PROVO, Utah -- The Saint Mary's softball team got off to a tough start in its final Pacific Coast Softball Conference series of the season, dropping a pair of games at BYU on Friday.
Saint Mary's is now 20-29 overall and 11-11 in PCSC play. BYU is 30-23 overall and 17-5 in conference play.
Saint Mary's jumped out to an early 5-1 lead and set a season high in hits but the Cougars exploded for 11 runs in the fourth inning to take control in a 14-6 win in six innings.
Early in the game, the Gaels let the bats fly. Doubles by Brittany Sabatini and Sarah Lira plated the first run, then a single by Elizabeth Slaughter brought Lira in to make it 2-0 after half an inning.
Saint Mary's added three more in the third. Lira led off with a double, and Slaughter followed with a two-run home run to left field. Andrea Hazel singled, and after a sacrifice bunt by Loralie Fitzpatrick, Erica Musgrave doubled to drive in the Gaels' fifth run.
BYU got a run back in the bottom of the third, but it was the next inning that made all the difference.
12 straight Cougars would reach safely in the fourth, with 10 singles, one double and a hit by pitch adding up to an 11-run rally. By the end of the inning, BYU led 12-5.
The Gaels pushed one more across, with Sabatini scoring on an error in the fifth. BYU would tack on two more in the sixth to take an eight-run lead and the win.
Sabatini led Saint Mary's with three hits and two runs scored. Slaughter and Lira each had two hits, with Slaughter driving in three runs. Musgrave and Mamizuka also collected two hits apiece.
As a team, the Gaels collected 13 hits, besting their previous season high of 12 set on April 14 against Santa Clara. Those hits didn't automatically translate into runs though, as Saint Mary's left 13 runners on base.
Saint Mary's again held a lead but the Cougars rallied late to win 4-3 on a walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh.
Trailing 1-0, the Gaels scored three in the top of the fourth inning to take the lead.
Two-out singles by Lira and Slaughter got the rally started, and Hazel cashed in with a double in the gap that plated Lira. An errant throw home allowed Slaughter to score, and the throw back to the plate went awry as well, and Hazel scored on the play.
BYU cut into the lead with an unearned run in the bottom of the inning, making it 3-2 Saint Mary's. One more in the bottom of the sixth tied the score.
The Cougars would score the game-winning run with one out in the bottom of the seventh. With runners on the corners, Alexandra Hudson Shamo went back up the middle, bouncing a grounder through the infield and scoring Carly Duckworth to give BYU the victory.
Saint Mary's collected six hits, with Sabatini singling in the first to extend her hitting streak to 12 games.
The Gaels wrap up the 2013 season on Saturday in Provo with a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m. (PDT). A live stream of the game is available on BYUTVSports.com.