MORAGA, Calif. -- After dropping a lengthy 11-inning affair to Sacramento State on Saturday, the Saint Mary's softball team stayed focused and picked up its first win of the season by beating the Hornets 2-0 in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader at Cottrell Field.
With the split, Saint Mary's now sits at 1-6 overall on the season. Sacramento State is 4-4.
"It's always important to get your first win, especially after such a long, hard-fought game that we probably should have won in game one," Saint Mary's coach Jessica Hanaseth-Rodgers said. "On one hand, it's disappointing coming out with a split but on the other hand, getting our first win, Lujane (Mussadi) just threw lights out and to step up in that role after losing a tough game, that was great. It was a big win."
Things looked promising early for Saint Mary's, as a 2-run home run by Sarah Lira to dead center field in the third inning put the Gaels up 2-0.
Sacramento State rallied in the sixth, putting up three runs on the strength of four hits. Alexa Chattleton had the biggest blow of the inning, a RBI double down the left field line.
The Gaels responded with thunder in the bottom of the inning.
It came off the bat of freshman catcher Andrea Hazel, when she turned a pitch from Caitlin Brooks around and sent it far over the left field fence and into the woods for a solo, game-tying home run.
The two teams battled for the next few innings, but it wasn't until the 11th that Sacramento State managed to forge ahead.
Paige Martin, Alexis Martinez, Kortney Solis and Lauren Blair all collected hits, and an error by the Gaels also helped the Hornets to plate three in the frame.
Lira and Hazel drove in the Gaels runs, and Brittany Sabatini went 2 for 5 to lead Saint Mary's offensively.
There wouldn't be much of a chance for Sacramento State to earn a sweep, thanks to the outstanding pitching of Mussadi.
Only a freshman making her first home appearance, the native of Los Gatos, Calif. pitched to contact and let her defense do the work for her.
She recorded 17 of her 21 outs via the ground ball, keeping the Hornets off balance throughout the game. Mussadi allowed just three hits, earning her first collegiate win.
Saint Mary's took the lead in the third, pushing across a single run on a fielder's choice. Erica Musgrave grounded to second, and when the second baseman decided to come home for the force, Alexis Konstantinopoulos beat the throw to score the run.
Lira added a little insurance in the sixth, launching her second home run of the day. This one landed beyond the left field fence, giving Saint Mary's the 2-0 lead it would eventually win with.
Saint Mary's returns to action on Feb. 23 when it opens play at the Bronco Classic. The Gaels start with a 9:30 a.m. game at San Jose State, then move to Santa Clara for a 1:30 p.m. game against Fresno State. Action continues Sunday with games against Cal State Northridge and Santa Clara.
The Gaels return to Cottrell Field on March 2 to host a doubleheader against UC Davis. First pitch is scheduled for noon.