Do or Die (Again) For Rattlers: Coming off an impressive performance against St. Edward’s last weekend the Rattlers look to be on the right track again heading into their series this weekend against Incarnate Word. However, a split or worse in their series this weekend would severely damage the Rattlers playoff chances. Thanks to wins in three of four games last weekend the Rattlers find themselves back in the hunt for an NCAA Division II playoff berth. But losses to UIW, who is likely on the outside looking in with a 14-10 conference mark, would hurt. This weekend’s game is the start of an eight-game road trip for the Rattlers, after which they return home for the next five games.
About Incarnate Word: After starting the season 20-6 the Cardinals have struggled over the last 11 games, falling in eight of their last 13 games. They split a doubleheader against Angelo State on Tuesday in San Angelo to improve to 25-14. At the plate they are hitting .320 with 50 doubles, 20 triples, 27 homeruns and average 7.6 runs scored per game. The leader at the plate is Chris Solis with a .388 batting average and 27 runs scored. On the mound though, they have a 5.52 ERA with just one shutout this season. Paul Branchau leads the team in wins out of the bullpen with a 7-1 record and a 4.23 ERA in 15 appearances. Adam Rimlinger is the top starter on the squad with a 4-1 record and team-best 2.91 ER in 58.2 innings of work.
St. Mary’s vs. Incarnate Word: Since the 1997 season the all-time series between the teams is tied 31-31. The Rattlers won the season series in 2006, 5-3. The teams split a four-game series earlier this season at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium. UIW owns the edge at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium, leading 19-14, 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 four 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 Win Three of Four Against St. Edward’s: Pitching was the name of the game for St. Mary’s as they won three of four games in a pivotal Heartland Conference series. In winning the first three games of the series the Rattlers allowed just three runs, while scoring 21. Zach Kucera became the first pitcher to shut out the Hilltoppers all season. Brandon Lippe made his first appearance since Feb. 22 and dominated, taking a shutout into the seventh inning before settling for a 7-1 win. In the series the Rattlers had eight extra base hits, including three homeruns to lead the way offensively. The three-game losing streak was the first of the season for the Hilltoppers. The Rattlers also committed just two errors against eight for the Hilltoppers.
Camacho Named Heartland Hitter of the Week for Third Time: Ray Camacho was named Heartland Conference Hitter of the Week for his play against the Incarnate Word. Camacho helped St. Mary’s to a split of a four-game series against #26 Incarnate Word, hitting .462 with a double, homerun, four RBI and three runs scored. He had hits in three of the four games and drew a pair of walks in the only game he didn’t have a base hit. In the second game of the series he went 2-of-4, including a game-winning three-run homerun on a two-out, 0-2 pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 3-2 Rattler win. He helped St. Mary’s rally from a 7-1 deficit in the third game of the series, going 3-of-4 with an RBI.