Red-Hot Rattlers Hit the Road to Finish Regular Season: With wins in their last 12 games St. Mary’s looks for more as they hit the road to finish the regular season. But if they are to continue their win streak it won’t come easy. First they will travel to San Angelo on Wednesday to face 4th-ranked Angelo State in a doubleheader, starting at 5 p.m. They will then return to San Antonio to wrap up the regular season with a doubleheader on Saturday at Incarnate Word at 1 p.m. St. Mary’s swept all four games of their series against Texas-Permian Basin over the weekend, outscoring the Falcons by a combined 27-0. They also swept a doubleheader from UIW by 11-2, 3-0, counts. After this week they will host the Heartland Conference Tournament, which will be played at St. Mary’s on April 26-28. The winner of the HC Tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA South Central Region Tournament.

St. Mary’s vs. Ranked Opponents: The Rattlers have gone 7-4 against nationally ranked opponents this season. They won their first four games of the season against ranked teams, defeating (#19) Abilene Christian twice and (#7) Incarnate Word twice. They fell to #6 Emporia State and dropped three of four against #21 St. Edward’s, but all four of their losses to ranked teams have come by two runs or less with two one-run decisions. They swept a doubleheader against #11 Texas A&M-Kingsville in San Antonio on March, 4-0, 2-0.

Regional Rankings: The second NCAA South Central Region rankings were announced last week with the Rattlers in sixth place. Angelo State remains on top, with Texas A&M-Kingsville second. St. Edward’s, Northeastern State and Tarleton State round out the top five. However, with TAMUK, NSU and TSU all taking multiple losses last week, the rankings are likely to change for this week.

NCAA Statistical Leaders: St. Mary’s continues to rank as one of the top teams in statistical categories in NCAA Division II. Malissa Magee is ranked sixth in the division in wins with 20 and 11th in ERA with a 0.66. Mary K Pederson ranks 45th in walks. As a team the Rattlers are 10 in fielding percentage with a .979 and are 11th in ERA with a 1.48.

About Angelo State: Even hotter than the Rattlers right now is Angelo State. The Rambelles have won 11 in a row and 22 of their last 23 games and have already clinched the Lone Star South Division title. They have a 40-6 overall record, including a 23-2 mark at home. They are ranked #4 nationally and first in the South Central Region. Most of their damage has been done at the plate as they hit .362 with 48 homeruns, 80 doubles, 111 stolen bases and average 8.1 runs per game. Kaycee Taylor has been strong at the plate, hitting .436 with 11 doubles, 10 homeruns and 45 RBI. Kandace Kubat is hitting .405 with 54 runs scored and 41 stolen bases. On the mound the Rambelles have a .256 ERA with 36 complete games and seven shutouts. Opponents hit .264 against them. Kari Galm is 21-4 with a 2.07 ERA and three shutouts this season. Brittney Cargill is 16-2 with a 2.28 ERA.

St. Mary’s vs. Angelo State: St. Mary’s owns a 19-11 edge in the all-time series between the teams. ASU won the first two meetings this season, 4-1, 12-8, in San Antonio. The Rattlers are 13-4 all-time in San Antonio, 4-7 in San Angelo and 2-0 in neutral site games. The Rattlers won the season series in 2006, 3-1, but were 1-1 in San Angelo. St. Mary’s has won the season series four of the five years ASU has had softball, with the teams tying 3-3 during the 2004 season.

About Incarnate Word: The Cardinals continued their recent struggles, dropping all six games last week to fall to 18-29 overall and 6-12 in Heartland play. They scored just seven runs in dropping to St. Mary’s and four to Montana State-Billings. As a team the Cardinals are hitting .261 with 33 doubles, 11 homeruns and average 3.6 runs scored per game. Melissa Perez is the leading hitter for UIW with a .377 batting average, 10 doubles, three homeruns and 23 RBI. On the mound the Cardinals have a 3.85 ERA, 30 complete games and four shutouts this season. Perez is also the top pitcher with a 2.66 ERA and a 6-14 record. She has 106 strikeouts in 129.0 innings of work.

St. Mary’s vs. Incarnate Word: Since the 1995 season the Rattlers own a commanding 44-18 edge in the series between the teams. St. Mary’s is 25-6 at home and 16-10 at UIW. In neutral sites games the series is 3-2. St. Mary’s swept a doubleheader between the teams earlier this season, 1-0, 4-0, then won both meetings last week, 11-2, 3-0. 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.

St. Mary’s Sweeps Past Texas-Permian Basin: Kelcy Walker smacked two homeruns and drove home six runs, while Malissa Magee and Brittney Kettinger continued their strong pitching as St. Mary’s completed a four-game sweep of Texas-Permian Basin. Walker keyed an 18-run outburst in the first game of the doubleheader, going 4-of-4 with two homeruns, five RBI and four runs scored. The 18 runs are tied for the second most runs scored in a single game in St. Mary’s history. The win was clinched by an 11-run third inning that put the game out of reach. Kettinger improved to 11-6 this season with the win, allowing just one hit and no walks in three innings of work. Ericka Avila, playing in her final home game as a Rattler, tossed two scoreless innings of relief, striking out four. In the second game Magee and Crystal Ivy traded goose-eggs for four innings until the Rattlers finally broke out on top. With one out Pederson singled to left and stole second base. After moving to third on a ground out she came home when Walker singled to center, giving St. Mary’s a 1-0 lead. That was all that Magee needed as she was as dominant, allowing just an infield single and two walks, while striking out a school-record 17 batters.

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