The CSU softball team returned home Sunday from the Holiday Inn Select-Tulsa Festival, bringing with it four more wins to take the season to 10-5.
Friday offered up two wins against both Indiana and Tulsa. The first matchup against the Indiana Hoosiers began with the Rams taking the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore outfielder Brittany Huerta hit her first home run of the season, bringing in freshman third baseman Lauren Cusick to take the lead.
Indiana took over by the sixth inning with a run in the fourth and two more during the top of the sixth. The Rams then made a comeback when junior outfielder Melanie Laffoon hit the game's second home run, bringing in freshman first baseman Julia Kloppe for the 4-3 win.
The game was pitched in its entirety by sophomore Jessica Strickland, who improved to 4-2 for the season.
The Rams then faced the Tulsa Golden Hurricane later that afternoon. Falling behind when Tulsa took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, the Rams came back in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out double by junior outfielder Jennifer Gardner that scored Cusick to tie things up.
The fifth inning allowed the Rams to take control of the game. Senior shortstop Brittany Burtner and Strickland both scored on a hit to center field by Huerta, while both Kloppe and Huerta were brought in by Cusick on a hit to left center.
The Rams wrapped up the win nicely with a bow in the final inning where Huerta nailed a double to score senior catcher Kerry Farrell. The final score was 4-3.
Strickland recorded her first save of the season and the eighth of her career. This places her only two saves short of Megan Masser's career record of 10.
Saturday did not present as much congeniality for the Rams. The day started against Drake. The scoreboard stood empty for the first four innings until the Bulldogs pulled ahead with one run in the fifth. This provoked a response by the Rams, with Laffoon singling to bring Gardner in for a score.
The game remained a tie, pushing into extra innings, where Drake gained two runs and held CSU back to maintain the win. Falling to 5-2 on the season, Strickland gave up three runs on 10 hits.
The game against Akron late Saturday also posed dismal circumstances for the Rams. The Akron Zips took the lead in the fourth inning with four runs scored by two-run home runs. The sixth inning allowed the Zips to fit in yet another two-run home run, bringing the score to 6-3.
The Rams closed up play in Tulsa with a 7-0 forfeit win against Western Illinois. The game was called on account of weather in the top of the fourth with no outs and a runner on base. Gardner received the lone hit of the day and was on first base at the time it was called. This short game showed junior Genevieve Kelly nine batters, four of whom she struck out. She didn't give up any runs or hits.
"We just didn't hit the ball as well as we are capable of and we're still working on that and we know that we'll get better," said head coach Mary Yori Monday morning.
Leading the weekend offensively was Huerta with 7-for-11 with two doubles and six RBIs for the tourney. CSU will be back on the road March 11-13 at the National Invitational Tournament in San Jose.