The CSU softball team will try to extend its 13-game winning streak on Friday when it goes to the plate for a doubleheader against UNLV in the first conference battle of the season.
CSU’s record currently stands at 19-6 and although UNLV is 13-21, 12 of the Rebels’ 34 games have been won or lost by only one run.
“UNLV is a good team. They have had a tough schedule,” head coach Mary Yori said. “They have had a lot of close games. I expect strong pitching and good defense.”
A major cause of the Ram winning streak that started on March 6 against Northern Colorado has been the team’s outstanding pitching performances. Junior Megan Masser has become the Ram ace and was recently named Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week when she shutdown everyone she faced in Florida.
Masser went 6-0 in seven appearances, and in 28.2 innings she racked up 29 strikeouts and two complete games. She only gave up two earned runs and 19 hits, giving her a 0.49 ERA over the seven-game stretch.
Masser’s strong presence on the mound, along with Melanie Mahoney’s perfect game and the team’s remarkable .975 fielding percentage, have proven to Yori where the team excels.
“We are just going to go in there and use our strengths of pitching and defense,” Yori said. “I think we could see some good pitching duels.”
After the match up with the Rebels, the Rams will head to California for another doubleheader against San Diego State. The Aztecs have a record of 21-13 and could be tough opponent for CSU.
San Diego State’s most talented hurler, Bre DeSanta, has a 10-4 record with eight complete games and could prove to be good competition against Masser, whose record now stands at 10-2.
The sunny destinations will be a whole new world for CSU, who has had nine games – including the first three scheduled at home – cancelled this season because of bad weather. This will be the first conference action for all three teams.
The Rams will look to get their offense from leadoff hitter Steph Roberts and first baseman Ricki Walker, who provided many of the team’s runs in the two tournaments in Florida.
The two doubleheaders will start a 12-game conference run where CSU will also play New Mexico, Utah and BYU. If the weather permits, the new home opener for the Rams will be a doubleheader against Utah on April 11.