Rattlers Hit the Road for Final Series of the Season: Coming off a sweep in their final home series of the season, the Rattlers hit the road for their final road series of the year. They will face resurgent Lincoln University on Friday and Saturday in Jefferson City, Mo. St. Mary’s had little trouble with Oklahoma Panhandle State, winning three games by shutout at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium. The Rattlers have won seven of their last nine games entering this week’s play. They still have a slim shot at the Heartland Conference crown as they trail St. Edward’s by three games with four games to play for both teams. If the Rattlers sweep LU and the Hilltoppers drop four in a row to Montana State-Billings, the Rattlers would claim the crown.
About Lincoln: The Blue Tigers have finished strong, going 10-7 over their last 17 games after a 7-27 start to the season. They had won 10 of 14 before dropping three to #22 St. Edward’s last weekend in Jefferson City. LU is 10-10 at home this season. The Blue Tigers have been solid at the plate, batting .296 with 59 doubles, 13 triples and 28 RBIs. They average 5.9 runs scored per game. Travis Kay is the leading hitter for LU, batting .349 with five doubles, two triples, three homeruns, 18 RBI, 32 runs scored and a team-best 12 stolen bases. On the mound the Blue Tigers have a 7.30 ERA with 16 complete games and no shutouts this season. Adam Patch leads the team in wins with five and in ERA with a 5.84. In the field the Blue Tigers are third in the Heartland with a .951 fielding percentage and average less than 1.5 errors per game.
St. Mary’s vs. Lincoln: Since the 1997 season the Rattlers have an 22-3 edge in the all-time series between the teams, including wins in six of eight games last season. All 21 meetings between the teams have come in the last three years. The Rattlers hold a 16-1 lead in San Antonio, including a four-game sweep of the Blue Tigers earlier this season. St. Mary’s also leads 6-2 in Jefferson City and won three of four in Missouri last season. In 2004 the Rattlers posted their third highest single-game run total against Lincoln, with 26 runs in a 26-1 win.
Vrzal Earns Heartland Pitcher of the Week Honors: Tommy Vrzal was named Heartland Conference pitcher of the week for his play against Oklahoma Panhandle State University. Vrzal saved the best performance of his Rattler career for his final home start as a Rattler. Vrzal tossed his first career no-hitter against Oklahoma Panhandle State on Saturday, allowing just three walks, while striking out nine against the Aggies. With the performance he lowered his ERA to 2.95. He is 8-1 in 13 appearances, including 12 starts and four complete games and one shutout. He has allowed 24 earned runs in 73.1 innings of work. He has walked 47 and struck out a team-high 73 this season. Opposing batters are hitting just .192 against him.
Rattlers Sweep Past Oklahoma Panhandle State: Brandon Lippe and Caleb Staudt held Oklahoma Panhandle State without an earned run, while the St. Mary’s bats pounded out 14 runs as the Rattlers completed a four-game sweep of the Aggies. Lippe tossed his third complete game in his last four starts, allowing just one unearned run on five hits and two walks, while striking out eight to improve to 4-2. In the second game of the doubleheader Caleb Staudt had his best outing since returning from an early season injury, limiting the Aggies to just five hits and one walk, while striking out five in five innings of work. The Rattlers outscored the Aggies 26-1 in the four-game series and completed an eight-game sweep of the Aggies for the season. OPSU did not score an earned run in the four-game series.