WICHITA, Kan. – The buzz around the Rattlers continued to sound two states away as they added a pair of wins Saturday over Newman University to not only remain the top seed in the Heartland Conference but also stay a continuous threat at the plate and on the mound.
Game One saw a three-run first inning from the Rattlers (24-5, 18-2) that would turn into a 5-0 closeout followed by a 5-3 victory off eight hits in Game Two.
On the hill for the Rattlers in Game One was ace Carl O’Neal (San Antonio), who went the distance in his fifth complete game for his fourth shutout. The junior had 10 strikeouts in the seven-inning game, improving his win-loss record to 8-0 and ERA to 0.53.
But it was Rattlers in the batter’s box who first started a St. Mary’s flare.
Leadoff man Billy Richard (Jr., Schertz, Texas) started the ballgame with a solo homerun for his fourth of the year. A walk of Tyler Migl (Sr., San Antonio), who would total four walks for the doubleheader, and a single from M.P. Cokinos (Jr., Houston) set up both to score off hits from Brandon Bates (Jr., Boerne, Texas) and Esteban Raygoza (Sr., San Antonio) to end a thee-run opening inning.
The Rattlers’ final two runs each came from sacrifice flies in the fourth and sixth from Cokinos and Bates, respectively.
The smash 13-hit Game One had Richard with three hits and one walk in his four at-bats. Left fielder Derek Moczygemba (Jr., Bulverde, Texas) also smacked three hits while Raygoza had two.
Game Two continued to expel heat from the mound with Rene Solis pinching eight innings for his seventh win of the season with six strikeouts, primping closer Jonathan Perez (RS-Jr., San Antonio) for his 11th save of the season with two strikeouts in his three batters faced.
The bats powered out another homer in Game Two, this time from third basemen Ivan Sigala (Jr., El Paso, Texas) for his second of the season. Cokinos picked up two RBIs to bring his total to 36 in his first season as a Rattler. Moczygemba also had two RBIs off two hits, leading the team with five hits for the day, while Richard and Josh McElroy (Sr., Helotes, Texas) both picked up an RBI apiece, ending the day 5-3.
The two wins over the Jets (17-10, 12-8) not only marked another talented show from the Rattlers, but started the second half of the season as St. Mary’s faced Newman University in its opening weekend in early February.
The Rattlers will play the Jets for the last time during the regular season Sunday in Wichita, Kan. at 12 p.m.