By splitting a doubleheader with San Diego State and sweeping UNLV in its final home games of the year, the CSU softball team (33-14, 12-8 MWC) secured a second-place finish after the regular season in the Mountain West Conference.
“We are really excited because we got second place and next year we will get to host the Mountain West Conference finals next year,” sophomore pitcher Melanie Mahoney said.
The Rams faced league-leader San Diego State on Friday in two of their closest games of the year.
Sophomore Steph Roberts started off the game with a single up the middle. A sacrifice bunt by sophomore Kerry Ferrell and a past ball advanced Roberts to third base. Junior Ricki Walker then hit a sacrifice fly to score Roberts for the only run of the game.
The Rams went on to win 1-0.
Junior Megan Masser pitched a complete game, only allowing three hits and striking out two for her second shutout in a row. CSU gave Aztec freshman Celena Velasquez her first conference loss of the year and dropped her overall record to 13-5.
In the second game, catcher Kerry Farrell went 2-for-3 and got the only Ram RBI in the third inning when she scored freshman Katie Dean.
A rally in the seventh inning came up short after a controversial call at the plate, when sophomore Brittany Burtner tried to score the tying run on a triple by freshman Melanie Laffoon.
San Diego State ace Bre DeSanta threw a complete game and her offense provided two runs to advance her record to 16-4 in the 2-1 Aztec victory. Freshman Genevieve Kelly took the loss for CSU, dropping her record to 9-4.
San Diego State finished its season 35-16 with a 11-2 MWC record for first place in conference.
The Ram bats came alive in the team’s final regular season games Sunday as they beat UNLV 7-1 and 4-2.
In the first game, Walker hit two home runs for three RBIs and Melanie Laffoon hit her first career home run – a two-run shot in the fifth – to secure a CSU victory. Dean added another RBI when she hit a single to score Burtner.
Masser pitched another complete-game victory, only giving up one run on four hits and fanning nine. Her streak of 31 2/3 scoreless innings was stopped in the seventh inning, but her record moved up to 17-5.
In the second game, Walker’s and Roberts’ homers, as well as a RBI single from senior Jen Mahoney, gave the Rams four runs to beat UNLV’s two. Roberts, Walker and Burtner all went 2-for-3 at the plate.
Sophomore Melanie Mahoney (4-4) got the win, pitching 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and striking out four. Masser got her seventh save of the season and ends the season with a 1.53 ERA.
Her seven saves are a career best, a new CSU single-season record and a MWC record.
“We feel so good,” Melanie Mahoney said. “It is so much fun to win and to come out and totally dominate a team like that.”
CSU now looks forward to the Mountain West Conference Championships in San Diego, Calif., May 8-10. As the No. 2 seed, the Rams will face the winner of the BYU-UNLV game in the second round.