San Antonio – Tommy Vrzal tossed a one-hitter and St. Mary’s University rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to complete a four-game sweep of Lincoln University, 10-7 and 2-1, in Heartland Conference baseball action Saturday afternoon at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium.
The Rattlers were held in check for six innings by Blue Tiger pitcher Matt Rose, who worked his way in and out of trouble. Meanwhile Vrzal (Sr., San Antonio) was shutting down Lincoln. After a pair of errors led to an unearned run in the second inning Vrzal took things into his own hands, retiring 16 of the next 17 batters. Vrzal took a no-hitter into the seventh until, with two outs; Mike Hall broke up the no-no with a soft single to right.
Finally in the bottom of the seventh after six frustrating innings the Rattlers finally broke through against Rose. Ricky Gonzalez (Jr., Houston) led off with a solid single to left. Ray Camacho (Sr., Converse) laid down a sacrifice bunt that Rose couldn’t handle, putting runners on first and second with no out. Bobby Freeman (Jr., Fair Oaks Ranch) followed a perfect bunt down the first base line to load the bases with no out. Michael Brzezinski (So., Helotes) came up next and looped a single just in front of leftfielder Troy Malesky to score pinch runner Nate Wilson (Sr., San Antonio) with the first run of the game for the Rattlers. One out later Cody Pyle hit a short fly ball to center, which Travis Kay took in with no problem for the second out. But Camacho raced halfway down the baseline, forcing a throw from Kay, but the throw sailed well up the line and no Blue Tigers were able to track it down before Camacho scored the game-winning run.
Vrzal improved to 1-0 on the season, allowing one unearned run on one hit and one walk, while striking out eight. Rose was the tough-luck loser, falling to 0-2 after allowing two runs, one earned, on eight hits, while striking out four.
In the first game of the day the Rattlers overcame five errors and four Blue Tiger rallies to come out with a 10-7 win. Jason Anderson (Sr., Lancaster, Calif.) went a perfect 3-of-3 with a triple, RBI and two runs scored. Michael Pawelek (Sr., San Antonio) went 2-of-4, including the game-winning three-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning to put the Rattlers ahead for good.
Michael Villarreal (So., Eagle Pass) picked up his first win of the season, limiting the Blue Tigers to just two hits in 1 2/3 innings of work, while striking out four. Bobby Livingston took the loss, falling to 0-1 on the season.
With the wins St. Mary’s has now won six straight games and is 6-2 overall, including 4-0 in Heartland Conference play. Lincoln fell to 1-7 overall and 0-4 in HC play. St. Mary’s will return to action on Wednesday when they host Montana State University-Billings in the first two games of a four-game Heartland Conference series at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium, starting at 2 p.m.