By Kimberly Paschal | Sports Editor

Nikki Alexander keeps her eye on the ball as she takes a swing. (Courtesy of smcgaels.com)

The Saint Mary’s women’s softball team traveled to Stanford on Wednesday before hosting Loyola Marymount in a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday. The Gaels fell 11-3 in six innings against the Cardinals and finished the LMU series 0-3 (4-0, 4-2, 3-1).

Despite their tough losses, the Gaels took away some exciting highlights: Senior Hailey Sparacine recorded three RBIs against Stanford, Hannah Chew knocked in her second homerun of the season, and the Gaels now have a team total of 14 home runs.

On Wednesday, the Gaels travelled to the South Bay to take on the Stanford Cardinal. The Gaels quickly got on the board with one run in the first inning with a sacrifice fly from Hailey Sparacino to bring in Kimiko Zapanta, but the Cardinal soon bounced back in the bottom of the second with four runs. Down 4-1 going into the third inning, the Gaels needed a surge to put them back in the game.

Thankfully, a single by Dylan Linton and a two-run homer by Hailey Sparacino put the Gaels back in the game. Despite the Gaels cutting the deficit to one, the Cardinals brought in three runs in the bottom of the third to take a 7-3 lead. After the third inning, the Cardinals would not let the Gaels score again.

Kaitlyn Whitt started on the mound for the Gaels and pitched 2.1 innings. Eileen Perez then took over and pitched 3.1 innings for the Gaels. Whitt gave up six runs off four hits while Perez gave up four runs off six hits.

With Perez on the mound in the bottom on the sixth, the Cardinal brought in six runs to end the game early. Despite the tough loss, Sparacino recorded her fifth home run of the season to beat her previous season high of three.

With the loss to Stanford behind them, the Gaels took on the Loyola Marymount Lions in a three-game series Saturday and Sunday. In the first game of their doubleheader, the Gaels struggled to get runners on base. Hailey Sparacino and Nikki Alexander were the only two Gaels to get on base, while LMU loaded the bases in the top of the seventh.

The Gaels trailed by one the majority of the game, but a hit down the left field line by Sabrina Lebou brought in three runs for the Lions to put them up 4-0 in the top of the seventh. The Gaels lost the first game of the doubleheader 4-0.

The second game in the doubleheader started off hopeful for the Gaels. A deep home run by Hannah Chew put Saint Mary’s up 1-0 in the bottom of the second, but the Lions answered back with a two-run homer to left field to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth. Two more runs came in for the Lions in the top of the fifth. A late homer by Julia McCormack cut the Lions lead to two, but unfortunately, it was too late. The Gaels lost 4-2.

The finale of three-game series was Sunday at noon. The Gaels and the Lions were tied throughout much of the game, until the Lions hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the fourth to put them up 3-0. The Gaels struggled to get on the board, but two singles by Kimiko Zapanta and Nikki Alexander brought in McCormack to put the Gaels on the board. With two outs, the Gaels hoped to rally back for the win, but Bailey Lotz grounded out to second, and the Gaels lost 3-1.

The Gaels now look to a non-conference matchup against the Sacramento State Hornets in a doubleheader on Wednesday. The Gaels return to conference play on April 27 at BYU.

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