San Antonio – Katie Nichols nearly pulled the St. Mary’s softball team from its recent lull.

The sophomore outfielder smashed a clutch two-run home run Friday night, cutting a three-run deficit to one in the fifth inning.

But Incarnate Word answered back, tacking on a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the frame to pull away with the 5-2 victory at Cardinal Field.

In the end, the Cardinals never looked back after pulling ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the first on Monica Acuna’s three-run home run with two outs.

Nichols (a San Marcos native), designated player Jared Gonzales (So., San Antonio) and second baseman/outfielder Shelly Lee (So., San Antonio) all recorded multi-hit outings for St. Mary’s.

Starting pitcher Emily Brittain (Fr., Corpus Christi, Texas) struck out five in five innings.

The loss dropped the Lady Rattlers to 9-9 on the year. They will host Abilene Christian in a doubleheader Saturday, with the first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. at St. Mary’s Softball Fields.

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