UTSA baseball wins opening series against Tarleton State 2-1

Rylan Renteria, Contributor

SAN ANTONIO — The reigning Conference USA runner-ups won their first two games of the regular season against Tarleton State at Roadrunner Field.

The Roadrunners defeated the Texans 3-2 to open the 2023 season on Friday, Feb. 17.

Pitcher Luke Malone started on the mound and pitched seven scoreless innings. The Roadrunners ran into trouble at the top of the ninth as Tarelton scored two runs due to an error by shortstop Matt King. Pitcher Simon Miller was able to get out of the top of the inning with the ‘Runners only down by one.

 In the bottom of the ninth, Tarleton State pitcher Jake Burcham walked the next two batters setting up Leyton Barry to play hero, and that is exactly what he did. Barry battled with Burcham as he hit several foul tips. Eventually, Barry drove one into deep center field and brought the two baserunners home. 

The crowd erupted, and the team celebrated as they survived what could have been a disastrous opener. After the walk-off, Barry commented on his thoughts at the plate as he hit the game-winner. 

“They brought one of their best pitchers out there, so it was a long at-bat,” Barry said. “I fouled off a lot of pitches with two strikes, so I felt like if I kept doing what I needed to do well, which was see the ball well, I would be rewarded, and that’s what happened.”

UTSA had a more complete game on Saturday, winning 13-6.  

  UTSA ran into trouble early as Tarleton State scored two runs early in the first inning. UTSA got on the board in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI double from Garrett Poston to bring it within one.

In the bottom of the second, Shane Sirdashney brought in two runners to take the lead. Tarleton responded with a home run to tie the game at 3-3.  

  King homered to right field, bringing in two baserunners, and Antonio Valdez stole home to give the ‘Runners a three-point lead. In the bottom of the sixth, UTSA put the game out of reach as King, Valdez, Barry, Sammy Diaz and Tye Odom all hit RBIs to make the score 11-3. 

Tarleton State scored three more runs to avoid the run rule, though UTSA cruised to the 13-6 victory.  

Coach Pat Hallmark says the key to the three straight wins will be the defense.

  “We need to just throw strikes and play defense,” Hallmark said. “We have been throwing strikes, so hopefully, we can play a little better defense.”   

In the final game of UTSA’s three-game home series against Tarleton State, the Roadrunners found themselves in a hole early as they were down by as much as three scores going into the fifth inning. 

A single from Antonio Valdez and an errant throw by Tarleton State allowed Caleb Hill to get UTSA’s first points of the match. In the bottom of the eighth, UTSA rallied and scored four points to tie the game at five all and send the game to extra innings thanks to contributions from Barry, King, Hill and Valdez.

In extra innings, no runs were scored until the top of the 12th, where Tarleton State tacked on two points to give the Texans the lead. 

UTSA had an opportunity to tie it up or take the lead but were unable to score as they suffered their first loss of the season 7-5; however, even with this loss, UTSA takes the series win vs. Tarleton State 2-1. 

UTSA looks ahead to their single-game matchup against the University of Houston at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Roadrunner Field.