WICHITA, Kan. – It was one, two, three and four.
That was Rattler Jared Gonzalez’s home-run tally for the doubleheader against Newman University on Friday that glided the Rattlers to a run-rule victory in Game One and nearly a run-rule victory again in Game Two.
The Lady Rattlers (27-16, 9-2) took home an early one in Game One, picking up a stat-heavy victory after an explosive nine-run inning to run-rule the Jets in five innings, 14-1 (3-27, 1-10).
Game Two was almost a repeat affair as St. Mary’s was one run short of another run-rule, defeating Newman, 8-1. The pounding bats were the Rattlers’ streak for back-to-back wins, but they also threw strong with Emily Brittain (So., San Antonio) banking her 13th win of the season with six strikeouts in Game One and Vianna Gutierrez (Fr., San Antonio) picking up her seventh win with seven strikeouts in Game Two.
Taking off from the ground running, Gonzalez (Jr., San Antonio) stepped up in her first at-bat with the bases loaded to smack a homer for two RBIs for the four-run first inning, a sight the Jets would get used to seeing from Gonzalez. But the first inning was all just a preview of what was to come in the third.
At the start of nine-run third inning, Gonzalez again stepped up to bases loaded for the second-time running, only this time took a free base on balls but earned an RBI nonetheless. The bags remained full for Sarah Perez (Jr., San Marcos, Texas), who cleared them with a double down the left field line for three RBIs. Perez then scored off a single from Katie Nichols (Jr., San Marcos, Texas), who would turn around and cross home herself off a double from freshman Nicole Sardelich (Angleton, Texas). But the runs, and the freshmen, kept charging with a single from freshman Taylor Vidrine (Fr., San Antonio) to bring in the final two runs to end the big eight-hit, nine-run inning.
Scoring 13 runs on a Friday the 13th didn’t quite settle well for the Rattlers however, allowing one more Rattler to shine in one more going-yard plate appearance. In St. Mary’s last at-bat in the fifth, freshman Laura Benavidez’s (Robstown, Texas) first at-bat of the day turned triumphant as she smacked a solo home run for the first homer of her Rattler career to end the game, 14-1.
Game Two picked up right where Game One left off with the Rattlers connecting for 10 hits while ace Gutierrez on the mound held the Jets to three hits and one run. Gutierrez was the first to start it off for the Rattlers at the plate with a single to left field to bring in the first St. Mary’s run of the day. A freshman duo of sacrifice flies in the third from Vidrine and Gutierrez brought the Rattlers to a 3-0 lead.
The fourth was only a one-run inning but done in the biggest way with a leadoff solo homerun from Gonzalez, who apparently liked the feeling as she smacked another leadoff solo homer in the sixth for her third home run of the day. RBIs from Benavidez and Sardelich ended the inning and as the Jets’ might have hoped, ended Gonzalez’s home run fever.
But she proved to still be cooking as Gonzalez went yard once more in the seventh for her third homer of Game Two, fourth on the day and sixth on the season.
The Rattlers’ tallies for the doubleheader were big to match their bats with Gonzalez leading with four hits, all home runs, and six RBIs. Vidrine and Sardelich were next with four hits for three RBIs and three hits for three RBIs, respectively. Perez finished the day with a total of three RBIs.
The Rattlers will finish the series against Newman University Saturday in Wichita, Kan., at 11 a.m.