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UTSA ends skid with dramatic 6-5 victory at Houston

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 03/30/2010
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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Sophomore Casey Selsor led UTSA with three hits, including a pair of doubles, on Tuesday night.
HOUSTON — UTSA rallied for three runs in the ninth, held off a furious final-inning rally by Houston and ended a season-long six-game losing streak with a thrilling 6-5 victory at Cougar Field on Tuesday night.

Trailing 4-3 and down to their final three outs, the Roadrunners (10-13) got the rally started when freshman Jake Wood reached first on a wild pitch by Houston closer Mark Creel following a swinging third strike. Senior Eric Johnston pinch ran for UTSA’s first baseman and promptly was sacrificed to second by senior Jeff Taliaferro. Sophomore Casey Selsor then stroked a single through the right side of the infield for his third hit of the night and Johnston came racing home with the tying run. Junior Tyler Carpenter followed with a liner up the middle to put the Birds in front for good and a run-scoring fielder's choice off the bat of senior Lance Brown added an all-important insurance run.

That mark turned out to be huge, as the Cougars (12-11) mounted a rally of their own in the bottom of the frame off junior right-hander Kevin Clarke.

Ryan Still stroked a one-out single up the middle and Caleb Ramsey followed with an RBI double to left center. Clarke then coaxed a fly out to center from leadoff hitter Blake Kelso for the second out of the frame. Head coach Sherman Corbett then elected to intentionally walk left-hander Zac Presley and UH skipper Rayner Noble countered with pinch hitter Joel Ansley, who proceeded to strike out on a checked swing to end the contest, giving the Roadrunners a victory at Cougar Field for the third season in a row.

"This was a huge victory for us," Corbett said after the game. "Not only did we end a long losing streak, but more importantly, the guys showed a lot of heart and never gave up. I cannot begin to say how proud I am of the effort they showed out on that field tonight, especially in the ninth inning."

Clarke (2-0), who allowed a run on two hits and struck out a season-high four, was the winner. The Huntsville native came on in the eighth and mowed down the Cougars on just 10 pitches, including back-to-back strikeouts on six tosses to open the frame.

Meanwhile, Creel (2-2) blew the save opportunity and was saddled with the loss after giving up all three ninth-inning runs.

UTSA took the early lead when Selsor blooped a double down the right-field line to start the third. Carpenter brought him home two hitters later when he lined a base hit to left. After a groundout by senior Lance Brown, senior Ryan Rummel launched his fourth home run of the season to put the Birds in front, 3-0.

Houston took advantage of a dropped fly ball by freshman center fielder Daniel Rockett with two down in its half of the frame. That miscue on a routine fly off the bat of MP Cokinos brought home Zac Presley, who walked a batter earlier, and Austin Gracey followed with single through the left side to draw within one.

The Roadrunners had a golden opportunity to add to their lead in the next inning, but they were unable to take advantage of a pair of two-out hits when Selsor, who stroked his second two-bagger of the night down the left-field line, was gunned down at the plate by Houston left fielder Caleb Ramsey on a single off the bat of Rockett.

The Cougars pushed across a pair in the next panel to take their first lead of the night, which stood until the ninth.

Chris Wallace led off with a walk and Creel, who played the opening eight innings at first base, followed with a single to right center. After UTSA right-handed reliever Taylor Walton struck out Travis Trial on three pitches, Ramsey stroked a run-scoring double down the left-field line to tie the game at three. Kelso then delivered a sacrifice fly to right center to put UH on top, 4-3.

Sophomore righty Jason Walls kept the Roadrunners within striking distance with three solid innings of work in frames five through seven. The Sachse native retired the final eight hitters he faced and nine of 10 overall in the 43-pitch performance.

"Jason was fantastic," Corbett said. "He gave us three huge innings out of the bullpen and really kept us in the ballgame."

Junior Ryan Hutson and Selsor paced UTSA's 12-hit offensive attack with three apiece, while Carpenter, Rockett and Rummel each had two.

Ramsey went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs to lead Houston.

UTSA, 1-8 in Southland Conference play, continues its road trip this weekend when it travels south along IH-37 to take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (11-14, 3-6 SLC) in a three-game league series. The set begins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at Whataburger Field.

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