Apr 182002

Several Colorado sports teams have caught the losing bug this spring, and the CSU softball team is not immune.

Having lost three of four in their first home stand of the season last weekend, the Rams (13-16 overall, 4-6 conference) look to end that trend Saturday at Rams Field against the University of New Mexico (13-22-1, 5-5).

“They’re a good team,” said senior first baseman Amanda Kocis, who leads the team with a .333 batting average. “They’ve improved throughout the year, and we need to play well against them.”

After San Diego State University swept the Rams on Sunday by a combined score of 7-2, CSU head coach Mary Yori used practices this week to help them regain focus.

“We’ve had to regroup in practice and refocus on what we need to do against New Mexico,” said Yori, whose team split its conference opener March 30 against the Lobos in Albuquerque.

With her team hitting a conference-best .268 in Mountain West play, while holding opponents to a conference-low 111 runs, Yori said it is not hitting or pitching that has caused the Rams’ problems.

“The one run on 12 hits we got in that last game (a 4-1 loss to San Diego State) really sums up our games this season,” she said. “We’ve hit everybody and we’re capable of hitting with the conference; we just don’t put together that team offense.”

To help the Rams incorporate team offense into their game plan, Yori has kept practices intense in an attempt to imitate a game-time atmosphere.

According to freshman pitcher Melanie Mahoney, the plan has worked.

“We’ve had solid, intense practices,” she said. “We’re going to come out ready to play, and we expect to sweep New Mexico.”

With New Mexico currently leading the Rams by one game in the MWC standings, a sweep of the Lobos would certainly help their cause. But to do so, the Rams need to find a way to shut down the bat of New Mexico’s Kelly Glass, whose .357 batting average and 40 hits lead the team.

However, with pitchers Mahoney, sophomore Megan Masser and freshman Maren Christensen holding opponents to a conference-low .244 batting average, shutting down Glass and the Lobos should not be an issue.

“We just need to hit our spots and keep the ball on the corners,” Mahoney said.

If the pitchers get the job done, Kocis said the offense should take care of the rest.

“We realize there are 10 games left to play, and we need to step up our play a notch,” Kocis said. “We need to come out and win these two games.” n

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