Rattlers Look to Get Back on Track Against Rival Cardinals: Coming off a pair of one-run losses and a third place finish at the Mustang Invitational over the weekend St. Mary’s looks to get on track when they host cross-town rival the University of the Incarnate Word on Tuesday. Over the next two weeks St. Mary’s will play eight of 10 games at home, including a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m. against Tarleton State. The Rattlers had won five straight games and were 10-2 before falling to Northeastern State 3-2 and Midwestern State 2-1. They bounced back to end the tournament on a high note with a 7-5 win over Southern Arkansas. Malissa Magee continues to look like the best pitcher in the Heartland with a 5-2 record and 1.09 ERA this season. She has 56 strikeouts in 51.1 innings of work.
About Incarnate Word: The Cardinals entered the 2007 season ranked seventh in the nation after advancing to the finals of the South Central Region Tournament. However they have struggled in the early going this season, posting just a 3-8 overall record, including losses in their last four games. They fell to Angelo State in a doubleheader, 9-1 and 12-4 in San Angelo last Tuesday. Prior to that they dropped three of four at Texas A&M-Kingsville. Heartland preseason Hitter of the Year Melissa Perez has lived up to her billing, hitting .400 with three doubles, six RBI to this point. As a team the Cardinals are batting .239. On the mound is the biggest surprise for UIW as they have a 4.38 ERA. Perez is 1-5 with a 3.60 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 35.0 innings.
St. Mary’s vs. Incarnate Word: Since the 1995 season the Rattlers own a commanding 40-18 edge in the series between the teams. St. Mary’s is 21-6 at home and 16-10 at UIW. In neutral sites games the series is 3-2. The Rattlers won both games played at Rattler Field in 2006, but UIW won the season series 4-2. Only twice since 1995 has a team swept the season series, with the Rattlers doing it both times, by a 4-0 count in 1998 and 2002.
Odds and Ends Notes: In the Heartland Conference weekly report the Rattlers rank at the top of nearly every individual and team category… St. Mary’s has the top batting average in the league at .310 and has 13 homeruns. The most any other school in the league has is four homeruns… The Rattlers are also at the top of team pitching with a 1.82 ERA, less than half that of second place St. Edward’s… Kelcy Walker is third in the league with a .435 batting average, while Lindsay Barnes is fourth with a .432… Barnes, Walker and Heather Monroe rank 1-2-3 in RBIs… In pitching Malissa Magee and Brittany Kettinger rank 1-2 in ERA. Magee is first in wins (5), ERA (1.09), innings pitched (51.1) and strikeouts (56).
Flores Named Heartland Hitter of the Week: Nikki Flores was named Heartland Conference Softball Hitter of the Week for her play at the Mustang Invitational. Flores had hits in three of four games as St. Mary’s finished third at the Mustang Invitational, played in Wichita Falls on Friday and Saturday. She had two three-hit games, while hitting .583 with a double, homerun, two RBI and three runs scored. She went 3-of-3 in the tournament opener against East Central with a double. She smacked her first homerun of the season against Midwestern State, the only run of the game for the Rattlers in a 2-1 loss in eight innings. She finished the tournament by again going 3-of-3 with a double, RBI and run scored against Southern Arkansas.