San Antonio – A danger zone has been created in the Rattler lineup.
Newman University (0-3, 0-3 in conference) felt the heat of the heart of St. Mary’s (3-0, 3-0 in conference) lineup Sunday, as Rattler Tyler Migl punched his first home run of the season, a three-run blast in the seventh that broken open a tied game to close out the series in a clean sweep with a 4-1 victory.
Moving up a spot in the lineup from last season, Migl (Sr., San Antonio) holds the cards as the third batter for the Rattlers as newcomer Michael “M.P.” Cokinos (Jr., Houston) fills in as the cleanup man in the fourth hole – the spot where Migl earned his Heartland Conference Player of the Year stripes last season.
Cokinos cleaned up well in the first game of the series, hitting two homers in his first two at-bats and totaling four hits in eight at-bats for the three-game series played at Wolff Stadium. The team’s leading hitter last season, Migl as a guaranteed at-bat in the first inning is enough to rattle the mound. But now with the addition of the power-hitting Cokinos, pitchers have no room to breathe and are put on to throw at either one great hitter or the other; and the Jets chose Migl on Sunday.
“I try not to think so much about where I’m at in the lineup,” says Migl, whose unselfishness about where he hits in the lineup is paying off after recording five hits in 11 at-bats for the series. “I just like to come up in situations where’s there’s runners on base. Definitely with the addition of Cokinos, he helps me out a lot because he’s such a tough hitter that they’re forced to throw more strikes at me.”
The Rattlers gained a one-run lead in the first with a line drive from Cokinos that sent Billy Richard (RS-Jr., Schertz, Texas) home after a walk that kept the Jets in the deficit until the seventh inning.
The stretch saw bases from a single to right from Angel Cedillo (RS-Sr., San Antonio, Texas) and Richard reach base off a Jet field error as Migl stepped up to the plate.
“Hit it hard, it’s always that,” says Migl of his mentality looking for the right pitch.
And that’s exactly what he did with two men on in the bottom of the seventh, finding the sweet spot and pelting his first homer of his last season as a Rattler, bringing home Cedillo and Richard for three RBIs that became the turning point and game-winner to shut out the series, 4-1.
On the Rattler mound, Skye Severns (RS-Sr., Claremont, Calif.) had a quality start in his first appearance of the season, pitching six innings with five strikeouts and one earned run out of 24 batters faced. Kyle Bumpas (So., El Paso, Texas) picked up the win for the Rattlers, pitching 1.2 innings with one strikeout. Closing out for the Ratters Sunday was Jonathan Perez (RS-Jr., San Antonio), picking up the save with two strikeouts in 1.1 innings pitched. It was his second save of the season.
Breaking in the pitching staff and reaping the benefits of a smash line-up, the Rattlers also got a taste of bad weather – which, as Migl sees it, is all the better to face early in the season.
“It was good for us to play in some (unfavorable) weather already and play some close games because it kind of gets the juices flowing,” he said. “Since you’ve been in that tight situation, it makes it easier the next time around.”
St. Mary’s gets its next run at the gun Tuesday in its first non-conference game of the season against Angelo State University at Nelson Wolff Stadium at 4 p.m.