STANFORD, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's softball team shed the label of a young team long ago, as new players did their growing with plenty of early season playing time.
Now, that maturation is starting to turn to big time results.
The Gaels earned their finest win of the season to date, going to Stanford on Wednesday and using a red-hot offense to defeat the No. 15-ranked Cardinal 5-2.
The win is Saint Mary's (17-26) fifth in a row after a weekend sweep of Santa Clara.
"Some of these young kids, they've already gone through games like this," Saint Mary's coach Jessica Hanaseth-Rodgers said. "When they've been unsuccessful earlier in the year, they know they can come out and beat teams like these. ... To see them come out here and beat them on their home field is great."
Saint Mary's got the scoring started with one big swing by Brittany Sabatini in the top of the third.
After a few solid foul balls, Sabatini turned a 2-2 pitch around, clearing the 200-foot sign down the left field line for a solo home run.
Stanford (28-13) wouldn't wait long to even the score.
The Cardinal responded in the bottom of the inning. Leah White walked with one out, and after a flyout, stole second. Cassandra Roulund would bring her around to score with a sharp single to center, and the game remained tied at 1 after three innings.
Stanford pulled ahead in the bottom of the fourth, when pinch-runner Tylyn Wells scored on an infield single by Sarah Hassman.
Saint Mary's took the lead back in the fifth, with a big fly and some situational hitting giving the Gaels the advantage.
Andrea Hazel tied things, crushing an 0-1 pitch from Stevens well over center field fence to even the score at 2.
After a single by Loralie Fitzpatrick chased Stevens and reliever Nyree White hit Erica Musgrave with a pitch, Stanford turned to its ace, Teagan Gerhart.
She would limit the damage, but the Gaels would take the 3-2 lead when a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Shannon Low scored pinch-runner Monika Reichhardt.
Saint Mary's wasn't nearly done scoring. Two more runs would cross the plate in the sixth, with Hazel driving in a run on a sacrifice fly and Fitzpatrick punching an RBI single to right.
Mussadi closed things out from there, earning the win in relief of starter Jessica Lemmon. The freshman from Los Gatos induced a pop out to close things out and Saint Mary's walked away with the win.
"For this group, it's huge," Hanaseth-Rodgers said. "Certainly we've had some momentus wins, going to (NCAA) regionals and winning conference but it's great for the seniors to have a win like this and it's great for the freshmen to know that you can travel and beat teams like this."