Roadrunners to play as 2-seed in C-USA tournament

Rylan Renteria, Contributor

SAN ANTONIO – After a 21-8 conference record, UTSA baseball will look to avenge last season’s conference championship loss with a run as the tournament’s 2-seed. 

Despite losing five of their last seven games, the Roadrunners finished with an overall record of 38-17  and will look to get revenge against Dallas Baptist and emerge as conference champions. UTSA finished out their historic 2023 with two losses in a series against Louisiana Tech, a week after getting swept by 1-seeded DBU. 

In the series against LA Tech, UTSA newcomer Taylor Smith earned C-USA Hitter of the Week, along with Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week. This is the seventh time a Roadrunner has earned the National Player of the Week honors. Smith finished his first season as a Roadrunner with 39 RBIs and a team-leading 17 home runs.  

  The additions of Smith and infielder Antonio Valdez were key pieces for UTSA to the regular season as the conference runner-up. Valdez led the team in batting average, RBIs, hits and stolen bases. 

On top of the returning players from UTSA’s 2022 campaign, the insertions of Smith and Valdez propelled the Roadrunners to their first national ranking in program history. UTSA peaked at No.22 in the nation and held their ranking until their series loss against No.18 DBU.  

  Head coach Pat Hallmark has been vocal about the Roadrunner’s key to victory all season: pitching and defense. UTSA’s pitching has been excellent all season, in large part to junior reliever Simon Miller. 

Miller was ranked as the No.2 reliever in the nation by D1Baseball. UTSA also boasts a solid starting rotation including freshman pitcher Ruger Riojas. The talent the Roadrunners have on the mound, allows the offense to play with more confidence. UTSA finished with four players having 40 or more RBIs.  

  In 2022, the Roadrunners just missed out on the NCAA tournament after finishing as runner-ups in the C-USA tournament. The first step for UTSA will be to beat Middle Tennessee in the first round of the tournament.  The Roadrunners swept the Blue Raiders back in April and outscored them 30-13 in three games.