Smith’s hat trick lifts UTSA over Louisiana Tech in series-opening slugfest


RUSTON, La. – In a combined 34-run and 37-hit series opener, the UTSA baseball team dominated Louisiana Tech, 18-16, in an 11-inning thriller on Thursday night at JC Love Field.


  • Leyton Barry had an outstanding 4-for-5 with three runs, four RBI, a double and a home run, extending his hitting streak to 20 games.
  • Taylor Smith extended his hitting streak to 11 games as he launched three home runs, tying the program record for most home runs in a game. This is the sixth time a Roadrunner has achieved this feat, the last time through Chase Keng on March 26, 2021.
  • Matt King also had three hits on the night, along with four RBI, a run and a double.
  • Josh Killeen and Antonio Valdez each collected two hits to extend their reached base streaks to 17 games and 13 games, respectively.
  • Simon Miller earned his eighth win (8-1) of the season as he went five innings while striking out three batters.
  • The Roadrunners improve to a 37-16 overall record (20-7 in C-USA action), while Louisiana Tech fell to 26-28 overall (14-14 in conference play).


Just four pitches into the game, the Roadrunners opened what would turn out to be a slugfest series-opening matchup. After a three-pitch strikeout to start the first, Smith stepped to the plate and showed fans why JC Love Field is often called a “hitter friendly” park. He launched a solo home run to set the tone for the game.

A few batters later, Barry singled before taking second. He then came home on a single by King to give UTSA a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the frame, the Bulldogs exploded for five runs as the first six batters reached base. A single to shortstop and a grand slam gave Louisiana Tech a 5-2 lead.

The second frame went much faster as both sides went in order. Starting pitcher Luke Malone forced two flyouts and a strikeout to put a zero on the board.

The Roadrunners used a four-run third inning to take a 6-5 lead as a double by Barry and sacrifice flies by King and Caleb Hill got the advantage back for UTSA. In the bottom of the frame, Malone went back to work to put the Bulldogs down in order on a flyout and two groundouts.

In the fourth frame, UTSA extended its lead to 9-5 as Garrett Poston scored on an error and Smith hit his second home run of the game, this time a two-run jack to center field.

The Bulldogs had a response in the bottom of the fourth, when a three-run home run cut UTSA’s lead to 9-8.

The fifth inning was the second in a row in which both teams scored the same number of runs. A solo home run by Poston, bases-loaded walk to Barry and two-RBI single by King extended UTSA’s lead, before a pair of home runs by the Bulldogs in the bottom of the frame got them back within one run (13-12 ) , UTSA leading).

After the Roadrunners extended their lead to 14-12 on an RBI double by Killeen in the top of the sixth, Ryan Beard retired Louisiana Tech on a pair of groundouts and a strikeout.

The Bulldogs then spread a pair of runs in the seventh and eighth to tie the game at 14-14.

Although the Roadrunners got a pair of baserunners in the top of the ninth, they were unable to break the tie, taking the game into extra innings.

In the 10th frame, neither team scored as the Roadrunners went down in order in the top of the frame and Miller sat the Bulldogs down in the bottom of the inning.

Just like in the first inning, the first batter struck out in the 11thth inning to bring up Smith who once again launched the first pitch he saw to give UTSA the 15-14 advantage and complete his hat trick. Valdez then worked a five-pitch walk, before Barry uncorked a two-run shot. A few times later, Garrett Brooks single to drive in King and extend UTSA’s lead to 18-14.

Although the Bulldogs scored a few in the bottom of the frame, UTSA was able to hold on for the 18-16 series-opening win over Louisiana Tech.

The Roadrunners and Bulldogs resume the series on Friday at 6 p.m. at JC Love Field in Ruston, La.


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