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UTSA ends 23-game losing streak to Baylor with 11-7 victory

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 10/29/2009
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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Senior Zach Etheredge launched a towering three-run homer on Wednesday.
WACO UTSA scored five runs in the third and seventh innings and the Roadrunners ended a 23-game losing streak to Baylor with an 11-7 victory on Wednesday night at Baylor Ballpark.

Senior Zach Etheredge and juniors Jose Hernandez and Michael Rockett each drove in three runs, as UTSA collected its first win against the No. 29 Bears since April 27, 1994.

It also was the Roadrunners' second victory against a ranked opponent this season, marking the second time in the last three years the program has accomplished that feat. UTSA which handed No. 19 Louisiana-Lafayette a 5-2 setback on Feb. 24 defeated fifth-ranked Texas (14-10, April 18) and No. 15 Texas A&M (4-2, March 12) two seasons ago.

The Roadrunners won for the fourth time in their last five contests and improved to 19-10 on the season. Meanwhile, Baylor lost its seventh game in the last 10 and fell to 16-11.

"This was an outstanding win for us tonight," eighth-year head coach Sherman Corbett said after the four-run victory. "We did a lot of things well and I was really encouraged by the outing Kris (Ruepke) gave us on the mound tonight. We didn't play a perfect ballgame, but we got some big hits when we needed them and also made big pitches in several key spots in the game. To beat a team we have struggled against for a long time and do it in their house makes it a very meaningful win for our program."

Junior southpaw Kris Ruepke (2-2), making his fourth start of the year against a Big 12 opponent, won his second game of the campaign for the Roadrunners with 7.2 strong innings. Ruepke gave up six runs on seven hits, walked five and struck out six in the 136-pitch effort. After allowing nine base runners through the first 5.1 frames and standing seven, the Adel, Iowa, native settled down and retired nine in a row from the fifth through eighth frames.

After seeing their first six hitters go down in order, the Roadrunners put up a five-spot in the third to stake Ruepke to a 5-0 lead. The big hit of the inning came off the bat off Rockett, as he cleared the bases with a one-out double to left center, which extended his hitting streak to a dozen games.

The Bears pulled within three one inning later when pinch hitter Ben Booker lined a two-out single to right field to bring home Beamer Weems and Aaron Miller.

UTSA exploded for five insurance tallies in the seventh, three of which came across the plate on Etheredge's towering home run down the left-field line. It was his second long ball of the year and the 17th of his career, which moved him into a 10th-place tie with Steve Minus (1996-99) on the school's all-time chart.

After the Roadrunners tacked on another run in the eighth to go up 11-2, Baylor began to rally.

Weems launched a two-run homer just inside the left-field foul pole with one down to pull the Bears with seven. After Ruepke got Miller to fly out to center, Landis Ware and pinch hitter Brooks Kimmey reached base with a single and walk, respectively, to chase the left-hander from the game. Junior righty J.P. Holton's third pitch then was deposited over the right field fence and Baylor pulled within striking distance at 11-7.

After UTSA stranded runners on second and third in the ninth, sophomore Zach Calhoon was brought on to close out the game. The right-hander retired the first two hitters of the frame, but a single by Dustin Dickerson and back-to-back walks to Weems and Miller brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Ware. The Bears' second baseman quickly fell into an 0-2 hole but rebounded to push the count full. However, Calhoon threw a fastball by Ware, who swung and missed to give Corbett his first victory in 13 tries against Baylor and send Steve Smith to his first defeat against the Roadrunners in his 14-year tenure.

Etheredge, freshman Ryan Hutson and junior Ryan Rummel led UTSA with two hits apiece and junior James Keithley singled in the eighth to extend his season-long hitting streak to 16 games.

Right-hander Wade Mackey (2-2) took the loss for Baylor, as he surrendered five runs on four hits and walked two in three-plus innings of work.

The Roadrunners open a key three-game Southland Conference series at Southeastern Louisiana (15-11, 5-4 SLC) on Friday. Senior right-hander Steven Vasquez (4-2, 5.40 ERA) will get the nod in the 6:30 p.m. contest at Alumni Field.

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