Texas-San Antonio was two outs away from a monumental upset Friday night, taking a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning against No. 3 national seed Oregon State in the Corvallis Regional.
But Dylan Davis crushed a two-run double to right-center and the Beavers avoided the stunning loss with a 5-4 victory.
The Roadrunners tried to shake off that difficult defeat, returning to Goss Stadium to take on Texas A&M in an elimination game about 15 hours later.
And while they gave a valiant effort, the Roadrunners saw their season come to an end with a 6-1 loss to the Aggies.
“Our heart got broken last night,” UTSA first-year coach Jason Marshall said. “We were right there on the edge of doing something this program has never done before and unfortunately the game got a little careless last night at the very end and the game got away from us.
“Felt like today was just a matter of not having a hangover from last night. To get up off the mat and go compete, it wasn’t going to be easy regardless. I felt like we came out and put our best foot forward, we just weren’t able to put enough scoring opportunities up there to give us a chance to win the game.”
While the Roadrunners (35-25), the No. 4 seed in the regional, went the expected 0-2, getting to the postseason was a big step in the right direction, Marshall said.
“Just very proud of them for really turning the tide of the program and getting us back on a positive side with 35 wins,” Marshall said. “UTSA is a diamond in the rough. It’s a young baseball program, a young university, the university is growing fast. We don’t have all the bells and whistles yet.”
For example, the Roadrunners started two freshman pitchers in the regional.
Marshall also said the players have to walk 300 yards to get from the locker room to the ballpark.
“We don’t have a lot of the things a lot of programs have,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work to take us to the next (level), but I think all of us are very invested.”
While Marshall was in his first year as the head coach, he wrapped up his 13th in the program.
The players credited the passion and energy Marshall and the staff brought this season as keys to their success.
“Coach Marshall is the most passionate guys I’ve ever met in my life,” junior RJ Perucki said. “When you have a leader like that it’s easy to come out every day to work hard and compete with people he brought in. Coach (Jim) Blair will come and get on you if aren’t doing even the smallest thing right and he’s on you. Having leaders like that around your program, that will; definitely get you going the right way.”
Added junior Riley Good: “Last year … we were just dead all the time. We didn’t have the passion to go out like we do now.”
One example of trying to change the atmosphere surrounding the program involved the camo hats the Roadrunners wore on Saturday. Marshall said they are based on playing hard, competing and being a good teammate.
“Once everybody on the team had earned the camo hat, from the coaches’ perspective, when we were getting in position to possibly sweep an opponent, which we really didn’t get to do until the end of the year, we would break the camo out with the orange letters,” Marshall said. “Today was more about just trying to live another day.”
The Roadrunners will move from the Western Athletic Conference, where they won the conference tournament to qualify for the postseason, to Conference USA next season.
It’s one more challenge, but one Marshall and the Roadrunners are ready to take on.
“The sky’s the limit,” Marshall said. “I think some good days are ahead. That starts out playing the game the right way and I think we did that this year.”