Snow delayed the CSU softball team’s opportunity to build on its 13-game winning streak when its three-game home opener against Oregon scheduled for Sunday and today was canceled.
Even though the Rams have not played since spring break, when they won all 11 games they played in two tournaments in Florida, the players’ spirits are still high.
“We feel very good about where we are right now,” head coach Mary Yori said. “We have a lot of confidence as a team.”
The pounding started in Orlando, Fla., on March 9 at the University of Central Florida Spring Fling Tournament. Freshman JayCee Wood and junior Megan Masser pitched in the first victory when the team won 2-0 against Binghamton.
The Rams were ready to complete a doubleheader sweep when they went up 2-1 in their next game. But it was canceled in the third inning because of rain.
A miracle happened when CSU returned to the diamond the next day. Sophomore Melanie Mahoney pitched the first perfect game in CSU’s history and beat Binghamton again, 1-0.
“Nobody realized there had not been a hit until the fifth inning and then nobody wanted to say anything to jinx it,” Yori said. “Melanie pitched great, but since she only struck out one batter, the team made 20 plays behind her. It was a good team effort and a perfect team game.”
The team displayed more impressive pitching later that day when freshman Genevieve Kelly threw a complete game three-hitter in a 3-0 victory over Yale.
Another record was set on March 11 when the team beat Syracuse 2-1 and gave head coach Mary Yori her 500th career victory.
“It is a nice milestone, but it takes a back seat to the team’s streak right now. We have already won 19 games and that is as many as we won all of last year,” Yori said.
Freshman Carly Allen hit a sacrifice fly to score sophomore Brittany
Burtner in extra innings for the win. Masser got the win, only giving up four hits and striking out eight.
Masser then pitched her way to the second Ram victory of the day, when CSU beat Evansville 5-1. Junior Ricki Walker provided the majority of the offense going 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs, three RBIs and a stolen base.
CSU then traveled to Kissimmee, Fla., for the Rebel Spring Games. The Rams got another shutout when Mahoney shutdown Tennessee-Martin 2-0. She was also responsible for all of CSU’s offense when she smacked a two-run homer.
George Mason was the next victim. It took a late rally in the seventh inning to earn the come from behind victory, but the Rams did it. Melanie Laffoon doubled in Burtner and Mahoney to give the team a 2-1 win.
Masser then had another career day when the team faced Youngstown and won 1-0. Masser picked up a career-high 11 strikeouts and only gave up three hits in her complete game performance. Walker hit another clutch single to score sophomore Steph Roberts in the first inning for the first and only run.
CSU’s next challenger was Austin Peay, which fell 6-3. Roberts stepped up again, collecting three hits, three stolen bases and scoring three runs.
CSU swept the last day of the tournament when it smashed Farileigh Dickinson 10-0. Wood pitched for the victory, giving up one walk and one hit and striking out six. Senior Jen Mahoney whacked two hits and drove in three runs.
The Rams were then matched against Yale and beat them again 2-1. Allen hit two doubles and got two RBIs. The win gave the team its 13th straight victory and ended the Florida trip.
“Our team has played outstanding softball,” Yori said. “We have received great defense and pitching as well as timely hitting.”
CSU’s record now stands at 19-6 and is the best start in the school’s history. The 13-game streak is the best since 1997 when the team won 18 in a row and finished one out away from the College World Series.
CSU will now begin conference play with a doubleheader against UNLV in snow-less Las Vegas on March 28.
Break out box:
CSU softball’s spring break success
(the 13-game winning streak began with two wins over Northern Colorado in a doubleheader March 6)
Binghamton University W 2-0
Yale University (UCF Spring Fling Tour.) W 3-0
Binghamton University (UCF Spring Fling Tour.) W 1-0
Syracuse University (UCF Spring Fling Tour.) W 2-1
University of Evansville (UCF Spring Fling Tour.) W 5-1
University of Tennessee-Martin (Rebel Spring Games) W 2-0
George Mason University (Rebel Spring Games) W 2-1
Youngstown State University (Rebel Spring Games) W 1-0
Austin Peay University (Rebel Spring Games) W 6-3
Fairleigh Dickinson University (Rebel Spring Games) W 10-0
Yale University (Rebel Spring Games) W 2-1