Rattlers Head North Looking to Get Back on Track: Coming off a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Incarnate Word Saturday, the Rattlers hit the road for their second-to-last road trip of the season, taking on Montana State-Billings in a four-game Heartland Conference series. The Rattlers won the first two games of their series at UIW, but fell in the final two and now stand three games behind HC leader St. Edward’s. Both teams have 12 HC games remaining. The teams split their eight game season series. Zach Kucera has been pitching well of late, winning his last three starts and allowing just two earned runs over his last 19 innings. At the plate Michael Brzezinski has been red hot as well, hitting .458 over the last 18 games.
About Montana State-Billings: After a 3-11 start to the season, MSUB has rebounded to win 16 of their last 22 and stand at 19-17 overall, 11-13 in Heartland play. Weather has limited them as they have played just six home games this season. As a team they are hitting .272 with 46 doubles, 13 homeruns and average 5.0 runs per game. Matt Schoonover is the leading hitter for the Yellowjackets, hitting .368 with seven doubles, four homeruns, 19 RBI and 23 runs scored. On the mound the Yellowjackets have a 5.58 ERA with nine complete games and three shutouts this season. Ben Lewerke has been by far their best pitcher, going 6-1 with a 1.42 ERA in 44.1 innings. He has three complete games and a shutout.
St. Mary’s vs. Montana State-Billings: The Rattlers hold a 10-2 lead in the all-time series between the teams. The Rattlers won three of four meetings earlier this season in San Antonio. All eight previous meetings took place last season. The Rattlers swept the four games in San Antonio by a combined 31-5. They followed that up by winning three of four in Billings, Mont., scoring 39 runs, while allowing 11. MSUB won just one game, 5-4 in the second game of the series.
Rattlers, Cardinals Split Four-Games Series Again: Michael Pawelek smacked two homeruns and drove in seven runs to rally St. Mary’s to a 9-5 win in game two and a sweep of Incarnate Word Friday, but the Cardinals came back on Saturday and won both games, 16-4, 8-4. Pawelek gave the Rattlers a 3-2 lead in the top of the second inning with his fourth homerun of the season, a two-run shot. In the fifth inning he gave the Rattlers a 5-4 lead with an RBI double to left-center, which scored Cody Pyle. He then gave the Rattlers the lead for good with a grand slam homerun in the top of the seventh inning. The seven RBI is a career high for the Rattlers rightfielder. His work at the plate made a winner out of Frank Flores, who improved to 3-0 this season with a perfect 1 2/3 innings of relief work. In game one Zach Kucera allowed just one run on five hits and two walks, while striking out four for his second straight complete game win.