After the Rams’ doubleheader with New Mexico was canceled and BYU spilt its series with UNLV, the CSU softball team moved into second place for the first time in Mountain West Conference history.
San Diego State remains in first with a perfect 9-0 record, but CSU is inching closer with a 6-4 record. The Rams will face third-place BYU (6-5 in conference) on Friday and fourth-place Utah (5-5) on Saturday.
“Having our game be canceled just made us more excited,” junior first baseman Ricki Walker said. “We are pumped to play.”
Before taking on their conference opponents, though, the Rams will visit Utah State today. The Aggies have a 6-28 overall record and lead the series 24-9 all-time versus CSU.
Utah State’s Quella Henderson poses an offensive threat for the Rams with a .280 batting average and five doubles.
The Aggies’ young pitching staff has struggled throughout the year with freshmen starters Carli Baumgartner only winning two out of 16 games and Leslie Higley only winning four of 18.
The last time the teams met was in 2000, and the Aggies won 4-0.
CSU will then face BYU (28-12 overall) on Friday. In their last meeting, the two teams split the doubleheader. Junior Cougar outfielder Oli Keohokou hit one homerun against the Rams, but now has a total of 18. That number is second in the nation and her .461 batting average and 41 RBIs are 10th in the country.
“I think we are going to do very good against BYU. We swept them last year in Provo, so we have that going for us,” Walker said. “We are working on being more aggressive at the plate and not letting so many pitches go by to help our offense.”
Leadoff hitter Steph Roberts will lead the counter attack against the Cougars with her .350 batting average and 11 doubles. CSU is 17-2 when Roberts scores at least one run. Walker also provides power in the lineup with a .342 batting average, three homers, and 23 RBIs.
A doubleheader with Utah (16-21) will complete the road trip for the Rams on Saturday. CSU swept the Utes when they played them earlier in April, but since those games, Utah has hit a hot streak.
Ivette Hernandez is batting .500 in her last six games and has a .347 average on the year. Pitcher Heather Bowlin received the MWC Pitcher of the Week award when she posted a 0.00 ERA in 12.1 innings last weekend. Overall, Bowlin has a 3.20 ERA, a 4-18 record, with nine complete games and 45 strikeouts.
Junior Megan Masser will take charge on the hill for CSU with a 1.35 ERA, 13-4 record, 11 complete games, and 104 strikeouts. As a team the Rams are hitting .272, while the pitching staff is holding opponents to .216.
After the Utah tour, CSU will return to Colorado to make up the postponed New Mexico game on Wednesday.