SAN JOSE, Calif. - Freshman pitcher Sarah Lira started her first career game on Saturday against Santa Clara and delivered. Lira pitched a complete game five-hit shutout over the Broncos to lead the Gaels to a 2-0 win in SMC's second game of the SCU Bronco Classic. In game two of the day against UC Santa Barbara, Saint Mary's struggled to find a rhythm at the plate and the Gauchos used a big inning to earn a 7-1 win.
Freshman Sarah Lira (1-0) earned her first career start in game one and it couldn't have gone much better for the Gilroy, Calif. native. Lira got out of numerous jams with two runners on base and earned a shutout in only her second appearance of the season to help the Gaels top Santa Clara, 2-0.
Lira allowed just five hits all game, only two that got out of the infield, with one walk and one strikeout.
Offensively, Saint Mary's managed just six hits but got timely hitting in the top of the sixth inning to propel them to the win.
Michelle Mounts got the inning started with a double to centerfield and scored on the next at bat when Rebecca Sabatini hit a RBI single to centerfield. Two batters later, R. Sabatini scored from third on a ground out to second by Kayla Gonzales to put the Gaels up 2-0.
The Broncos threatened in the bottom of the sixth with runners on first and third, but Lira got Ashley Haney to pop up to first base to end the inning.
Nicole Arce went 2-for-3 against the Broncos with two doubles, while Mounts went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
The Broncos starting pitcher Carissa Theis also had a good day on the mound but was outdone by her freshman counterpart. Theis pitched a complete game, allowing six hits and two runs, with three walks and seven strikeouts.
In game two, UCSB starting pitcher Shelby Wisdom allowed just four hits through seven innings and struck out six batters to lead the Gauchos to a 7-1 win.
UCSB jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning but the Gaels countered in the third. Megan Smith singled up the middle to open the inning. Smith's pinch runner Elizabeth Slaughter advanced to second on a sac bunt by Amelia McIntosh and then moved to third when B. Sabatini was hit by a pitch. Slaughter scored during the next at bat when Mounts reached on an error by the Gaucho's second baseman to tie the game up 1-1.
UC Santa Barbara exploded in the bottom the third and jumped out to a big 7-1 lead with six runs in the inning. The Gauchos used four hits and three Saint Mary's errors to build the big lead and did not look back from there.
Saint Mary's starting pitcher Jessica Lemmon (2-6) was tagged with the loss and was pulled during the Gauchos big third inning. Lemmon finished the day with 2.1 innings pitched, giving up six hits, seven runs with just three earned, with three walks and two strikeouts.
Britany Linton replaced Lemmon in the bottom of the third and finished the game strong for the Gaels. Linton pitched 3.2 innings, giving up just one hit and no runs with five strikeouts.
Saint Mary's will return to San Jose tomorrow and conclude the SCU Bronco Classic with a 10 a.m. game against UC Santa Barbara.