Sports(softball)-darryl

The UTSA Roadrunners (18-21, 6-6 C-USA) dropped two of three games at home against the tough Charlotte 49ers (15-16, 6-8 C-USA) on April 5 and 6.

Charlotte’s Jackie Kleinsmith hit a two RBI single at the top of the sixth inning to propel the 49ers to a 2-0 win in the series opener Saturday afternoon.

“We didn’t come out really aggressive,” said UTSA Head Coach Michelle Cheatham about the loss. “Game one sets the tone, and we didn’t set the tone, saying that this was our turf.”

Courtney Buchman went 2-for-3 to lead the Roadrunners. Megan Low, Vivian Tijerina and Madison Kinley also provided hits in an effort to spark the ill-fated Roadrunners.

Kacy Freeze had an amazing game, with just two runs allowed on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Freeze converted five strikeouts out of the first seven batters. The 49ers’ Jessica Plemmons hit a two-out single in the first inning, but Freeze continued with a hot arm, retiring ten consecutive batters until the fifth inning.

Low and Tijerina helped keep the game knotted at zero with a couple of great defensive plays in the fifth.

Despite losing the first game, the Roadrunners were able to bounce back in the second with an incredible display of offense, defeating the 49ers 12-2.

Jolene Graham went 2-for-4 with a grand slam and career best five RBIs in game two, while Vivian Tijerina also rattled off a grand slam for the Roadrunners. It marked the second time this season that UTSA has hit two grand slams in one game.

Megan Low also delivered her NCAA-leading 16th home run of the season.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” said Megan Low on leading the NCAA in home runs. “I’ve always wanted to be the best, play with the best, compete with the best. All I’m really trying to do is produce for my teammates.”

“She very much is one of the best hitters in the nation,” added UTSA Head Coach Michelle Cheatham on Lowe’s spectacular play. “She’s very strong mentally, and we’re happy she’s on our side. She’s a big time leader on this team defensively. She’s like our ‘on the field’ coach. You can put that girl anywhere and she’ll get the ball.”

Jori Fox led the team with three hits and racked up her 29th RBI of the season. With a two-run homer in the last inning, Megan Low tied her career high for RBIs in a season at 32.

UTSA raced out to a five-run lead in the first inning with one more in the second, making it 6-0 after the first two periods.

The Roadrunners loaded the bases with one out and grabbed a 1-0 lead on a fielder’s hit. Tijerina extended the lead to 5-0 with her grand slam.

Charlotte finally received their first run in the third and added one more in the top of the sixth before the Roadrunners pulled to a convincing win.

Game three started out slower than game two but right on track with the first game.

Roadrunner pitcher Nicole Merrill started out hot, striking out the first person opposite her at bat. The outcome was a little different, as Charlotte was getting hits but going nowhere.

Both parties were getting their hits and bunts, but without success until the fourth inning rolled around.

49er Natalie Capone drew a walk to get onto first base, before Jackie Kleinsmith batted for an easy run for the first score of the game.

The following inning saw a fast out for Charlotte before Chelsea Ingersoll smashed the ball out of the park for a solo homerun to put Charlotte up two runs to none.

With one strikeout for the Roadrunners, the bases were set up for senior Jori Fox to overpower the swing, hitting the ball out of the field for a three-run homerun from Megan Low, Courtney Buchman, and Fox herself, raising the score to a 3-2 Roadrunner lead at the top of the fifth.

“The (players) in front of me gave me that opportunity (to score),” said Fox after the game on the exciting play.

Charlotte had a chance for a grand slam, but Roadrunner pitcher Nicole Merrill had two consecutive bases loaded strikeouts in the clutch to save UTSA.

However, with already two outs at the bottom of the seventh and final inning, Charlotte’s Jessica Plemmons hit a grand slam, helping herself, Lexi Betancourt and Natalie Capone for the winning homeruns of the game.

The Roadrunners couldn’t recover, and Charlotte finished the game up 5-3. The 49ers completed the weekend series winning two out of the three games at Roadrunner Field.

“There’s no easy games and we enjoy the competition,” said Coach Cheatham after the game. “I love the conference.”

The tougher conference has undoubtedly demanded a higher play from the UTSA players.

“Everybody is brushing us off as a smaller school, thinking we’re not going do much this year, but we come out everyday to prove ourselves to the conference and to the university,” said Megan Lowe on the improved competition. “I definitely expect us to make the conference tournament and be contenders for the championship.”

“The competition is a completely different level. Even though we go up against tougher people, we come out fighting every day. We don’t get scared or intimidated,” added Jori Fox.

The Roadrunners will face off against the Texas State Bobcats on Wednesday, April 9 at 6 p.m. While the next three games will be in Miami, Florida, against Florida International in a double header on Saturday, April 12 at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., and on Sunday, April 13 before they come back home.

Related Stories

More from Patrick Martinez/ Staff Writer

Editorial Board

At the University of Missouri, real change happened — but only when loss of university revenue was threatened. Missouri student…

More In Sports

Julia Maenius Staff Writer

The UTSA women’s golf team traveled to Fort Myers, Florida, to compete in the Conference USA (C-USA) Championship from March…