San Antonio – The University of the Incarnate Word ran out to early leads and held off late rallies to sweep a doubleheader from St. Mary’s University, 7-6, 6-3, in Heartland Conference baseball action Saturday afternoon at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium.
In the first game the Cardinals took an early 7-1 lead, thanks in part to four unearned runs, before the Rattlers rallied. St. Mary’s picked up a single run in the fifth inning and got themselves back into the game in the sixth. Ryan Femath (Sr., El Paso) singled to lead off and Danny Cantu (So., Laredo) followed with a single. Michael Pawelek (Sr., San Antonio) walked to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Cory Jacobi (Sr., Corpus Christi) singled to bring home both Fremath and Cantu, making the score 7-4. Jason Anderson (Sr., Lancaster, Calif.) walked to load the bases again with no outs. That brought a call to the bullpen for Paul Brancheau. Michael Brzezinski (So., Helotes) hit into fielder’s choice to score Pawelek, making the score 7-5. But Jacobi was picked off third for the second out, and despite Ray Camacho’s (Sr., Converse) single the Rattlers could not score again that inning.
The Rattlers cut the lead to just a single run in the seventh inning on a David Vaio (So., San Antonio) single that scored Cody Pyle (Sr., Spring Branch). But that was it as Bobby Freeman struck out to end the threat and the game.
Michael Villarreal (So., Eagle Pass) took the loss, falling to 3-2 this season. Blake McAnelly improved to 4-0 with the win for the Cardinals.
In game two the Cardinals used a three-run triple by Ryan Watkins to break open a tie game. From there the Cardinal bullpen held off several spirited Rattler rallies as St. Mary’s left nine men on base in the game. Brancheau picked up his seventh win of the season out of the bullpen, while Brandon Key fell to 2-2 with the loss. Anderson went 3-of-4 with two doubles, while Jason Davila (Sr., Boerne) went 3-of-3.
With the losses the Rattlers fell to 21-9 overall and 14-6 in Heartland Conference play. UIW improved to 22-8, 14-6. St. Mary’s will return to action on Tuesday when they head west to face Angelo State University for a single non-conference game at 7 p.m. in San Angelo.