MORAGA, Calif. -- Despite outhitting visiting Florida Gulf Coast in both games Wednesday, the Saint Mary's softball team dropped a pair of close contests thanks to a few big swings of the bat by the Eagles.
Saint Mary's (4-11) fell in the first game 5-3, with two home runs by Florida Gulf Coast (14-5) providing the offense. The Gaels led most of the second game, but a grand slam ultimately gave the Eagles a 4-3 win.
"Three swings of the bat by the other team, literally," Saint Mary's coach Jessica Hanaseth-Rodgers said. "We kept the ball in the park and they had three big hits. We missed on three pitches and that was the difference."
Florida Gulf Coast struck first in the opener, with the thunder coming from the bat of Chelsea Zgrabik. After a single and a walk put runners on base, Zgrabik cashed in with a towering home run to left-center field.
The Gaels countered in the bottom of the fourth, cutting the deficit to 3-2. Christine Torrise drove in a run on a fielder's choice, and Monika Reichhardt singled through the right side to plate another.
In the top of the fifth, Florida Gulf Coast cemented its lead. This time, it was Emily Lanier who left the yard, as she drove a two-out home run over the right field fence to make it 5-2.
Saint Mary's threatened again in the seventh, with Sarah Lira singling in a run to make it 5-3. Eagles starter Shelby Morgan worked out of the jam though, finishing a complete-game victory.
Saint Mary's hit the scoreboard first in the second game of the day, but another big fly by the Eagles dealt the Gaels a tough loss.
All of Saint Mary's offense came in the third inning. A triple by Brittany Sabatini scored Elizabeth Slaughter, putting the Gaels up 1-0. Erica Musgrave singled Sabatini in, and Megan Smith doubled in Musgrave to make it 3-0.
Florida Gulf Coast did its damage in the fifth. A walk, single and hit by pitch loaded the bases, with No. 2 hitter Kelsey Carpenter coming to the plate against Lira.
Carpenter followed her teammates' lead from the first game, belting a long home run deep over the left-center field fence. That made it 4-3 Florida Gulf Coast, and gave the Eagles all the runs they would need.
Just like the first game, Saint Mary's threatened in the seventh inning. The Gaels loaded the bases with two outs, forcing the Eagles to go to their bullpen. Reliever Amanda Josie got the out she needed to preserve the win, getting a strikeout to end the ballgame.
Saint Mary's returns to action Friday when it takes part in the Fresno State Classic in Fresno, Calif. The Gaels take on Oregon State at 3:45 p.m. to begin tournament play. They'll play two games apiece on Saturday and Sunday before heading back to Moraga.