DENTON, Texas – A perfect Rattler from the plate and a surge in the final inning gave St. Mary’s a glimmer of victory, but it fell just shy to Truman State, losing 4-3 on the opening day of the 2012 Best Western Premier Spring Fling.
Through the loss, however, a personal triumph rose.
Right fielder Shelly Lee Zawadzki (Jr., San Antonio) hit what most batters hope for each game out of the park Friday, batting 1.000 for the day. Zawadzki stepped into the box four times against the Bulldogs (3-3), hearing the crack with each at-bat to rack up four singles and one RBI.
After her leadoff single to start the game in the first, Zawadzki connected on her next at-bat in the third for an RBI for the Rattlers’ first run of the day. St. Mary’s (8-6) had a total of seven hits, including Zawadzki’s, with two also coming from Katie Nichols (Jr., San Marcos, Texas) and one from Nicole Sardelich (Fr., Angleton, Texas). But they wouldn’t see another run until the top of the seventh, when they gave the Bulldogs the scare of a comeback.
The Rattlers went into their last at bat down 4-1. Zawadzki, Nichols and Sardelich all connected at the plate, and Sardelich had an RBI that brought St. Mary’s one step closer at 4-2. A series of passed balls had runners advance; the third passed ball allowed Nichols to cross the rubber, and a walk of Jared Gonzalez had the bases loaded with two outs and the Rattlers down one. But the Bulldogs caught St. Mary’s attempt to win with a fly ball to end the game, 4-3.
On the Rattlers’ mound, Emily Brittain (So., Corpus Christi, Texas) and Crystal Keller (Jr., LaCoste, Texas) split the game with three innings each. Brittain’s third loss of the season saw two strikeouts, zero earned runs and zero walks, while Keller’s time on the hill included three strikeouts.
St. Mary’s will have at it again Saturday against Emporia State University in Denton, Texas at 9 a.m.