San Antonio – It had been a while since St. Mary’s senior left fielder Lauren Miller last rounded third base.

That came last May, when during the Heartland Conference Championship game against St. Edward’s Miller headed toward home plate after smacking a towering home run.

“I slammed down on home plate,” said the Baytown, Texas native, “and tore all of the ligaments in my ankle.”

Following a strenuous offseason full of rehab, Miller was relieved to get another chance to cross home Saturday.

The Lady Rattlers opened up their season with a 12-3 run-rule victory over Cameron University in the 7th Annual St. Mary’s College Softball Classic, a game in which Miller scored a first-inning run at the San Antonio ISD Spring Sports Complex.

In their second game of the day, St. Mary’s rallied from a 2-0 deficit to run-rule Eastern New Mexico University 10-2 in six innings.

“It felt good to get back out there and play,” said Miller, who didn’t begin practicing until January. “It feels good to play my senior year – and to have my ankle put back together.”

Miller went 1 for 3 in her return to the diamond against Cameron, getting in on the fun as the Rattlers’ offense exploded to start the season in a game that was called in the fifth inning.

Senior second baseman Chelsea Wenske (Victoria, Texas) drove in three runs, and Jared Gonzalez and Heather Haas each had two RBIs apiece as the Rattlers recorded 11 hits in just 23 at-bats.

Gonzalez, making her Rattler debut after transferring from Alvin Junior College, went 2 for 3 and scored two runs.

Freshman pitcher Emily Brittain (Corpus Christi, Texas) drove in a run and also picked up the victory in her first collegiate game.

Katie Nichols (So., San Marcos) went 2 for 4 and scored a pair of runs.

“Emily pitched great,” Miller said. “Freshman pitcher and she went out with a lot of poise. Our defense was behind her.

“But I think what’s most exciting was our offensive hitting that we strung together.”

Against Eastern New Mexico, it took a little longer for the Rattlers’ bats to get going, but they still got going nonetheless.

Down 2-0 in the third, St. Mary’s tacked on a run in the bottom of the frame and exploded with six more in the fifth. Gonzalez helped break the game open with a three-run hit in the inning.

Pinch-hitter Stacey Moss drove in two runs in the game, while Nichols went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Richelle Morales (Jr., San Antonio) had a solo blast in the third.

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