By Dean Boerner | Sports Editor

Hailey Sparacino homered in the Gaels’ second game of a doubleheader on Saturday against LMU. (Courtesy of smcgaels.com)

Hailey Sparacino homered in the Gaels’ second game of a doubleheader on Saturday against LMU. (Courtesy of smcgaels.com)

In a three-game series with Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, Saint Mary’s fell behind in each contest, eventually getting swept by an LMU team that had lost seven out of their previous nine games before this past weekend’s action. The Gaels now prepare for a season-closing matchup with first-place BYU, a club unbeaten in conference play.
Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga got the series started with game one of a doubleheader early on Saturday, with LMU outpacing the Gaels 2-0.

Knotted at 0-0 with the Gaels for almost six innings, LMU finally took the lead with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning when junior Sabrina Tebou doubled to left-center to drive home two runs.

The Gaels loaded the bases with two outs in the final frame, but LMU’s Andy Wellins got the strikeout the Lions desperately needed to take the first game of the series.
In game two of the Saturday doubleheader, Saint Mary’s rallied to once again load the bases in the final inning with a chance to take the lead. However, once again, the Gaels failed to get the two-out hit they needed and fell 5-4.

The Gaels started the second contest strongly. Junior Hailey Sparacino hit her second homerun of the year in the first inning put Saint Mary’s up early 1-0.
After holding the Lions scoreless through the first three innings, senior Katie Moss ran into trouble in the fourth. Amanda Dirks homered to tie the game, and later in the inning pinch-runner Caitlin Harman stole home to give LMU a lead they would increase in the sixth inning.

With a run already across in the inning, LMU’s Irma Sanchez drove in two runs with a double to give the Lions a commanding 5-1 lead.

The Gaels didn’t go down without a fight in the seventh inning. Nikki Alexander, Cara DiMercurio, and Halle Sullivan all drove in runs in a three-run seventh inning. But with the bases loaded, Rachael Farrington got the groundball she and the Lions needed to escape with the victory.

In the series finale, Saint Mary’s again tried to come back from a deficit, but the Lions triumphed 3-1 to complete their first conference sweep of the season.

A three-run fourth proved to be all LMU would need. Brooke Christensen put the Lions on the board with an RBI-single to right. Later in the inning, Tebou, whose double put LMU ahead in the series-opening game, pulled a homer to left to make it a 3-0 LMU advantage.
Saint Mary’s added a run in the fifth when Alexander singled in a run, but that would be all they would get against a stingy Lions pitching staff that allowed just five runs in the three-game series.

With the season winding to a close, Saint Mary’s will take on Stanford and Pacific in a four-game week.

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