San Antonio – They’re going to have to do it the hard way.
That was St. Mary’s mantra after a tough 5-3 loss to Southeastern Oklahoma State on Friday, as the top-seeded Rattlers suddenly find themselves one defeat away from elimination in the NCAA Division II South Central Baseball Regional Championship.
Southeastern, ranked 26th in the nation, broke open a 3-3 tie with a two-run seventh inning, this after wiping away an early two-run deficit with a three-run fifth against No. 3 St. Mary’s at V.J. Keefe Field.
The loss snapped the Rattlers’ 17-game win streak.
“We’re a good team, obviously,” said freshman reliever Kyle Bumpas, an El Paso, Texas native who picked up his first loss of the season to fall to 7-1. “We’ve won almost all of our games. We’ve just got to pick it back up.”
St. Mary’s (46-9) will play No. 3 Emporia State (43-11) at 12 p.m. Saturday in an elimination game for both teams. If the Rattlers were to win, they will move on to play another elimination game at 7 p.m.
“Just another stumbling block that we’ve got to overcome,” Rattlers coach Charlie Migl said. “We’ve got to do it the hard way.”
Things were going the Rattlers’ way early, as All-Region pitcher Greg Herbst dominated through the first four innings. But he was tagged for three runs in the fifth, as a 2-0 St. Mary’s lead evaporated into a 3-2 deficit.
Herbst (Sr., San Antonio) finished with four strikeouts and four walks in five innings, while Bumpas struck out one in two innings.
Second baseman Weston Baros (Sr., San Antonio) and catcher Ryan Morrow (Sr., Bulverde, Texas) accounted for the Rattlers’ two RBIs. Third baseman Reagan Moczygemba (Sr., Bulverde, Texas) was the only St. Mary’s player to record multiple hits, going 2 for 4.