San Antonio – Ray Camacho hit a three-run homerun with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, rallying St. Mary’s University from 2-0 down and helping the Rattlers to a sweep of the University of the Incarnate Word, 4-3, 3-2, in Heartland Conference baseball action Friday at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium.
Camacho (Sr., Converse) gave the Rattlers the lift they had needed the entire game. Adam Rimlinger had dominated St. Mary’s over six innings, allowing just five hits and no walks. He then retired the first two batters of the seventh inning to put the Rattlers on the brink of defeat. But Ryan Femath (Sr., El Paso) blooped a 1-2 pitch between the pitcher and second baseman and just beat the ball out for an infield single. Michael Brzezinski (So., Helotes) drew a walk after getting behind 0-2 in the count. That brought up Camacho, who fell behind 0-2, fouled off a pitch, then took the next pitch he saw just over the wall in leftfield, sparking a wild celebration by the Rattlers. The homerun was the fourth of the season for Camacho.
Camacho’s blast made a winner out of Tommy Vrzal (Sr., San Antonio), who had allowed just two runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out six over seven innings of work. He improved to a team-best 5-1 with the win. Rimlinger was the tough-luck loser, falling to 3-1 after allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk, while striking out three in 6 2/3 innings of work.
In game one the Rattlers jumped out to an early lead, then had to score late to pick up the win. Brzezinski, Camacho and Jonathon Cisneros (Fr., San Antonio) posted consecutive hits to start the game, with Brzezinski scoring on Cisneros’ single. Cody Pyle (Sr., Spring Branch) followed with a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Camacho for a 2-0 lead. Two innings later the Rattlers added a run when Brzezinski singled and two outs later scored on a Pyle single left, giving the Rattlers a 3-0 lead.
That looked to be enough for Zach Kucera (Jr., Spring), who was strong for six innings, taking a 3-1 lead into the seventh. However he hit Drew Hamilton to lead off and one out later Chris Pacheco singled to drive home Hamilton. Josh Hood drew a walk and Frank Flores (Jr., San Antonio) came in from the bullpen. Jason Miori brought home Pacheco with a single to center, tying the game at 3-3. Flores got out of the jam when Ryan Watkins grounded into a double play.
Two innings later the Rattlers won the game in controversial fashion. With one out Femath doubled and Brzezinski followed with a walk. That brought Paul Brancheau in from the bullpen, but he walked Camcho to load the bases. Brancheau continued to struggle and went 3-0 on David Vaio (So., San Antonio). The 3-0 pitch was called low, drawing yells from the stands and the UIW bench, but was ball four and brought home the winning run.
Flores picked up the win to improve to 2-0 on the season. He allowed three hits, while striking out two in 2 2/3 innings of work. Jake Smith took the loss, falling to 0-1.
With the sweep St. Mary’s improved to 21-7 overall and 14-4 in Heartland Conference play. The Rattlers have also won six straight games. UIW fell to 20-9, 12-6. The teams will wrap up their four-game HC series on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium.