Bryan Arias takes a lead at first base. JJ Perez/Insiderunnersports

Roadrunners drop first game, but win series over San Francisco

 

Well, the best time of the year is upon us. That’s right, it is officially baseball season. The UTSA baseball team opened the season over the weekend with a three game series against the University of San Francisco Dons. The ‘Runners clinched the series victory by winning both games of a double header on Saturday, after dropping the season opener on Friday.

UTSA entered opening day on Friday looking to build on a solid 2017 season and gain early momentum for the 2018 campaign. Chance Kirby took the mound for the ‘Runners against the Dons and had a dominant start, striking out four of the first six batters he faced. Offensively for UTSA, not much was going their way, as they too were held scoreless for the first two innings. However, the flood gates opened in the third inning. Kirby’s strong start faltered in the top of the inning and, aided by two errors, the Dons were able to push across three runs.

The ‘Runners would not go down without a fight though, they started the inning off with back to back hits to put runners on the corners with nobody out. UTSA would go on to load the bases, picking up runs on a Tony Beam infield single along with a wild pitch. From there out it was all Dons, as UTSA only managed to score two runs. The ‘Runners would go on to drop the first game of the series 11-2.

Chase Keng led the way at the plate, recording half of UTSA’s hits on the night in his first game for UTSA. Aside from Keng, the UTSA bats were kept quiet throughout the game. Kirby was saddled with the loss, though he does not deserve all of the blame. He pitched rather well to start, before a few mistakes and poor defense behind him chased him from the game.

UTSA entered Saturday’s double header looking to bounce back from the embarrassing loss on Friday. There was a noticeable difference between game one and games two and three of the series. After only managing two runs in the first game, the ‘Runners offense exploded for 24 runs on 22 hits for 11-1 and 13-5 victories respectively.

The first game of the doubleheader started off with a bang for the ‘Runners, as Bryan Arias smacked a two-run homer in the bottom of the first to give UTSA a quick 2-0 lead. UTSA would tack on another four runs in the third, off a Ryan Stacy RBI double and three-run Trent Bowles home run to stretch the lead to 6-0. Jonathan Tapia and Ben Brookover joined the homer parade themselves with solo home runs to eventually balloon the lead to 11. Along with the offensive explosion, the pitching staff was dominant for a 11-1 win.

Hoping to keep things rolling, the ‘Runners went into the rubber match of the series seeking a crucial opening series victory. However, they quickly found themselves down 4-0 before their first at bat of the game. That lead was quickly erased though, as Brookover drove in Arias with an RBI single to start the rally. By the end of the first, UTSA had knotted things back up at 4-4. After that UTSA stepped on the gas and would tack on nine more runs before the game was over. The starting pitching was a little shaky out of the gate, but the bullpen was able to come in and shut the door on the Dons offense.

Following the opening series victory, the ‘Runners will travel to Abilene Christian University before returning for a three game home series against Texas Tech that will begin Feb. 23 at 6 p.m.

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