Rattlers Hit the Road for Four Non-Conference Games: Coming off a split of a four-game series against Incarnate Word last weekend the Rattlers will hit the road for the next five games and 13 of the next 17. They will start this road trip with a single game Tuesday at Angelo State University. They will continue it with a four-game trip to Odessa to face new Heartland member Texas-Permian Basin. The Rattlers won the first two games of the series against UIW, both in their last at-bats. However, their luck ran dry on the following day, falling to the Cardinals by 7-6 and 6-3 counts. Ray Camacho continues to make a strong case for Heartland Offensive Player of the Year as he leads the league in batting with a .450 average, 37 RBI and 39 runs scored. Tommy Vrzal has been strong on the mound, going 5-1 with a 2.33 ERA and a league-best 48 strikeouts. The Rattlers are in the middle of a tight HC race, that has St. Edward’s in front at 17-3, while St. Mary’s and UIW are tied for second at 14-6.
About Angelo State: The Rams are strong again this season, posting a 22-9 overall record, the second best mark in the Lone Star Conference. They have been dominant at the plate, hitting .371 with 77 doubles, 24 triples and 42 homeruns. They score 8.3 runs per game and have stolen 54 bases in 74 attempts. On the mound they have a 5.14 ERA with two shutouts this season. They have struck out 196 batters against just 60 walks in 224.0 innings of work this season. However, opposing batters are hitting .295 against the Rams. Individually the Rams have four players hitting .400 or better, led by Steve Allred with a .465 average, 11 doubles, five homeruns, 24 RBI, 39 runs scored and 11 stolen bases. On the mound Michael Gunter has a 4-2 record and a 4.72 ERA in 40.0 innings of work with 39 strikeouts. Cody Broussard has come out of the bullpen to pick up six wins and has a 3.20 ERA in 25.1 innings.
St. Mary’s vs. Angelo State: The two teams have met four times prior to this season, with the all-time series tied at 2-2. ASU leads 2-1 in San Angelo, while the Rattlers won the only meeting in San Antonio, 9-5 during the 2005 season. Last season the teams played a doubleheader in San Angelo with the Rattlers winning game 1, 10-6 and the Rams winning game two 8-7 in 12 innings.
About Texas-Permian Basin: The Falcons bring an 11-18 overall record into this week’s series after sweeping a four-game series from Oklahoma Panhandle State last weekend. They also won three of four against Lincoln earlier this season. As a team the Falcons hit .296 at the plate with 46 doubles, eight homeruns and average 5.1 runs scored per game. Leading the way is Will Basom, who is hitting .490 with nine doubles, 30 RBI and 23 runs scored. Four UTPB starters are hitting .300 or better. On the mound the Falcons have a 4.49 ERA with two shutouts this season. UTPB pitchers have 143 strikeouts against just 75 walks in 214.1 inning pitched this season. J Vinson is the leader on the mound with a 4-2 record and a 3.96 ERA in 36.1 innings.
St. Mary’s vs. Texas-Permian Basin: This will be the first-ever meeting between the schools.
St. Mary’s-UIW Split Four-Game Series: As is so often the case St. Mary’s and Incarnate Word had a classic encounter at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium, with the teams splitting a four-game series. Three games were decided by just a single run, including two walk-off game-winners. In the first game of the series the Rattlers could not hold a 3-0 lead, but David Vaio’s bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth game St. Mary’s a 4-3 win. The next game was dominated for Incarnate Word for 6 2/3 innings. Holding on to a 2-0 lead the Cardinals looked like a sure bet for the win, until the Rattlers put two runners on with two outs and Ray Camacho smashed an 0-2 pitch out of the park for the game-winning homerun. In the third game the Cardinals ran out to a 7-1 lead, but had to hang on, edging the Rattlers 7-6. The Rattlers had the tying and game-winning runs on base in the bottom of the seventh when the game ended. A three-run triple by Ryan Watkins was the difference in a 6-3 UIW win in the final game, forging the split.