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Ruepke saws through Lumberjacks, leads UTSA to 7-0 victory on Sunday

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 10/29/2009
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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Box score

Junior Kris Ruepke did not allow a runner to reach second base in his three-hit shutout on Sunday.
SAN ANTONIO UTSA rode the left arm of junior Kris Ruepke, who fired a three-hit shutout with a career-high eight strikeouts, and finished its second Southland Conference sweep in as many weeks with a 7-0 victory against Stephen F. Austin on Sunday afternoon at Roadrunner Field.

UTSA, which has three sweeps this year eight in the last two seasons, won for the 13th time in its last 16 contests to improve to 28-12 overall, which is the best 40-game start in school history (previous best was 26-14 two years ago). The Roadrunners also pushed their Southland Conference mark to 14-4 and maintained their one-game lead over I-35 Rival Texas State, which posted an 11-5 victory against Central Arkansas on Sunday. The Birds, 19-6 at home this year, also continued their strong play at the Bird Bath, winning for the 11th time in the last dozen tilts at their on-campus facility.

Ruepke (4-2) was outstanding for the second Sunday in a row, as he did not allow a runner to reach second base in the 119-pitch masterpiece. The Adel, Iowa, native registered 18 first-pitch strikes, faced just five hitters over the minimum and six of his eight punchouts were looking. He finished strong, retiring nine of the final 10 Lumberjacks and 16 of 18 overall. Ruepke, who has won four of his last five decisions, is the second Roadrunner in the last month to throw consecutive complete games (senior Bradley Chovanec did so on March 29 and April 5). He has allowed just a pair of runs on nine hits and fanned 10 in his last two starts.

Ruepke was backed by a defense that made several outstanding plays and a nine-hit offensive attack that included doubles by senior Trent Lockwood and junior Michael Rockett and a triple by junior Aaron Powell.

The Roadrunners scored in the opening inning for the third day in a row and improved to 23-4 this year when lighting the scoreboard lamps first.

Junior shortstop James Keithley led off with a single through the left side of the infield to push his UTSA-record hitting streak to 27 games. It was the 10th time during the stretch that he extended the streak in his first at bat. Sophomore Tim Palincsar followed with a single up the middle and Keithley moved to third. With Rockett facing a full count one batter later, Palincsar took off for second on the payoff pitch. Rockett swung through the offering from SFA starter Lance Luetge, but Kevin Croft's throw sailed into center field and that allowed Keithley to cross the plate with the contest's first run.

A two-out single by Lockwood two frames later brought home freshman Ryan Hutson, who led off the inning with a base hit through the box, with the second tally of the afternoon.

The Roadrunners then pushed their lead to 6-0 with four runs on a dropped fly ball and three extra-base hits in the fifth.

Keithley opened the stanza with a fly ball to the left center field gap, but left fielder Kevin Crabtree dropped the ball and the San Antonio native wound up on second base. After Palincsar popped up to first, Rockett and Lockwood followed with consecutive two-baggers and Powell then rapped liner off the center field wall for his third triple of the season.

Lockwood brought home his third run of the afternoon in the seventh when he lifted a sacrifice fly to deep center to plate Palincsar, who drew a walk to start the frame.

Rockett was 2-for-3 with his SLC-leading 21st double and a walk, while Lockwood added a pair of hits and three RBIs.

Luetge (4-5) picked up the loss after surrendering a half dozen runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk in 4.2 innings.

UTSA is back in action on Wednesday night when it heads north to face No. 15 Texas (23-16) in the second meeting between the two schools this year. The Longhorns, ranked 10th at the time, won 16-5 on March 17. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. in and sophomore right-hander Ryan Proudfoot (5-2, 3.59 ERA) will get the start for the Roadrunners.

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