Heartland Lead on the Line This Weekend: St. Mary’s will have will likely be their last chance to catch Heartland Conference leader St. Edward’s this weekend when they host the Hilltoppers at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium on Thursday and Friday. SEU leads the league with a 21-3, while St. Mary’s is five games back at 14-6. However, if the Rattlers were able to sweep the Hilltoppers, SEU would have more losses in conference play than the Rattlers. Anything short of a St. Mary’s sweep would likely seal the HC title for SEU as they will have completed play against both St. Mary’s and Incarnate Word (14-10 HC). The Rattlers struggled in the bullpen last week, losing two leads in the opposing team’s last at-bat and went 1-2. After this weekend they will hit the road for HC series against Incarnate Word and Montana State-Billings.
About St. Edward’s: The Hilltoppers are having a strong season and stand at 29-7 overall, 21-3 in Heartland Conference play. They are an amazing 25-3 at home, but have played just eight games on the road, posting a 4-4 mark. They are coming off an impressive sweep of Incarnate Word last weekend at home after dropping two of three against Texas A&M-International on the road the week before. As a team the Hilltoppers hit .341 with 72 doubles, 15 triples, 23 homeruns and average 7.5 runs per game. Brian Thomas is the leading hitter for SEU, with a .411 average, 11 doubles, 20 RBI and 36 runs scored. Seven starters are hitting .300 or better for the Hilltoppers. On the mound SEU has a 4.57 ERA with 12 complete games and three shutouts. Hilltopper hurlers have struck out 201 batters, while walking just 107 in 268.0 innings of work. Patrick Colgan is the team leader with a 7-0 record and a 2.94 ERA this season. Casey Plant is 6-2 with a 2.73 ERA and six complete games.
St. Mary’s vs. St. Edward’s: Since 1997 the Rattlers hold a 31-25 lead in the series between the teams, including a 20-5 mark at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium. SEU leads 20-10 in Austin and St. Mary’s leads 1-0 in neutral site games. However, the Hilltoppers have won the season series each of the last two years and took three of four games from the Rattlers in Austin earlier this season. The teams have split the four games in San Antonio each of the last two seasons. Prior to that the Rattlers had won 16 of 17 games at home.
Rattlers Split Doubleheader Against UTPB: Zach Kucera allowed just one run over five innings of work for his fourth win of the season, helping St. Mary’s to a split of a doubleheader against Texas-Permian Basin, 2-1, 4-10. Kucera allowed just the one run on five hits and three walks, while striking out two to improve to 4-3 this season. Michael Villarreal picked up his first save as a Rattler, holding the Falcons to just one hit and one walk, while striking out three in two innings of work. The Rattlers picked up both of their runs in the top of the third inning. Daniel Soto walked to lead off and moved to second on a sacrifice by Ryan Femath. Michael Brzezinski singled to put runners on first and third and Ray Camacho brought home Soto with a ground out. Jason Anderson then reached on an error, allowing Brzezinski to score. In the second game the Rattlers took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the bullpen lost the 4-3 lead and the Rattlers dropped a 10-4 decision. The loss came despite the fact that the Rattlers out hit the Falcons 11-8.
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.