The Texas-San Antonio baseball team enters today’s Corvallis Regional as one of the hottest teams in the tournament.
Fourth-seeded UTSA finished fourth in the Western Athletic Conference and needed to win the conference tournament last weekend to earn an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
The Roadrunners (35-23) have won seven straight games and 10 of 11. They hope to maintain that momentum at 5 p.m. in Goss Stadium against No. 1 seed Oregon State.
“It has been a momentum that has been rolling through the month of May,” coach John Marshall said. “To say we are happy to be here is an understatement. We are very fortunate to represent the WAC conference. We’ve played good baseball with a couple of sweeps to end the regular season and really played well in the conference tournament.”
The Roadrunners are making their third regional appearance with 1994 and 2005 being the others, and are looking for their first postseason win.
Marshall says a Sunday win over Sacramento State on April 21 to win the WAC series started his team’s turnaround this season. Winning the series over powerhouse Dallas Baptist the following weekend solidified the strong season.
“I was very proud of our guys,” Marshall said. “They’ve earned this opportunity and bought into the overall goals we’ve had since the beginning and continue to play hard. We play the game hard, we don’t always play well.”
Left-hander Nolan Trabanino (4-3) will get the start today and Brock Hartson (9-4) goes Saturday. Marshall never would have predicted the two freshen would be his regional starters, but they earned their way into the rotation.
Trabanino began as the midweek starter and pitched against strong teams such as Baylor and Rice.
Marshall hopes those games prepared him for the Beavers. Trabanino throws strikes — he’s walked only 14 — and makes batters put the ball in play with only 32 strikeouts in 69 innings.
“We are excited to get out there and I’m ready to pitch against the No. 3 seeded team in the nation, but a little nervous, too,” Trabanino said. “We’ve been real confident and playing well the last two weeks. We are just going to roll with this momentum and try to win a regional.“
UTSA hits well with a .304 team batting average. Five batters are better than .310.
RJ Perucki leads the team at .349, 12 home runs and 46 RBIs. Daniel Rockett hits .338 with 10 home runs and 48 RBIs.
“Throwing strikes and playing good defense, that was the main factor (of the momentum),” Marshall said. “It started in the middle of April. Our bats have been consistent all year, no matter who we played.”