Feb 192003
Authors: Joshua Pilkington

Having suffered some close losses and pulled out some close wins, the 2-5 Rams of CSU’s women’s softball head to Las Cruces, N.M., to play in the Troy Cox Classic Friday through Sunday.

Though the record may suggest otherwise, head coach Mary Yori said she was pleased with her team’s play last weekend at the Mustang Invitational in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

“We played pretty well at (the Mustang Invitational),” Yori said. “We had above average pitching, average fielding and good hitting. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good weekend.”

The Rams’ first opponent Friday is the University of Missouri, a team Yori said her Rams are ready to face.

“We’re really ready to play again and that’s good,” she said. “We played well at times last weekend and are ready to build on that.”

Helping the Rams in that process is junior pitcher Megan Masser, who Yori dubbed the staff ace at the outset of the season.

“I love it,” Masser said of her role as staff ace. “I want to be the person to go to when the game is on the line. I live off pressure situations like that.”

Masser didn’t disappoint in California as she went 1-1 in three starts and gave up only two earned runs in 22.1 innings pitched – good for a 0.94 ERA. She looks to build on that performance this weekend.

“We need to get ahead of batters to take pressure off our defense,” Masser said. “Our strategy is always to go out and dominate.”

Also expected to throw from the circle for the Rams are two freshmen, JayCee Wood and Genevieve Kelly, and sophomore Melanie Mahoney. Yori said all are coming into their own as pitchers.

“Both Genevieve and JayCee pitched about a game last weekend and looked good,” Yori said. “We’ll look to them to pitch some more this weekend.”

Offensively, the Rams will continue to ride the bat and speed of leadoff hitter Steph Roberts, who currently leads the team in hits (eight), stolen bases (three) and total bases (10).

“As the leadoff hitter my main role is to get on base and score runs,” Roberts said. “No matter how I do it, I just need to get on base and get into scoring position.”

Though parts of the offense have been strong for the Rams, Yori said they have a lot to improve upon if they hope to make this weekend a successful one.

“Right now I’d say we’re hitting at about 50 percent of our potential,” Yori said. “We’re going to be a better hitting team as we go. We hit in the .230s last weekend and I think we could be a .250 or .260-hitting team.”

Roberts agreed saying that the strategy for the team this weekend is taking advantage of what it is given.

“We were lacking timely hits last weekend,” Roberts said. “We have that in the back of our minds going into the game and we know that if we get timely hits we are gonna be a more successful team.”

Following Friday’s double-header versus Missouri, the Rams will take on New Mexico State University Saturday in a double-header and Mississippi State University in a single game Sunday to complete the five-game tournament. n

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