SAINT LEO, Fla. – Pitching against nationally ranked University of Tampa on Saturday, St. Mary’s ace Emily Brittain reminded everyone why she is the reigning Heartland Conference Pitcher of the Year.

The sophomore’s 10-strkeout, complete-game shutout of No. 19 Tampa fueled a 1-0 victory for St. Mary’s, as the Rattlers improved to 3-0 in the Saint Leo Softball Invitational.

Later in the day, the Rattlers fell to Saint Leo 8-6 in a back-and-forth game that saw the host school break open a 5-5 game with a three-run sixth inning.

With Brittain (So., Corpus Christi, Texas) lighting it up in the circle against Tampa, Jared Gonzalez’s (Jr., San Antonio) first-inning sacrifice fly that drove in Shelly Lee Zawadzki (Jr., San Antonio) proved to be the difference for the Rattlers (6-5).

Brittain faced just 28 batters in the affair, breezing through a talented lineup that managed to muster just three hits on the day.

The Rattlers were going up against a similarly talented pitching staff, which struck out nine and surrendered just five hits in the game. Zawadzki led the Rattlers by going 2 for 4 at the plate.

Defensively, St. Mary’s backed up Brittain by playing an error-free game.

It wasn’t as smooth for the Rattlers against Saint Leo, as the Rattlers committed a pair of errors that contributed to the defeat. St. Mary’s opened up a 3-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI single from Zawadzki and a two-RBI double from freshman third baseman Nicole Sardelich (Angleton, Texas).

But Saint Leo answered back with five runs off standout sophomore pitcher Maricela Bissaro (So., San Antonio), four of which were earned, to take a 5-3 lead.

St. Mary’s tied it back up at 5-5 in the sixth on a two-RBI single up the middle from freshman Taylor Vidrine of San Antonio, only to see Saint Leo respond with three runs in the bottom of the frame.

Vianna Gutierrez (Fr., San Antonio) was hung with the loss after pitching two innings in relief of Bissaro. Catcher Ashley Behabetz (So., Littleton, Colo.) stood out at the plate with a 3-for-3 effort, while Zawadzki and centerfielder Katie Nichols (Jr., San Marcos, Texas) had two hits apiece.

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