San Antonio – Phew.
Keeping track of Rattler runs became a task Thursday as St. Mary’s nearly banked 20 runs in each game of the doubleheader against Fisher College, winning 19-3 and 18-1, respectively. The 37-run, 28-hit day was in stark contrast to the Rattlers’ previous play, scoring only five runs in their last three games combined.
But that’s all behind them now.
Breaking in at the University of Texas-San Antonio’s Roadrunner Field wasn’t the only premier for St. Mary’s (21-5, 16-2 in conference), as several Rattlers raked in firsts in both season and career stats.
Senior Esteban Raygoza (San Antonio) had a three-hit, five-RBI show against the Falcons (0-11), pelting his first homer of the season – a two-shot bomb in Game One.
“It feels pretty good to know I’ve come along since last year,” says Raygoza, whose RBIs totaled to 14 on the season after Thursday, “It’s just a good feeling.”
Raygoza wasn’t the only Rattler who smacked his first season homer as Brandon Bates (Jr., Boerne, Texas) and Josh McElroy (Sr., Helotes, Texas) matched bats with homers as well in Game Two. McElroy also smacked his first triple of the season in Game Two and Bates totaled three hits and four RBIs for the day.
On the mound for the Rattlers in Game One, ace Carl O’Neal (Jr., San Antonio) had eight strikeouts in five innings for his seventh win of the season, setting the stage for for Ben Itz (RS-Sr., Fredericksburg, Texas), who made his first-ever career appearance on the diamond. The first batter of his career went down swinging to give Itz his first strikeout as a Rattler, and he went on to face four more batters with one hit allowed to close out the first game of the series, 19-3.
Game Two didn’t change the pace for the pitching mound as Rene Solis (So., San Antonio) picked up his sixth win with seven strikeouts. Rick Villa (RS-So., San Antonio), making his fourth appearance on the year and second for the day, struck out the last two Falcons to end the game 18-1.
Leading the Rattlers with six RBIs Thursday was Tyler Migl (Sr., San Antonio), smashing a grand slam in Game Two for his third homer of the season and 20th RBI.
“I’ve been working hard these past few weeks,” says Migl, who had been struggling, “and everyone on the team has been pulling for me to come around and to be able to get hits. Today hopefully will give me a lot of confidence to get a lot more hits throughout the rest of the season.”
Migl also pelted two doubles in Game Two to lead the team with nine for the season. And the buck didn’t stop there for the Rattlers.
Batting a thousand with six hits in six at-bats was St. Mary’s new power swinger M.P. Cokinos (Jr., Houston). Cokinos’ slew of hits included a pair of doubles and four RBIs. The newcomer currently leads the Rattlers in RBIs with 30 and in homers with five.
After losing to the biggest deficit and surrendering their most runs allowed all season Tuesday against the University of Texas-Kingsville in a wrenching 10-1 defeat, a 37-run day might be exactly what the baseball doctors ordered to get the Rattlers back on track.
“It definitely boosts our confidence level,” says Raygoza, who has eight doubles for the season, “especially our bats. We’ve been struggling there for a little bit and just to have a couple of games like this hopefully will set us in the right direction.”
Setting off the right direction is a must for the Rattlers as they look to a seven-game stretch on the road that includes two three-game series with Heartland Conference competitors after finishing up the series against Fisher College on Friday.
“Our coaches have been a little upset with our offense in the last couple of weeks,” Migl said. “So to come out and score 19 and 18 in back-to-back games hopefully will heat the bats up and get everyone confident for the second half.”
If the Rattler coaching staff saw what the rest of the Roadrunner Field stands witnessed Thursday, St. Mary’s is looking pretty. The Rattlers finish the three-game series against Fisher College at 11 a.m. Friday at the UTSA Roadrunner Field.