San Antonio – The St. Mary’s University softball team opens play at the 2010 Heartland Conference Tournament on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. against the University of the Incarnate Word at Diane Daniels Field.

The Rattlers (31-19 overall, 16-5 Heartland Conference) enter the tournament on a roll, having swept Texas A&M International University last Friday and Saturday in San Antonio. St. Mary’s is the second seed in the tournament. Incarnate Word (26-22, 14-6) is the third seed and defeated the Rattlers in two of the three meetings during the regular season.

St. Mary’s is led by Alyssa Alfaro (Jr., Eagle Pass, Texas), who earned Heartland Conference Hitter of the Week honors last week for the second time this season. Alfaro hit .625 last week with two homeruns, six RBI and three runs scored in the Rattlers sweep of TAMIU. For the season, she is hitting .345 with 10 doubles, 9 homeruns, 35 RBI and 32 runs scored. Arlynda Flores (Sr., Uvalde, Texas) is hitting .319 with nine doubles, six homeruns, 31 RBI and 36 runs scored. Freshman Katie Nichols (Fr., San Marcos, Texas) is batting .367 with eight doubles, four homeruns, 26 RBI and 33 runs scored.

On the mound, the Rattlers are led by Taryn Munoz (Sr., Bulverde, Texas), who was named Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season. Munoz was nearly perfect last week, tossing two shutouts against Texas A&M International. She was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 12.2 innings of work. For the season, she is now 19-12 with a 2.76 ERA, four shutouts, 23 complete games and 131 strikeouts in 187.2 innings of work. Freshman Crystal Keller (Fr., La Coste, Texas) is 5-4 with a 4.56 ERA four complete games and two saves.

St. Mary’s has won eight of the nine previous Heartland Conference Softball Tournaments, including a run of eight straight from 2001-2009. The Rattlers have only lost three times in the history of the tournament, and are 27-3 all-time.

All St. Mary’s games at the Heartland Conference Tournament will be broadcast live over the internet. You must have Quicktime player installed on your computer to listen to the broadcasts. Broadcast time is five minutes prior to the scheduled start of the game.

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