Baseball opens C-USA Tournament at No. 18 LA Tech on Wednesday – UTSA Athletics

SAN ANTONIO – UTSA baseball will open its run in the Conference USA Championships with a first-round matchup against host, No. 18 Louisiana Tech, on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at J.C. Love Field. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+. 
 
UTSA (22-24, 14-17 C-USA) will face off with the C-USA West Division Champions, the LA Tech Bulldogs, in the opener of the league championships for both teams. The winner will advance to play the winner of No. 3 seeded Southern Miss and No. 6 seed WKU on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. while the loser will fall into the elimination bracket and face the loser of the USM-WKU matchup at 4 p.m. on Thursday. 
 
The Roadrunners are seeking their fourth all-time league tournament crown and their first since winning the Western Athletic Conference in 2013. UTSA won the Southland Conference Tournaments in 1994 and 2005. 
 
UTSA will be facing the Bulldogs for the fifth straight game after concluding the regular season in Ruston May 14-16, with LA Tech winning three of four games to clinch the division. It will mark the ninth straight game against a top-20 team for the Roadrunners, who have played 35 percent of their games against a top-20 foe, the toughest schedule by that matrix in program history. 
 
The Roadrunners have been buoyed by one of the nation’s top offensive attacks, ranking among the NCAA’s leaders in six offensive categories. UTSA ranks 11th in scoring per game (7.9), 17th in average (.303), 19th in slugging percentage (.484), 21st in sac flies (28) and 24th in on-base percentage (.397). 
 
UTSA has slugged 57 homers and 46 games, owning 363 runs scored with 91 doubles, seven triples and 33 steals. On the mound, UTSA has a 5.91 team ERA, walking 186 and striking out 344 in 374.1 innings. Defensively, UTSA has fielded .969 as a team. 
 
Senior infielder Griffin Paxton has led the team with a .345 average with 16 doubles, seven homers and 41 RBI. Junior shortstop Joshua Lamb has hit .335 with 14 doubles, five homers and 39 RBI, while Dylan Rock has hit .336 with 12 doubles, eight homers and 38 RBI, stealing 11 bases. Senior catcher Nick Thornquist – a member of the 16-man Buster Posey Award National Catcher of the Year Watch List – has hit .331 with 12 homers and 44 RBI. On the mound, Hunter Mason (6-5, 4.98 ERA) and Grant Miller (1-3, 7.04 ERA) have each appeared in 20 games. 
 
Louisiana Tech (36-16, 22-8 C-USA) is coming off a pair of losses in non-conference play vs. No. 20 Old Dominion over the week leading into the tournament as the pair of teams squared off in a final tune-up before league championship play. The Bulldogs have hit a robust .309/.398/.484 as a team with 21 steals, belting 57 homers and scoring 381 runs. Defensively, LA Tech has fielded .970, turning 36 double plays and throwing out 13 would-be base-stealers. On the mound, LA Tech has a 4.75 team ERA in 429.2 innings, walking 162 and striking out 379. 
 
The Bulldogs will turn to Ryan Jennings (5-3, 4.46 ERA) for the start against UTSA. Jennings worked seven one-run innings against UTSA in his last start, a seven-inning complete game in a 4-1 win in the second game of the four-game set. Jennings walked one and struck out two in the start. On the year, he has worked 68.2 innings, walking 19 and striking out 59. 
 
Hunter Wells, Parker Bates, Taylor Young and Manny Garcia lead the LA Tech offense as first-team All-Conference USA selections in 2021. Young, the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year, and Wells mans the infield, while Bates roams the outfield and Garcia was the pick in the utility role. Wells hit .380 on the year with nine homers and 44 RBI, with Bates batting .351 with seven homers and 50 RBI. Young hit .328 with seven homers and 33 RBI, while Garcia hit .321 with seven homers and 48 RBI. 
 
Lefty Jonathan Fincher (7-1, 2.77 ERA) also earned first-team All-Conference USA honors on the mound for the Bulldogs. Kyle Crigger (2-2, 3.75 ERA) and Landon Tomkins (3-2, 4.94 ERA) combined for nine saves in relief for LA Tech. 
 
– UTSA –