KINGSVILLE — It’s what every college athlete living away from home dreams of — playing one more game in their hometown.

For A.J. Perez, suiting up for St. Mary’s University and playing the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Javelinas in Kingsville Tuesday night was as close as close as he’s going to get.

And the former Alice Coyote, who had his own cheering section at Nolan Ryan Field, didn’t fail to deliver. Perez laid down a bunt which brought in a run for the Rattlers in the fifth inning of the 4-3 victory. He ended the game with a sacrifice and an RBI. Perez, St. Mary’s starting center fielder, also had three put-outs in the ball game.

The win over TAMUK was a much-needed one for the Rattlers, who are trying to climb the NCAA Regional poll in hopes of landing an at-large postseason bid. St. Mary’s entered the game ranked No. 8 on the poll, while TAMUK was No. 6.

The Rattlers play their final series of the regular season against Texas A&M International in a three-game series starting with a doubleheader at 4 p.m. Friday in Laredo.

Perez, who has batted above .300 for the season, maintained his average. He is currently batting .327.

After playing two seasons at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, N.M., this is Perez's first season at San Antonio playing for St. Mary's University.