SARATOGA, Calif. - The Saint Mary's softball team propelled themselves into first place in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Coastal Division with two more wins on Sunday against Santa Clara. After splitting games yesterday, the Gaels earned two important wins today to claim the series against the Broncos.
Saint Mary's (22-21, 11-4 PCSC) earned a tremendous 13-6 come-from-behind win in game one, and then shut out Santa Clara (9-40, 3-13 PCSC), 3-0, in game two.
Nicole Arce led the Gaels at the plate on Sunday with a 5-for-7 day, while Megan Smith and Brittany Sabatini each went 3-for-6 on the day.
In game one, Santa Clara jumped out to a huge early lead in the top of first. The Broncos pounded out five hits off SMC starter Britany Linton and scored six runs with just two of them earned after three Gael errors.
Saint Mary's put one up on the board in the bottom of the first to make it a five-run game. B. Sabatini singled to center field to open the game and was moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Amelia McIntosh. Michelle Mounts then scored B. Sabatini from third with a single down the right field line.
Mounts continued to help the Gaels post a comeback when she hit a two-run home run over the left field fence in the bottom of the third to cut the Bronco lead to 6-3. The home run was Mounts' fifth of the season and 13th of her career.
Saint Mary's continued the comeback with huge fourth and fifth innings. Christine Torrise led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo blast, her third home run of the season. The Gaels then loaded the bases before Rebecca Sabatini and Megan Smith both drove in two runs each to put Saint Mary's up 8-6.
SMC then put five more on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning, highlighted by another two-RBI single by Smith.
After a rough first inning, Linton and Saint Mary's defense settled down and allowed just two hits in the final six innings. Linton held the Broncos hitless in the second through fifth innings before giving up hits in the sixth and seventh innings. Linton's (9-7) line for the day in seven innings was seven hits, six runs with just two earned, while walking none and striking out six.
Arce was 3-for-4 with a run scored in game one, while Smith went 2-for-4 and led the Gaels with four RBI. Mounts went 2-for-3 with three RBI and three runs scored, and R. Sabatini finished the game 1-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Game two started in a way the Gaels have seen multiple time this season, with a lead off solo home run by B. Sabatini. The home run was her ninth of the season which puts her in a tie for second all-time in a single season at Saint Mary's.
SMC added another run in the bottom of the second on a RBI single to center field by Mandy Camuso to score Kayla Gonzales from third.
Arce helped extend the Saint Mary's lead in the in the bottom of the fifth. After Mounts walked and Smith and Gonzales singled, Arce hit a two-out infield RBI single to put the Gaels up by the final margin, 3-0.
Saint Mary's starting pitcher Jessica Lemmon threw another gem in the complete game shutout on Sunday. In 7.0 innings pitched, Lemmon scattered four hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
B. Sabatini went 2-for-2 in game two, while Arce and Camuso each went 2-for-3 with a RBI.
The Gaels' hopes for a chance to play in the PCSC Championship will come down to the final regular season weekend, as San Diego, SMC and LMU are bunched together at the top of the Coastal Division heading into the final weekend. The Gaels will host Loyola Marymount for doubleheaders on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29, while the Toreros host Sacramento State in the final series.