Rivals Clash with Heartland Standings, Bragging Rights on the Line: 2007 marks the 21st year of the UIW-St. Mary’s rivalry on the baseball field. And as usual the teams are running neck-and-neck in the Heartland standings this season. After UIW’s split with St. Edward’s last week just one game separates first from third in the loss column, with UIW and St. Mary’s tied at 12-4. SEU is 17-3 in HC play, but has already played one more series than UIW and St. Mary’s. For obvious reasons that makes this weekend’s series vital for both teams. UIW makes a return trip to SEU next week in another series of vital HC note. The Rattlers have been red-hot of late, winning 10 of their last 13 games, with all three losses coming against St. Edward’s two weeks ago, including two games in which they led in the sixth inning.

About Incarnate Word: The Cardinals are coming off a strong showing last weekend in which they split a four-game series with Heartland leader St. Edward’s in San Antonio. They crushed Tarleton State on Tuesday, 18-5. They bring a 20-6 overall record and a 12-4 mark into this weekend’s action. UIW is the second best offensive squad in the Heartland, behind only St. Mary’s. They are hitting .335 for the season with 43 doubles, 12 triples, 20 homeruns and average 8.2 runs per game. Leading the way is Chris Solis with a .433 batting average, including 20 runs scored in 20 games. Ryan Watkins is hitting .400 with seven doubles, four homeruns, 30 RBI and 23 runs scored. On the mound the Cardinals have a 4.73 ERA with three complete games. They have not shut out an opponent yet this season. Opposing batters are hitting .283 off their pitchers. UIW has struck out 124 batters, while walking 88 in 199.2 innings of work. The leader on the mound is Adam Rimlinger with a 3-0 record and 2.89 ERA in 37.1 innings of work. Paul Brancheau is 6-0 with a 4.12 ERA in 24.0 innings, all out of the bullpen.

St. Mary’s vs. Incarnate Word: Since the 1997 season the series is tied at 29-29 between the teams. However, the Rattlers won the season series in 2006 5-3. UIW owns the edge at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium, leading 17-12, while the Rattlers have won 15 of the 25 games at Sullivan Field. The teams are 2-2 on neutral sites. UIW had won the season series the previous three years prior to 2006. The teams split for games at V.J. Keefe, while the Rattlers won three of four at Sullivan Field. St. Mary’s scored the second most runs in a single game in school history against UIW, plating 28 during the 2001 National Championship season.

Rattlers Sweep Past TAMIU: Brandon Key allowed just one run over seven innings to pick up his second win of the season, while the St. Mary’s offense had four doubles to lead the Rattlers to a 6-1 win over Texas A&M International. Key struggled early, allowing six base runners over the first three innings, but was able to work out of jams in all three innings. He settled down after that and held the Dustdevils scoreless until the sixth inning. Jonathon Cisneros led the Rattlers with two hits in three at-bats, including two RBIs. Jason Davila also had a pair of base hits. The win gave the Rattlers a three-game sweep of the Dustdevils, who fell by 12-4 and 13-8 counts on Friday.

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