be starting on the mound for the crosstown UIW Cardinals.  

“I heard good things about Coach Hallmark and I really wanted to play for him because he develops players and pitchers really well and the way he competes. So, I was really looking forward to playing with him when he was at UIW and then he got the job here and the whole coaching staff came over and they contacted me. I’m just happy it worked out.”

Malone is currently attending graduate school for kinesiology and exercise science and has a clear vision of what he wants to do with that degree after he graduates. 

“I really want to be a Division I baseball coach, really badly. I feel like exercise science helps big-time with that – knowing injuries, where the body moves, that kind of stuff.” 

As amazing as he is on the mound, Malone is as good, if not more so, in the classroom. Malone is a three-time recipient of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal, given to those who maintain a GPA over 3.75. As Malone explains it, academics play an important role in his life and also provides some familial competition. 

“To me, they are very important. I’m a perfectionist, so I have to try my best at everything I do. I’m pretty disappointed if I get a grade below a 90. So, it’s really competitive; me and my sister are competitive about who gets the better grades and everything. I think that academics [are] a reflection of who you are, not necessarily how smart you are, but how much you are willing to try.” 

Outside of the classroom and the baseball diamond, Malone is likely going to be found engaging in his favorite hobby, fishing. 

“It is just a nice way to relax. If I need to go freshwater fishing, I’ll go freshwater fishing, but I love to go fishing. Just sit out there; it’s nice and peaceful.”

When asked if he had any individual or team goals he would like to accomplish the rest of the season, Malone kept things focused squarely on the team. 

“I do not really like to focus on myself. So just looking at the team, finish the season on a high note. Keep competing the way we have been competing and making an NCAA Regional. I would love to make a regional here at UTSA, that is the goal.”