GOODWELL, Okla. – The St. Mary’s Rattlers’ baseball team opened its series with Oklahoma Panhandle State with two victories Saturday, inching closer toward clinching the Heartland Conference’s regular-season title.

The No. 8 Rattlers took Game 1 4-1 and followed with a 3-0 triumph in Game 2, improving to 33-8 on the season. St. Mary’s is 20-3 in Heartland Conference play.

Right fielder Jason Garcia (Sr., Falfurrias, Texas), left fielder Derek Moczygemba (So., Bulverde, Texas) and catcher Luke Garza (So., Corpus Christi, Texas) all drove in a run in the game. Ace Matt Holland (Sr., Shreveport, La.) picked up the victory, improving to 10-1 on the season after striking out four and yielding just one run in 6.2 innings.

In Game 2, pitcher Greg Herbst (Sr., San Antonio) struck out seven in 7.2 innings, while closer Sammy Rivas (Sr., San Antonio) held OPSU scoreless for the second time in as many relief appearances on the day.

Rivas has still yet to give up a run this season, with nine saves and a 0.00 ERA in 29.0 innings over 21 appearances.

The Rattlers struck for a 2-0 lead in the fourth when two runners crossed on catcher Ryan Morrow’s (Sr., Bulverde, Texas) fielder’s choice. Garcia’s sacrifice fly in the eighth extended the lead to 3-0, giving Herbst and Rivas all the cushion they needed defensively.

Center fielder Billy Richard (So., Schertz, Texas) went 3 for 4 with a run scored in the game, accounting for all but two of the Rattlers’ five hits.

They will wrap up the series at 12 p.m. Sunday.

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