San Antonio – Zach Kucera and Tommy Vrzal each picked up their seventh wins of the season on the mound, while Ray Camacho and Ryan Femath led the way at the plate as St. Mary’s University swept a Heartland Conference baseball doubleheader against Montana State University-Billings, 5-2, 5-3, in action Friday afternoon at Cobb Field.
Kucera (Jr., Spring) fell just short of posting his third straight complete, improving to 7-3 after allowing two runs on eight hits and six walks, while striking out five in 6 2/3 innings of work. He allowed a single run in the fourth, and then was pulled in the bottom of the seventh after loading the bases with one out. Michael Villarreal (So., Eagle Pass) came on in relief and retired both batters he faced to pick up his first save of the season.
Coming off a disappointing showing against Incarnate Word last Saturday, the Rattlers jumped out on top early and never trailed in either game. Michael Brzezinski (So., Helotes), Camcho (Sr., Converse) and Jason Davila (Sr., Boerne) started the game by smacking three straight singles, the last scoring Brzezinski to give the Rattlers a 1-0 lead. Danny Cantu (So., Laredo) brought home Camacho with a single and Davila scored third run of the inning on an error. The Rattlers extended their lead to 5-1 in the fifth inning when Camacho smacked his fifth homerun of the season and Cantu brought home Davila with an RBI single.
In game two Vrzal and Yellowjacket pitcher Brian Strom exchanged goose-eggs for four innings before the Rattlers broke out on top in the fifth inning. Davila walked to lead off and Daniel Soto (Fr., Lytle) beat out a bunt single and moved to second on an error by the pitcher, putting runners at second and third with no outs. Ryan Femath (Sr., El Paso) singled home Davila and Brzezinski brought home Soto with a sacrifice fly. Camacho then brought home Femath to make the score 3-0.
The Yellowjackets responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning to cut the Rattler lead to 3-2. However, the Rattlers responded with a run in the top of the sixth, without the benefit of a hit. Ricky Gonzalez (Jr., Houston) walked to lead off and Michael Pawelek (Sr., San Antonio) was hit by a pitch to put two runners on with no outs. Two batters later Gonzalez scored on an error by the second baseman to give the Rattlers a 4-2 lead. In the seventh inning Jason Anderson (Sr., Lancaster, Calif.) put the game away for the Rattlers with an RBI single.
Vrzal (Sr., San Antonio) improved to 7-1 on the season, allowing three runs on two hits and five walks in five innings of work. Frank Flores (Jr., San Antonio) picked up his team-high fourth save of the season, tossing two scoreless innings.
With the sweep the Rattlers are now 29-14 overall and 21-9 in Heartland Conference play this season. MSUB is 19-21, 11-15. The two teams will return to action on Saturday with a doubleheader, starting at 1 p.m.