SMC Athletic Communications
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — On an overcast Friday afternoon, Saint Mary’s split their two games on the opening day of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. After falling 5-1 to Illinois in the earlier contest, the Gaels responded with a 2-1 win over Utah Valley to end the day on a high note.
Illinois 5, Saint Mary’s 1
In the first match of the tournament, the Gaels held Illinois at striking distance for the majority of the game before the Fighting Illini pulled away with a three-run fifth inning. The score would stand for the remainder of the game as Saint Mary’s couldn’t surmount the deficit in the final two frames.
The Gaels crossed their only run across the plate in the top of the fifth inning on a Giana Bilotta RBI groundout. Hailey Sparacino and Jaymee Campbell each cracked doubles for the Gaels’ offense as the team recorded four total hits in the game. Freshman Izzy Ortiz entered the game in relief for starter Eryn McCoy and threw 1.1 scoreless innings to finish the contest. The Illini’s offense recorded 12 hits in the game and were led by Kiana Sherlund who went 3-for-4.
Saint Mary’s 2, Utah Valley 1
In the Gaels’ second game of the day, a late rally would make all the difference as Saint Mary’s pushed across two sixth-inning runs to steal a win from Utah Valley.
Saint Mary’s didn’t record a hit until Nikki Alexander singled in the fifth inning but the team would eventually break through in the next inning with productive outs and clutch hits. After Dylan Linton doubled to open the inning and Nadia Young followed suit with a walk, Cara DiMercurio laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both baserunners into scoring position. Sparacino immediately knocked a single through the right side and Campbell reached on an RBI fielder’s choice to give Saint Mary’s a 2-1 lead that would hold until the final out.
Katie Moss made her fourth start of the season and once again asserted why she is one of the best pitchers in the West Coast Conference. Moss threw a complete game while scattering five hits, one walk, and striking out five. In the final inning, Moss danced around three base hits and induced a fly ball to center field with the bases loaded and two outs to end the Wolverines threat and seal the victory.
Weather permitting, Saint Mary’s will play two more games tomorrow against Liberty and Kent State. Fans can watch the games live by following the link on the Gaels’ softball schedule. Results and recaps can be found following the day’s action on SMCGaels.com.
SUPPORT THE GAELS
A gift to the Gael Athletic Fund directly benefits Saint Mary's student-athletes, allowing them the opportunity to attain an education guided by our Catholic, Lasallian and Liberal Arts traditions. Click the link for more information.
FOLLOW THE GAELS
@SMCGaels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) SMC_Gaels (Snapchat)