Apr 112002

A month of games on the road is enough to make any team homesick; the CSU women’s softball team is no different.

After a month and a half of traveling to different sites throughout the nation, the Rams will hold their home opener today against UNLV (21-21 overall, 1-5 conference) at 1:30 p.m. at Rams Field.

So far this season, the Rams have battled the inconsistent play that comes with youth and inexperience; however, head coach Mary Yori said the group is starting to pull it all together.

“We’ve had different heroes step up at different times this season,” she said. “Our underclassmen are starting to step up and take their games to another level.”

One of the underclassmen making an impact this season is freshman pitcher Melanie Mahoney.

After being placed in the starting rotation at the beginning of the season, Mahoney has taken her game to new levels, Yori said.

After going 2-0 in two games against BYU /_” including a complete game, one-hit shutout last weekend – Mahoney earned her second MWC pitcher of the week award this season.

Furthermore, with a 10-6 record and a 1.74 ERA, Mahoney ranks first and second in the conference in those respective categories.

The Rams will count on Mahoney, as well as fellow starters sophomore Megan Masser and freshman Maren Christensen, to lead them against another hard-hitting MWC in UNLV.

“Everyone in our conference hits,” Yori said. “For us to stay in the game we have to hit and get early success from our pitchers.”

Supplying the offense for the Rams this season are senior first baseman Amanda Kocis and sophomore third baseman Ricki Walker.

Both Kocis and Walker have teamed-up to supply some pop to an otherwise small-ball team.

While Kocis leads the team with a .320 batting average, it is Walker /_” with a team-leading four home runs and 20 RBIs /_” who wields a hot bat.

“We just need to come out aggressive and put our game on the field,” Kocis said. “We can really beat anybody – and not just by one run.”

Sunday the Rams take on the Aztecs of San Diego State University (28-19-1, 5-1) and their four-game winning streak at noon at Rams Field for the team’s second double-header this weekend.

Apart from preparing for the games this weekend, Yori was busy getting potential all-conference players to sign on the dotted line.

“We are very excited about this recruiting class,” Yori said. “The two pitchers will both see a lot of playing time as freshmen and the other three will add a lot of speed and depth to our outfield.” n

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