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Lockwood, Palincsar power Roadrunners past Northwestern State, 11-9

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 10/29/2009
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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Senior Trent Lockwood (left) and sophomore Tim Palincsar both left the park for the second game in a row on Saturday to give them a team-leading seven homers this year.
NATCHITOCHES, La. Senior first baseman Trent Lockwood drove in five runs for the second game in a row and sophomore designated hitter Tim Palincsar reached base in all six of his plate appearances to lead UTSA to an 11-9 victory at Northwestern State on Saturday at Brown-Stroud Field.

The Roadrunners (23-11, 10-4 SLC) continued their hot play, winning for the fifth time in their last six contests (all on the road) and ninth in the last dozen overall. The two-run victory assured UTSA of a winning record on its current season-long nine-game road trip.

The Birds also moved into a three-way tie atop the Southland Conference standings with Lamar's loss 9-8 loss to Sam Houston State earlier in the day. Texas State, 11-0 winners at Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday, also owns a 10-4 mark in league play.

UTSA jumped all over Demons starter Heath Hennigan for three runs in the first and two more in the second to take an early 5-0 lead.

Palincsar brought home junior leadoff hitter James Keithley, who knocked Hennigan's first pitch off the center field wall for a double to extend his career-high hitting streak to 21 games, with the contest's first run on a single through the right side of the infield. After junior center fielder Michael Rockett was hit by a pitch, Lockwood delivered a two-run single to right to give the Roadrunners a 3-0 advantage.

Sacrifice flies by freshman second baseman Ryan Hutson and Rockett in the second extended the edge to five, but Northwestern State tied things up one inning later on a two-run single by Dylan Libadisos and three-run homer off the bat of Mike Jaworski.

The Roadrunners regained the lead with a five-run fourth, an inning that was highlighted by Lockwood's second homer in as many games, a three-run shot, which pushed his season total to a team-best seven.

The Demons (17-15, 9-4 SLC) pulled within four when Brett Johnson led off the fourth with a double and crossed the plate two batters later on Joe Urtuzuastegui's grounder to shortstop.

Things then began to get interesting over the next two frames, as Jaworski launched solo shots in both the fifth and sixth to cut the deficit to two at 10-8. His three long balls set a Northwestern State single-game record.

UTSA plated an insurance run to lead off the seventh on Palincsar's seventh bomb of the year, but Justin O'Neal responded with his first homer of the campaign to start the bottom of the stanza to cut the margin back to two.

However, that would be as close as Northwestern State would get the rest of the way, as senior right-hander Mark Ruffin and sophomore righty closer Zach Calhoon combined to record to the final nine outs of the contest.

Ruffin struck out two in 1.2 innings to improve to 1-1 on the year, while Calhoon collected his second save of the weekend and eighth of the year, which tied Lucas Stewart's (2003) and Noah Tritz' (2006) UTSA single-season record. The Spring native already owns the program's career mark with 14.

Palincsar was 4-for-4 with a pair of walks, three runs scored and two RBIs and he now has reached base in his last eight plate appearances (he homered and walked in his final two on Friday night). Senior catcher Zach Etheredge, Lockwood and Rockett each had three base hits, as UTSA pounded out 16, a season high in a league contest.

UTSA starter Bradley Chovanec, who was coming off back-to-back complete games, lasted just four-plus innings. The senior right-hander gave up seven runs on eight hits in the 64-pitch effort.

Justin Morgan (1-2) allowed four runs on three hits and a pair of walks in 1.2 innings in relief of Hennigan and was saddled with the loss for Northwestern State.

The Roadrunners will go after their second conference sweep of the year at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Junior southpaw Kris Rupeke (2-2, 7.96) is scheduled to make his weekend debut. The Adel, Iowa, native has started five games this year, four of which have come against Big 12 schools. Northwestern State right-hander Clayton Cooper will bring a perfect 4-0 mark and team-leading 1.84 ERA into the contest.

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