Mar 172005
Authors: Anne Farrell

After a week of rest the Rams softball team will pack up and head out to the diamonds in sunny California for the National Invitational Softball Tournament in San Jose.

This will be the first time that CSU has competed in this tournament since 1999, and the team holds an all-time record of 28-26 in this tournament.

"We're really looking forward to playing again," said head coach Mary Yori. "Spring Break week is always fun, because there isn't the worry of tests and classes."

The weekend is set to begin with games against Northern Iowa and Sacramento State on Friday. The weekend will continue with bracket play. On Monday, CSU faces Rhode Island then concludes regular tournament play on March 19 against San Jose State. The championship will then be held on March 20.

There is the possibility that during bracket play the Rams may find themselves face-to-face with No. 2 California. The game would be the eighth meeting between the two teams. This will be the Rams' first time meeting against many of the other teams in the tournament, including California-Davis, Connecticut, Princeton and Rhode Island.

"I'm looking forward to playing some top teams. I think we can give them a run for their money," said senior catcher Kerry Farrell. "(This tournament) will help us reach our team potential."

CSU holds the advantage over Sacramento State with a history of 9-8 including a win earlier in the season San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Several records might be broken this weekend. Senior second baseman Stephanie Roberts is 10 walks short of Holly Schmillen's (1998-2001) career walk record of 77. Roberts is also ranked third on CSU all-time chart for runs with 130 career runs.

Sophomore pitcher Jessica Strickland is riding a streak of 36 at-bats without a strikeout and is in the running to break Sarah Fredstrom's (1997) single-season record of 19. Strickland is also on the road to taking over Megan Masser's (2001-2004) career save record of 10, with one save recorded so far this season.

The San Jose tournament will allow the Rams 12 games, with the possibility of meeting up against tough competition with several ranked teams.

"It's going to be a challenge and we're all excited to meet the challenge," said junior outfielder Jennifer Gardner. "(We're) playing the best competition we could possibly play."

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