Vince Cardenas / The Paisano
The UTSA Roadrunners (19-9, 6-3 C-USA) swept the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (9-17, 3-9 C-USA) last weekend, March 28-30, at Roadrunner field.
With clear blue skies and no signs of rain, the Roadrunners took full control of the weekend, plating a total of 19 runs against the visiting Bulldogs.
“This was huge, 6-3 is a lot better than 5-4 when you look at it in league play,” said UTSA Head Coach Jason Marshall on his team’s much needed sweep against LA Tech.
Friday night’s thriller had fans on the edge of their seats, with UTSA and LA Tech both making spectacular defensive stops and taking quality pitches at the plate.
Sophomore center fielder Jesse Baker not only provided one of the decisive hits in the 8th inning, but would notch two assists during the night. Baker threw out LA Tech’s Steven Blanchard in the fourth inning and Colby Johnson in the sixth inning. The Bulldog’s tried to score on both plays, but Baker’s throw was always a step ahead.
“He (Jesse Baker) is an electric talent,” commented Coach Marshall on the center fielder’s play. “Our defense is the centerpiece of the ball club, and you saw it tonight.”
The Roadrunners rallied in the 8th inning to score two runs to go up 3-2, and pitcher Matt Sims threw a perfect ninth inning to give him the save.
UTSA sophomore starter Brock Harston was hit with another no-decision, allowing only one earned over six innings pitched.
“It’s a typical, we call it “Friday Night at the Fights.” It sets the tempo for the weekend, and it’s going to be tough,” noted Coach Marshall on the importance of Friday night games. “But Brock is so reliable, and you know what you’ll get on a week in, week out basis.”
Both teams struggled to find the scoreboard in game two, with UTSA scoring only one run through four innings. However, it quickly changed in the fifth, as UTSA blasted five runs to take a commanding 6-0 lead.
With the bases loaded, senior first baseman Mike Warren drew the walk to score the first of UTSA’s five runs. The senior would go 2-for-4 that day, with a game-high three RBI’s.
“I have been here for four years. I’ve seen this team through the ups and down’s, and as one of the seniors it’s our role to do the best we can, and be the leaders out on the field,” Warren stated after the game on what it means to be one of the veterans out on the field.
After the Roadrunner’s big fifth inning, the Bulldogs scored one in the seventh, but allowed UTSA to score the final four runs of the game. UTSA took game two, and eyed the sweep going into the series finale.
The atmosphere grew eerily similar Sunday afternoon as UTSA took the early two-run lead after three innings of play, but failed to sustain the same offensive prowess as the day before. The Bulldogs tied it up with a pair of runs in the fifth, and showed no sign of allowing UTSA to take the sweep.
Nevertheless, it did not stop UTSA’s John Welborn from blasting his first homerun of the season to spark the Roadrunner’s four-run inning. Welborn went 3-5 with three runs scored.
“Welborn’s homerun to lead off was an exclamation on a good weekend, and we needed that,” said Coach Marshall after the game.
The Bulldogs scored one more run, but were unable to do anything else in the final two innings. UTSA’s sweep put them at 19-9 and marked their second best start through the midway point of the season.
“There haven’t been a lot of teams in UTSA’s history that have started 19-9,” stated Coach Marshall on his team through the first 28 games. “But to be playing in C-USA, and knowing we have stepped it up a notch from a competitive standpoint, I can say I’m very pleased.”
UTSA (19-9) will travel down the road to take on local rivals Texas State (16-11) on Tuesday, 6:30pm. The game will also be streamed on ESPN 3.