SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- If the Saint Mary's softball team was looking to leave the Bronco Classic with some momentum, it got that boost from several different places on Sunday.
The Gaels rallied for a comeback 4-3 win over Cal State Northridge in 10 innings to begin the day, then led from start to finish in a 4-0 victory over Santa Clara that ended an inning early due to darkness.
It all added up to the most successful day of the season to date for an ever growing group of Gaels (3-8).
Saint Mary's needed a bit of late-inning magic even to force extras against the Matadors.
It came in the Gaels' final at-bat of regulation play. Katelyn Mamizuka led off with an infield single, then advanced to second on a bunt by Alexis Konstantinopoulos. A groundout moved Mamizuka to third, and an error on a ball hit by Erica Musgrave pushed Mamizuka across to force extra innings.
With international tiebreaker rules in effect, each team pushed a run across in the eighth. Neither scored in the ninth, and Cal State Northridge scored again in the top of the 10th to go ahead 3-2.
The Gaels roared back in the bottom of the inning, and again the rally came with two outs. A triple by Sarah Lira plated Brittany Sabatini, tying the score. Elizabeth Slaughter entered to run for Lira, and an intentional walk to Megan Smith left freshman Monika Reichhardt up with a chance to win the game.
The native of Frisco, Texas was there to deliver. A single to left field brought Slaughter home, giving the Gaels their second win of the season.
All the late-inning heroism made a winner out of a very deserving pitcher in Lujane Mussadi. The freshman from Los Gatos, Calif. worked all 10 innings, scattering eight hits and allowing just one earned run.
Any thoughts of a letdown after such an intense win were quashed quickly, as the Gaels scored two in the top of the first to take the early lead against the host Broncos (1-9).
Saint Mary's would add single runs in the second and third to widen the lead. Reichhardt, Andrea Hazel and Mamizuka drove in runs to put the Gaels on top.
The offense would prove more than enough for Mussadi, who finished off a brilliant day in the circle with her second shutout of the season.
The reigning Pacific Coast Softball Conference Pitcher of the Week allowed just three hits and induced 13 ground ball outs to earn her third win of the year.
Smith finished off a great day at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a run against the Broncos. She went 3 for 4 with a RBI and a walk in the win over Northridge, leading the Gaels offensively.
Saint Mary's returns to the field on Saturday at noon when it hosts a doubleheader against UC Davis.