Apr 252002

Adverse weather cannot save CSU softball this weekend, so the team knows it is time to come out and play.

“It is time for us to step up our play and take it to them,” said senior first baseman Amanda Kocis. “We have eight games left to show what we can do.”

Having lost four of their last five games – all at home – the Rams travel to San Diego and Las Vegas this weekend to play Mountain West Conference leader San Diego State University (9-3 conference, 34-20-1 overall) today and the UNLV Rebels (3-7, 23-31) Sunday.

According to head coach Mary Yori, the Rams have a big challenge to face in today’s doubleheader against the Aztecs of SDSU.

“We’ve faced them before so we know what they have to offer,” Yori said.

What the Aztecs have to offer is a speed-oriented offense and a pitching staff that has shut down conference opponents this season.

Led by senior Tiffany Goudy’s .357 average and 61 hits, the Aztecs have put together a conference-best .321 batting average in league play, while their pitchers have held opponents down with a conference-best 1.62 ERA.

The key for the Rams, Yori said, will be to put together a strong offensive effort against SDSU freshman pitcher Bre DeSanta, who recorded a win and a save in the Aztecs’ sweep of CSU at Rams Field two weeks ago.

“They’re a good team,” said senior center fielder Kai Stone. “But if we come out and play our game, we can beat them.”

The Rams also have their share of producers with Kocis and sophomore third baseman Ricki Walker leading the offense, and starting pitchers sophomore Megan Masser and freshmen Melanie Mahoney and Maren Christiansen combining to hold opponents to a conference-low .233 batting average.

Following their visit to San Diego, the Rams travel to Las Vegas to take on UNLV.

Though UNLV’s record of 3-7 is the worst in the conference, Yori said her team would not take the Rebels lightly.

“We came out flat against them the first time we played,” said Yori of the Rams’ 2-0 loss to UNLV two weeks ago. “We cannot afford to do that again.”

Once again the Rams face a tough opponent whose offense relies on speed and clutch hits.

Leading the way for the Rebels is designated hitter and pitcher Geney Orris, who last weekend was named MWC Player of the Week after collecting four hits, two home runs and six RBIs against Utah.

With her team currently fourth in the conference, Yori said a strong showing this weekend could propel the Rams higher in the standings.

However, Yori quickly added that the Rams are not looking too far ahead.

“We need to take this one game at a time,” she said. “If we can play consistently, everything else will take care of itself.” n

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