Texans run off Roadrunners with walk-off grand slam at home opener Tuesday


STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton State Baseball’s home opener couldn’t have been more exciting, and it couldn’t have ended more perfectly for the home team.

Junior Brandon Howell was the mayor of Dingerville after a game-tying home run in the seventh inning, he hit a walk off grand slam to win the game for Tarleton State. His sixth RBI marked a career-high, and this was his first multi-HR game of his career. The Southlake, Texas, native, leads the Purple and White with three home runs on the season. 

Tarleton State (2-2, 0-0 WAC) took down the Roadrunners (2-3, 0-0) in a highly competitive matchup. Devon Patel started on the mound for the Texans, pitching for 2.0 innings, giving up three hits and one run. Drake Smith was the starting pitcher for UTSA, pitching for 1.1 innings, giving up three hits and five runs. Jack Driskell (W, 1-0) claimed his first win as a Texan from the mound, pitching for 2.2 innings, giving up four hits and two runs. Ryan Ward (L, 0-1) closed out the game for the Roadrunners with 1.1 innings pitched, giving up four hits and four runs. 

 In the matchup against the Roadrunners, the Texans racked up 14 runs on 12 hits compared to UTSA’s 10 runs on 14 hits. Tarleton State saw four home runs with two from Howell, one from Tyson Drake as the leadoff hitter, and another from Cole Miears for their first of the season. The home team also claimed three doubles with one each from Mason Crews, Ike Shirey and Miears. The visiting team saw doubles from Matt King, Alexander Olivio and Brocer Parmer as well as a home run from Parmer. Mason Lytle tallied two stolen bases for the Roadrunners.  

Tarleton State had one of their biggest offensive innings in the second with a 5-1 lead over the visiting team. A three-run inning in the fourth saw the Texans up 8-2. After a scoreless fifth frame across the board, UTSA fought back and closed the gap to a two-run deficit. The Roadrunners continued to bring the heat in the seventh with another four-run inning, but a rocket from Howell over the left field wall tied the game at 10-10. A scoreless top of the ninth saw the Roadrunners relying on a big defensive inning, but a grand slam from Howell ended the game for the Purple and White, 14-10.

In the opening at bat for the Texans, Drake sent one flying over the right field wall to take the first run of the night and his first home run of the season. 

The second inning opened with a Jordan Andrade walk to first. Kooper Shook singled to first on a bunt and Crews followed up with a double to centerfield to see Andrade cross home plate. After another walk, Mason Hammonds groundout to third, bringing in Crews to see another run on the board for the home team. The final two runs of the inning came from a double to center courtesy of Miears. 

In the top of the third, a single to left center, followed by a double to right field saw two Roadrunners in scoring position. A grounded out to second saw UTSA cross the plate, making for a 5-2 score. 

Crews found his way to first after being hit at the plate followed by a double to right center from Shirey to put two Texans in scoring position. A fly out to centerfield added another run for Tarleton State as Crews made his way home. Shirey advanced to third on a fly out, followed by a homer to right field from Miears to mark his first of the season, giving the home team an 8-2 lead. 

In the top of the sixth, a single to left field followed by a double down the left field line saw two Roadrunners in scoring position right out of the gate. A pair of runs came from a single up the middle, leaving one guy on base. Parmer launched a homer over the left field wall to bring in two more runs for the visiting team to see a 8-6 score. 

UTSA kept the fire coming in the seventh after a pair of pitching errors saw Caleb Hill in scoring position for the visiting team. A single, then an error, saw two Roadrunners cross the plate to tie the score 8-8. With a runner at second, Lytle singled to right field to see two runners in scoring position. James Taussig singled to right field but made the dash for second and was thrown out, however, Lytle advanced to third and a run was knocked in for UTSA. The final of the four runs came from a double to left field, sending Lytle home to take the lead for the Roadrunners at 10-8. 

The bottom of the seventh saw back-to-back outs until Austin Russell laid out a single to center field. Howell cranked his first homer of the night, second of the season, to tie the score at 10 and put the Purple and White back in the game. 

A quiet eighth inning and a silent top of the ninth saw the Texans in high hopes for their final at-bat. Hammonds started out the bottom of the inning with a single to right center. Miears was walked, followed by a bunt single to see the bases loaded. With no outs recorded, Howell made his way back to the box to secure the first win of the season at home, raking in four runs after sending the ball sailing over the centerfield wall for a picture-perfect ending for the Purple and White.  

Tonight marks the first home victory under head coach Fuller Smith. 

Tarleton State will continue their stint at home with a four-game series against Northern Colorado. The first game of the series will take place on Friday at 3 p.m. Saturday will see a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. and the following game to start presumably at 4 p.m. The series will conclude with a 12 p.m. game on Sunday. The entirety of the series will be broadcasted on ESPN+. 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.