San Antonio – It seems as if the Rattlers’ baseball team can’t look anywhere these days without seeing a national ranking attached to its name.
Throw in the fact that St. Mary’s national-championship team from 2001 is set to be honored throughout Saturday’s game against Texas A&M International, and it’d be understandable if these Rattlers started thinking about their own national-title potential.
“Deep down, we do (think about that),” junior outfielder Josh McElroy said. “But we don’t want to let it get to us. We’re just going to keep playing baseball and let everything else takes its course.”
Of most-pressing importance is worrying about Texas A&M International.
The Dustdevils entered Friday trailing by just one game in the loss column to the Heartland Conference-leading St. Mary’s Rattlers, a gap that remained intact after the two teams split the first two games of the three-game series.
St. Mary’s, ranked 13th in the nation, took Game 1, 6-2, before watching A&M International storm back to steal Game 2, 4-3, at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium.
Game 3 will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium, with a special pre-game ceremony honoring the 2001 squad taking place at 12:30 p.m.
“It means a lot,” said McElroy, a native of Helotes, Texas, of the championship team’s presence at tomorrow’s game. “Knowing that they’ve done it all and been through everything. We’ve been playing well and just have to come out and focus hard.”
Ace Matt Holland (Sr., Shreveport, La.) improved to 6-0 on the season by picking up the victory in Game 1, in which junior shortstop Esteban Raygoza (San Antonio) led the way at the plate, going 1 for 3 with two RBIs and a run scored.
The Rattlers led 2-0 early in Game 2, but the Dustdevils scattered runs over the third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings to prevail.
“These games are as big as anything,” junior first baseman Tyler Migl said. “We want to separate ourselves from the pack.”
St. Mary’s is 17-5 overall and 12-2 in conference, while A&M International is 7-3 in conference.