UTSA wins their first road series of the season against Rice

Rylan Renteria, Contributor

HOUSTON – Pitcher Fischer Kingsbery won his first game with two shutout innings to lead UTSA past Rice in its second Conference USA series victory at Reckling Park. 

The Roadrunners went 2-1 in their first road series of the season. 

A narrow win on Friday night, alongside the 13-8 loss on Saturday, set up for the comeback 6-5 victory on Sunday afternoon.

This series is just UTSA’s second conference series this season. After sweeping the Florida Atlantic Owls, the Roadrunners would look to start 6-0 in conference play. 

The Roadrunners’ 20-5 record has helped attract media attention. UTSA received multiple votes to be in the NCAA Top-25 poll.

In game one, UTSA propelled themselves to a win thanks to a strong team pitching performance. 

The team only gave up three runs the entire game, and two came in the first inning. 

UTSA would start the scoring in the first inning after Antonio Valdez slashed one out of the park to left center, giving the Roadrunners a 2-0 lead. 

After a two-run home run from Rice to tie the game, no runs would be scored for the next four innings. 

UTSA would break the tie in the sixth after Leyton Barry stole home on a wild pitch.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Rice would begin to rally and get runners on base. An RBI single would send the game into extra innings. 

The pitching staff continued to dominate, allowing zero points in extra innings. Relievers Simon Miller and Daniel Schafer would only allow four hits combined in those two innings. 

  A Tye Odom RBI single in the top of the 11th inning would allow UTSA to escape with the win in game one by a final score of 4-3.

The Roadrunners would try to maintain the momentum and win the series the next game but would ultimately fall in an uncharacteristic loss. UTSA’s pitching staff allowed 13 runs which is the most they’ve allowed in a loss all season.

The UTSA offense performed on par with how they had all season. Their eight runs scored usually would have been enough to win, as opponents are averaging 4.2 points per game against the Roadrunners. However, the Owls’ offense proved to be too much to handle as UTSA would lose by a final score of 13-8.

In the final game of the series, the Roadrunners’ pitching staff would rebound from their performance in game two and guide the team to a series win. 

After a scoreless first inning, UTSA got on the board thanks to a Matt King RBI single and  bases-loaded walk that would allow King to advance home and give the ‘Runners a 2-0 lead. 

Rice would respond that same inning with two home runs that would score three runs and allow the Owls to take the lead.

The Roadrunners would come right back out and get a home run of their own as Sammy Diaz would send one past the right field wall, scoring two and allowing UTSA to retake the lead. 

Two innings later, UTSA would extend their lead by one thanks to an Antonio Valdez solo home run. This is Valdez’s seventh home run and 39th RBI this season, both leading the team.

The Owls would tie the game two innings later with a two run home run, and UTSA pitcher Ruger Riojas would be pulled from the game. 

A Leyton Barry RBI double would put UTSA back on top, and the pitching staff would do the rest, allowing no points the rest of the match. The Roadrunners would win the game 6-5 and take the series win as well. 

This win makes UTSA 5-1 in games against Conference USA opponents and improves their overall record to 20-5. Their 20-5 record is the best in the conference, as they have a four-game lead over second place Dallas Baptist University.

The Roadrunners’ next contest will come against Texas A&M- Corpus Christi. UTSA swept TAMUCC earlier this season and will look to stay undefeated against them as they travel to Corpus Christi for this solo game series. 

The first pitch takes place at 6 p.m. on March 28, at Chapman Field in Corpus Christi.