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Palincsar's three-run blast in ninth powers UTSA to sixth win in a row on Wednesday

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 10/29/2009
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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Sophomore Tim Palincsar's three-run homer in the ninth on Wednesday pushed the Roadrunners' record to 8-2, which is the second-best start in school history.
SAN ANTONIO – Sophomore designated hitter Tim Palincsar belted a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth and UTSA scored seven runs over the final three innings to rally for a 9-8 victory against Kansas State on Wednesday afternoon at Wolff Stadium.

The Roadrunners, who won their sixth game in a row and for the eighth time in the last nine contests overall, improved to 8-2 on the year, which continued the second-best start in school history.

Freshman second baseman Ryan Hutson began the game-winning rally when he took a 3-2 pitch from K-State’s All-America closer Daniel Edwards into right field to lead off the ninth. Junior shortstop James Keithley followed with a full-count walk and that set the stage for Palincsar’s heroics. The 2007 Freshman All-American lined an Edwards fastball that was down and in for his second long ball of the season. He finished the afternoon with three hits and a career-high five RBIs.

“Before I stepped into the box, (third base) Coach (Mike) Clement said he wanted me to put down a drag bunt to move the runners up,” Palincsar said after the game. “I told him, ‘Coach, I can hit this guy,’ and he had the confidence to let me swing away. Everything fell into place and it worked out. I knew it had the distance when I hit it, but I wasn’t sure it was going to be high enough. Once I looked up, I knew it was gone.”

After the Wildcats (3-5) took what appeared to be a commanding 8-2 lead in the sixth with seven run on a half dozen hits and a pair of walks, UTSA began to claw its way back one inning later with four runs off Wildcats reliever Mike Pierce.

Junior right fielder Aaron Powell led off the frame with an infield single to third. Hutson walked two batters later and Keithley then loaded bases with an infield base hit up the middle. Palincsar followed with a single that brought home Powell and Hutson. After junior center fielder Michael Rockett hit a scorching liner that was snared by Wildcats third baseman Nate Tenbrink for the second out, senior first baseman Trent Lockwood hit a chopper between first and second that plated Keithley and Palincsar.

“Even when we were down 8-2 after the sixth, everyone in the dugout felt the game was within reach,” Palincsar, the 2007 SLC Freshman of the Year, said. “We knew we had to battle the last four innings and nobody gave up. That is a credit to everyone that was here today.”

Sophomore Zach Calhoon picked up his first win of the year with three hitless innings. Calhoon matched his career high with six strikeouts in the gutsy, 68-pitch relief performance.

Run-scoring singles by Rockett and junior left fielder Jose Hernandez in the first gave the Roadrunners an early 2-0 edge. Kansas State cut the lead in half in the third when Tyler Ruch, who was hit by a Jason Walls pitch to lead off the frame, crossed the plate on a wild pitch by senior right-hander Mark Ruffin.

Hernandez, Keithley, Powell and Rockett all went 2-for-4, as eight of the nine starters on offense had at least one hit. Keithley scored three runs and Hutson reach base three times, twice on walks, and crossed the plate twice.

Walls allowed a run on just one hit and walked three over 2.2 innings in his first collegiate start. Meanwhile, K-State starter Brad Hutt scattered seven hits in six frames and gave up just the two first inning runs.

K-State stranded 13 runners in the loss and left 27 on base on in the two-game series.

The Roadrunners hit the road for the first time this season when they head to the East Coast to face the College of Charleston (7-2) in a weekend three-game series in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. Senior right-hander Steven Vasquez (1-1, 2.84 ERA) will get the nod for UTSA in the 4 p,m. (CT) opener on Friday.

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