UTSA Baseball: Coach Hallmark and Luke Malone preview 2023 season

Rylan Renteria, Contributor

The reigning Conference USA runner-ups are back with a vengeance.

In 2022, UTSA baseball finished 19-11 in league play and 38-20 overall, their best season since 2009. The Roadrunners are days away from starting their 2023 schedule and will hope to make another deep tournament run.

Head baseball coach Pat Hallmark and senior pitcher Luke Malone gave us their thoughts about the upcoming season, fan support for the baseball team and the program’s future.  

With the success of UTSA’s football team, it is almost unfair to compare fan support. Packing the Alamodome on Saturdays in the fall has become a Roadrunner tradition; however, this baseball team has done more than enough to garner support from fans of Roadrunner athletics. 

“I’d just ask to come out and give us a chance, especially when the weather gets good,” Hallmark said. “I do think, for the most part, the product on the field will be good. They can even drink a beer or two and get rowdy and maybe even give the other team hell; we need all the help we can get.”

Malone commented on what fans are missing by not showing up to the games. 

“I consider ourselves the premiere baseball team in San Antonio; we always give a good show, we play hard and we play fast. It’s exciting to watch,” Malone said. 

The Roadrunners went 9-3 against nationally-ranked opponents last season. When the competition is fierce, this team does not back down.   

  With the bar set so high last year, Hallmark explained what will make the team even better this season. 

“Well, I think our pitching will be better,” Hallmark said. “All the pitching is back, and we’ve added at least three new pitchers to everybody that’s returning. The core of the team is back.” 

Hallmark mentioned that the team lost some veteran leadership on offense, but players like outfielder Shane Sirdashney and pitcher Luke Malone are great leaders and will have themselves and the team ready. When asked what it meant to Malone about his preseason all-conference honors, he turned back on the need to improve. 

“I don’t really pay much attention to preseason ranking or preseason awards; I just try to improve in every way I can,” Malone said.

  Hallmark signed a four-year contract extension last fall with hopes of making deeper postseason runs. When asked how much better we can expect the UTSA baseball program to be in the upcoming years, Hallmark seemed optimistic about the improvement to be made. 

“I hope a lot,” Hallmark said. “A lot might be a lot to ask because we were so good last year — I felt like we were a postseason team. From a coaching side, what we talk about is consistency. We had a great year last year, and we want to repeat that and build a foundation.”

Hallmark gave kudos to UTSA’s head football coach Jeff Traylor by acknowledging the high standards that have been brought to Roadrunner football. Heading into his fourth season at UTSA, Hallmark is eager to raise baseball expectations and deliver with a championship.  

  The UTSA baseball team plays their first series at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, against Tarleton State at home.