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UTSA holds Southeastern Louisiana scoreless for 17 innings on Saturday

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 10/29/2009
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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Friday's box score
Saturday's box score

(Southeastern Louisiana staff report)

Sophomore Zach Calhoon became UTSA's all-time saves leader on Saturday.
HAMMOND, La. Southeastern Louisiana pitching combined to hold UTSA batters to seven runs on 14 hits while striking out 19, but the Roadrunners were even sharper, shutting out the Lions offense on just nine hits over the course of Friday's suspended game and Saturday's nightcap.

With the pair of losses, the Lions dropped to 15-13 overall and 5-6 Southland Conference play, while UTSA improved to 21-10 (8-3 SLC). The Roadrunners now have won five of their last six contests.

UTSA jumped out to an early lead on Friday night before heavy rains forced the suspension of the series opener.

Junior shortstop James Keithley singled to left center to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. Keithley later scored on an RBI double by sophomore designated hitter Tim Palincsar. A bases loaded RBI groundout off the bat of freshman right fielder Tyler Carpenter gave UTSA an early 2-0 lead against Southeastern starter Wade Miley.

After the Lions were unable to break through in the first and the Roadrunners stranded freshman second baseman Ryan Hutson to come away empty-handed in the second, a heavy thunderstorm arrived at Alumni Field, forcing the suspension of play until 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The break in the action did not help the Lions offense, as Southeastern failed to break through against UTSA starter Steven Vasquez. The Lions managed just five singles in game one, including a 2-for-3 effort from Chris Ernest, but they were unable to push a run across against the Roadrunners senior right-hander.

With the layoff, Southeastern head coach Jay Artigues elected to pull Miley prior to the resumption of play on Saturday. The Lions skipper turned to lefty Brent Varnado to keep the Lions in the game. Varnado did his part, holding the Roadrunners in check, working seven innings, which was the longest outing of his career.

The southpaw allowed just one run on three hits, while striking out eight and walking one. After allowing a run in the fourth on a one-out RBI single, Varnado retired 16 consecutive hitters through the first two outs of the ninth inning.

Despite his efforts, the Lions offense could not overcome Vasquez, who handcuffed Southeastern with eight strikeouts to pick up his fifth win of the year. Sophomore Zach Calhoon tossed a scoreless ninth for his sixth save of the season and that pushed his career total to 12, which moved him into sole possession of the Roadrunners' all-time record.

The Lions again had trouble in game two, as Southeastern right hander Josh Black and UTSA senior righty Bradley Chovanec got into a pitcher's duel. Both squads traded zeroes through the fifth inning.

Black pitched out of jams, stranding eight UTSA runners through the fifth, while Chavonec held the Lions to just three hits.

The Lions threatened in the fifth with consecutive singles by Xavier Qualls and Ty Summerlin, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Street put runners at second and third with one out. Chovanec struck out Ernest and a failed squeeze bunt attempt allowed UTSA to catch Qualls stealing home to end the frame.

The Roadrunners broke through against Black in the sixth, as a two-out error by third baseman Casey Summerlin followed by a walk and a pair of singles gave UTSA a 3-0 lead.

After the Lions failed to get on the board in the sixth and neither team pushed a run across in the seventh, UTSA extended its lead in the eighth with a solo home run by Keithley, which was his third hit of the game, and his hitting streak moved to 18 tilts.

Chovanec went the distance for the third time this season and for the second start in a row. The Burton native allowed just four hits and walked one, while striking out two to pick up his SLC-leading sixth win of the season.

The series concludes at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

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