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UTSA's ninth-inning rally against Southestern Louisiana falls short on Sunday

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 10/29/2009
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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Freshman Matthew James went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs on Sunday.
SAN ANTONIO UTSA mounted a furious ninth-inning rally for the second time in three days, but the Roadrunners came up just short and Southeastern Louisiana held on for a 9-8 victory on Sunday to salvage the final contest of this weekend's Southland Conference-opening three-game series at Roadrunner Field.

With Lions right-hander Ryan Collins in his third inning of work out of the bullpen, junior Lance Brown got the rally started when he launched a towering home run, his first as a Roadrunner, over the hitter's eye in stright-away center field with one out. Senior pinch hitter Aaron Powell then drew a walk and Southeastern Louisiana skipper Jay Artigues went to his closer, Chris Franklin, who had played the first 8.1 innings at third base.

After Franklin struck out sophomore Tyler Carpenter for the second out of the frame, seniors Marshal Davis and Michael Rockett kept the inning alive with back-to-back base hits. Rockett's single to right center allowed Powell to cross the plate and that brought up the league's hottest hitter, senior Jose Hernandez, who was hit by a 3-2 fastball to load the bases. Freshman Matthew James, already 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk and three RBIs on the day, came to the plate looking to give the Birds their second walk-off win of the weekend.

He got ahead 2-1, but a foul ball evened the count at 2-2. Franklin then threw a fastball down the middle of the plate, James did not react and home plate umpire Richard Trevino rang him up to end the ballgame.

The Rodrunners saw their four-game winning streak come to an end and they now stand at 8-4 overall and 2-1 in league play. Meanwhile, the Lions improved to 7-5 and all their wins have been of the come-from-behind variety.

Franklin, who was 3-for-5 at the plate with a pair of two-baggers and three RBIs, picked up his second save of the year and that made a winner of starter Josh Janway (3-0), who gave up four runs (two earned) on seven hits in five-plus innings.

Freshman righty Clay Schrader (2-1) was charged with the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks.

After Southeastern scored a run in the top of the first, UTSA responded with a two-spot to take its first and only lead of the day. Two innings later, Brandon Street clubbed a three-run homer and that put the Lions back in front 4-2.

Southeastern Louisiana tacked on another run in the fourth to extend the advantage to three, but Hernandez hit a chopper through the left side of the infield in the bottom of the frame to plate Davis, who led off with a double.

The Lions pushed across four insurance runs in the seventh to go up 9-4 and those proved to be valuable, as the Roadrunners responded once again, this time on James' second double of the day, which allowed Rockett and Hernandez to cross the plate.

Davis and Rockett both had three hits on the afternoon and Rockett extended his career-best hitting streak to 17 games (dating back to May 16, 2008). Hernandez scored twice, had a pair of base hits and brought home one to finish off a week that saw him hit .600 (9-for-15) with two doubles, a triple, four homers and 11 RBIs. Meanwhile, Carpenter pushed his hitting streak to 13 (dating back to May 23, 2008), the longest of his career, with his infield single in the first.

A half dozen hitters had two or more hits for Southeastern Louisiana and Brandon Street had a team-best three RBIs.

UTSA is back in action on Tuesday night when it concludes its four-game home stand against Illinois State (4-4). Freshman left-hander Marc Gomez (0-0, 7.50 ERA) will get the start and first pitch is slated for 6 p.m.
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