San Antonio – It was a show on the mound for both the Rattlers and the University of Texas-Permian Basin on Saturday with the Rattlers rising higher to clinch the victory to end the three-game series.
Starting pitcher Syke Severns (Sr., Claremont, Cali.) led the Rattlers (31-7, 23-4) to the 4-1 victory Saturday pitching 7.2 innings, contrasting the Falcons’ rotation of six pitchers throughout the game.
Severns’ work on the mound that included eight strikeouts was fuel for the Rattlers’ pace to get back on track after a heartbreaking, unexpected loss in Game One on Friday and a wild, walk-off win in Game Two following a series of Falcon errors.
“We had a rough day yesterday,” says the Rattlers’ No. 3 pitcher, who picked up his fifth win to improve to 5-0 on the season. “But obliviously it showed this year that we really bounce back from a game; we don’t lose multiple games in row. I was really confident in our team that we were going to come out and do really well today, and me personally I felt really well. I didn’t think about yesterday because it was over and in baseball you try to have a short memory.”
As the third-leading strikeout buff in the Heartland Conference and boasting an improved ERA of 3.09, Severns pitched a shutout the first four innings of the game. He allowed only one run in the fifth that gave the Rattler bats juice to score.
Leading at the plate was freshman Mario Maldonado (Laredo, Texas), who has consistently been putting up big numbers for the Rattlers and brought in three out of the four RBIs Saturday. The newcomer totaled six hits for the series and continues to hold as St. Mary’s fresh second baseman.
Ivan Sigala (Jr., El Paso, Texas) picked up the final RBI to help total out the Rattlers’ eight hits for the day. Sigala, Maldonado and Billy Richard (Jr., San Antonio) all had two hits each and Derek Moczygemba (Jr., Bulverde, Texas) smacked his fifth double of the season.
But the game of baseball is a game that has to have a happy marriage between the pitches and connecting bats at the plate. The Rattler pitching staff didn’t showcase as many as the Falcon rotation of six, but it did see some of its best, along with Severns, to help clinch the win.
Relief pitcher Matt McClain (Fr., San Antonio) came in to the eighth with two men on with two outs and a 2-0 count. His time on the hill was short as he threw three straight strikes to end the inning to keep the mound hot for closer Jonathan Perez (RS-Jr., San Antonio).
Perez ended the game his routine way with a save, bringing up his saves for the season to 14. Perez is now tied at No. 1 with former Rattler closer and his buddy Sammy Rivas in the record books for most saves in a single season, and is just one shy from being tied with Rivas in career saves with 17, again at the No. 1 spot.
As far as stats are concerned, Perez and the rest of Rattlers have a handful of games left to continue to polish their numbers. That time also indicates, however, that St. Mary’s has to remain strong in conference as the season nears a close. The Rattlers still hold the No. 1 rank in conference but are up only two up on the No. 2 seed, St. Edward’s, after Friday’s loss. With the stakes high and every remaining game crucial, Severns and the Rattlers have been molded to be ready for the intensity.
“Coach (Charlie) Migl is great at preparing us for big series,” Severns says. “We just build from our experiences and learn from our losses and our wins, and we’ll be a good team and hopefully get it rolling going into the postseason. That’s what we’re planning on doing.”
The Rattlers will play one non-conference game before another three-game series against conference foe Oklahoma Panhandle State, all on the road.
Their trip starts Wednesday against Angelo State University, which defeated the Rattlers in their first matchup, in San Angelo, Texas at 6 p.m.