The CSU Rams women’s softball team traveled to Utah this weekend looking to make a statement – the trip was not made in vain.
The Rams swept Brigham Young University on Friday, winning game one 6-0 and game two 6-5. However, the trip ended on a sour note for the Rams as they lost two heartbreakers to the University of Utah: 3-2 in game one and 4-3 in game two.
On Friday, the Rams were in Provo, Utah to face the high-powered offense of conference foe BYU.
Because BYU is a hitting-oriented club, CSU head coach Mary Yori said her team “would have to outhit some people to stay in the game.”
The Rams did just that in game one, putting six runs on the board early and refusing to relinquish the lead.
The Rams also got another outstanding pitching performance from freshman Melanie Mahoney, who pitched her second complete-game shutout of the season while allowing only one hit to the hard-hitting Cougars.
Game two was an all-out marathon as both teams battled for 16 innings before CSU freshman Carrie Farrel drove in freshman Maren Christensen with the go-ahead run in the top of the 16th inning.
The Rams’ rally started in the top of the inning as Christensen knocked a single to left-center. Senior Jen Mahoney advanced Christiansen to second on a single of her own, before Farrel drove her in with a clutch base hit.
“We knew we had a really good opportunity this weekend,” said senior first baseman Amanda Kocis. “BYU was obviously tough, but we’ve been playing decent softball and we knew the opportunity to prove ourselves – not just to them but to the whole conference – was there.”
The emotion from the two-game sweep of the Cougars was short lived, however, as the team dropped two nail-biters to the defending Mountain West Conference champion Utes of Utah.
The Rams led throughout game one after getting two runs in the top of the fourth on sophomore Ricki Walker’s two-run homerun.
Leading 2-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, the Rams needed only three more outs to seal the victory; however, those outs never came as the Utes scored the tying and winning runs on four hits.
The story was much the same for the Rams in game two, as the team blew an early three-run lead.
Down 3-0 after four innings, the Utes began to chip away at the Rams’ lead against starter Melanie Mahoney.
The Utes managed to score a run in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the sixth to tie the game at three.
With the score tied at three heading into the bottom of the seventh, Utah batter Traci Keller punched a single off Mahoney to left-center.
With the go-ahead run on base, the normally hard-swinging Utes reverted to a game of small-ball in an attempt to drive in the winning run.
The strategy worked as Keller advanced to third on Molly McLean’s sacrifice bunt and scored on CSU freshman Maren Christensen’s wild pitch.
The losses dropped the Rams back to .500 in conference play with a record of 3-3, a record the team looks to improve upon this Friday in its home opener against UNLV. n