RUSTON, La. – The UTSA baseball team will conclude regular season play with a three-game series against defending Conference USA champion Louisiana Tech on Thursday-Sunday. All three games will be streamed on CUSA.tv from JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston, Louisiana.
This matchup will look familiar to fans as the Roadrunners and Bulldogs went head-to-head in the Conference USA Championship game last season. In a back-and-forth battle for the title, a walk-off single by Louisiana Tech completed the job as UTSA lost a heartbreaker to end a phenomenal postseason run.
The Roadrunners are at the top of the conference in the top hitting and pitching categories, including first in batting average (.312) and third in earned run average (4.84). Simon Miller is seventh in the nation in ERA (1.98) and sixth in the nation in saves (11). Antonio Valdez is third in the nation in triples (7) and Sammy Diaz is the third hardest hitter to hit in the nation (21.6).
GOOD WEEK FOR THE ROADRUNNERS
UTSA dropped to 36-16 overall after a 10-8 loss to Abilene Christian on Tuesday. Taylor Smith hit a game-tying grand slam in the fifth inning, before taking an 8-7 lead on a dropped third strike in the sixth. The Wildcats scored a pair in the bottom of the frame to regain the lead, eventually taking the 10-8 win.
The Roadrunners hold a 36-15 mark after being swept by Dallas Baptist in UTSA’s final home series this past weekend.
In a doubleheader on Friday, the Roadrunners fought hard, but lost both 11-7 and 11-9. Josh Killeen led the Roadrunners with four hits and six RBI over the two games, including a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the eighth in game two. Garrett Poston and Dalton Porter both went 3-for-4 in the opener.
In the series finale, DBU secured the series sweep, falling to UTSA 9-6. Antonio Valdez and Garrett Poston each went 3-for-4 in the game. Killeen hit his fifth home run of the season, notching a home run in every game of the series.
HE IS A CATCH
Senior Josh Killeen was added to the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award Watch List this week.
His defensive skills behind the plate have shined through UTSA’s huge pitching shift this season, leading the Roadrunners to the second-lowest ERA in the conference. The veteran expertise he brings has helped the pitching staff, knowing they can trust his calls.
In his last season, he also succeeded at the plate, collecting 42 hits, 25 runs and 26 RBI. He also recorded 13 extra-base hits, including eight doubles and five home runs.
SIMON (MILLER) says
Junior Simon Miller has had a truly phenomenal season, leading the nation in ERA for over a month. As of May 17, he is currently sixth in the nation in ERA, 44th in the nation in wins and sixth in saves.
Miller earned a pair of midseason honors, including D1Baseball Midseason All-American Second Team and NCBWA Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch List. He was also named to NCBWA’s Preseason Watch List for the start of the season.
Miller earned Conference USA Pitcher of the Week honors on February 28, his first weekly honor in his career as a Roadrunner. He earned the honor after picking up a win and a save, leading UTSA to a 4-1 record during the week of February 21.
Prior to the start of the season, he was named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Preseason Watch List and Conference USA Preseason All-Conference Team as one of only two relief pitchers on that conference team (the other reliever was his teammate Daniel Shafer).
LEADING THE ROADRUNNERS
Antonio Valdez leads the team with a .394 batting average, 57 runs, 80 hits, 63 RBI, seven triples, 14 doubles and 17 stolen bases. Taylor Smith has a team-high 12 home runs, while Leyton Barry is tied with Valdez for the team-leading 14 doubles.
on the mound, Simon Miller leads the team with a 1.98 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, seven wins and 11 saves. Other key performers include Ulises Quiroga (7-2, 52 K’s), Luke Malone (1.36 WHIP, 74 K’s), Ruger Riojas (5-0, 54 K’s) and Ryan Beard (4-1, 1.61 WYP).
IN THE C-US AND IN THE NATION
The Roadrunners lead the conference in multiple categories – batting average (.312), hits (566), on-base percentage (.415), triples (27) – third in the nation in the category – triples per game (0.52 ), and walks allowed per nine innings (3.28).
Miller leads the conference in ERA (1.98), while he and Uli Quiroga are tied for second in the league in wins (7). Valdez leads the conference with 80 hits (24Th in the nation), 63 RBI (29th in the nation) and seven triples (third in the nation). Sammy Diaz is the third hardest hitter to hit in the nation (21.6).
The Roadrunners have been part of many streaks this season, the biggest being their 10-game winning streak early in the season.
Taylor Smith had a hit-base streak of 34 games. Antonio Valdez went on a similar streak, reaching base in 26 straight games to start the season.
Five Roadrunners have active double-digit hit-base streaks, including Taylor Smith (10), Antonio Valdez (12), Leyton Barry (19), Caleb Hill (19) and Josh Killeen (16).
REELING IN THE RANKINGS
After a tough week in which UTSA went 0-3, the Roadrunners dropped out of every poll except the NCBWA taking the final spot at No. 30.
The Roadrunners earned the No. 22 spot in D1Baseball rankings for the second consecutive week on May 8. The team also earned rankings by Baseball America (23), NCBWA (22), Perfect Game (24) and their first appearance in the USA Today Coaches ‘ Poll (24) in the week of May 8.
The baseball team made its first appearance in the D1Baseball Rankings in program history on April 17, coming in at No. 25. The Roadrunners also earned a spot in three other polls that week — No. 22 in Baseball America, No. 25 in Collegiate Baseball (first appearance) and No. 28 in NCBWA.
The Roadrunners first found a spot in the national rankings the week of April 3, earning No. 24 in Baseball America, No. 27 in NCBWA and No. 23 in Perfect Game.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Louisiana Tech has a 26-27 overall record and 14-13 in Conference USA, after losing two of three games to Florida Atlantic last weekend. In conference play, the Bulldogs have won five of their nine series thus far, including a sweep over FIU.
The Bulldogs were picked to win the league in their Preseason Coaches’ Poll by five first-place votes, after winning the C-USA Championship last season. They are currently in a three-way tie for fifth in the conference standings with Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee.
Logan McLeod leads the Bulldogs with a .296 batting average, while Dalton Davis has a team-high 38 runs, 60 hits, and 43 runs. Jonathan Fincher leads the conference with eight wins and was named the Preseason Pitcher of the Year by the league’s head coaches.
SERIES HISTORY VS LOUISIANA TECH
The Bulldogs hold an 18-15 lead over the Roadrunners in the history of the all-time series. The last time UTSA and Louisiana Tech played each other in a three-game series was May 6-8, 2022, when the Roadrunners took two of three from the Bulldogs. The two teams would meet again in the C-USA title game.
Louisiana Tech also holds a 10-9 advantage over UTSA when they played in Ruston, La. They would also play each other in the C-USA First Round in Ruston, La., a few weeks later with the same result as Louisiana Tech defeated UTSA.
FUEL AT THE FIVE
The Roadrunners were picked to finish fifth in Conference USA, following a phenomenal 2022 season in which UTSA broke multiple program records and advanced to the C-USA Championship game. Defending champion Louisiana Tech was voted to finish first. C-USA newcomer Dallas Baptist was picked to finish second, followed by Florida Atlantic in third and Charlotte in fourth.
The Roadrunners close out the regular season in Ruston, La., against defending Conference USA Champion Louisiana Tech for a three-game series Thursday-Sunday. All three games will be streamed on CUSA.tv.