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AUSTIN, Texas — The St. Mary’s softball team will be playing for the Heartland Conference postseason championship Saturday.
After dropping a contest to St. Edward’s, 5–1, on Friday, the Rattlers came back to beat Texas–Permian Basin 7–2 to win their way into the Heartland Conference Tournament championship game.
It’ll be another “Battle of the Saints” game—only this time, a championship edition—at high noon in Austin on Saturday.
For St. Mary’s to win, they’ll need to beat St. Edward’s in back–to–back games, while St. Edward’s needs only a victory at 12 p.m. to secure the postseason title.
St. Mary’s won the regular–season series in Austin last weekend, sweeping the series 3–0 by a combined margin of 27–6.
The Rattlers (34–18) trailed 1–0 in the sixth inning before St. Edward’s exploded to take a 5–0 lead. Alex Garcia (Jr., San Antonio) homered in the bottom of the inning for St. Mary’s only run.
Things were better in Game 2, with Katie Nichols (Jr., San Marcos, Texas) and Nicole Sardelich (Fr., Angelton, Texas) each homering in the victory. Sardelich led the team with two RBIs in the game on a 3–for–4 day at the plate that included three runs scored.
Freshman Vianna Gutierrez (San Antonio) picked up the win, striking out two in 6 1/3 innings of work.
St. Mary’s is eyeing its 11th trip to the regional tournament in 12 wins. The Heartland Tournament champion gets an automatic bid to regionals, while the loser tomorrow will be left hoping for an at–large bid.
St. Mary’s University, as a Catholic Marianist University, fosters the formation of people in faith and educates leaders for the common good through community service, integrated liberal arts and professional education, and academic excellence. The University has six athletic national titles: men’s basketball (1989–NAIA), baseball (2001–NCAA Div. II), softball (1986–NAIA and 2002–NCAA Div. II) and an individual national champion in men’s golf (2006–NCAA Div. II) and a national academic championship in men’s golf (2009–NCAA Div. II). St. Mary’s also had more than 40 percent of its athletes named to conference, regional and/or national honor rolls this past year. St. Mary’s student–athletes graduation rate is 65 percent, higher than the NCAA Division II average of 55 percent. To learn more about St. Mary's, visit www.stmarytx.edu/athletics.