Apr 132005
 
Authors: Paul Baker

After opening conference play with two weekend games played in the comfort of their own back yard, the Rams softball team will travel on arguably one of the toughest road trips of the year when they go to Utah this weekend to play Utah State, Brigham Young and Utah.

The Rams start their trip with one game against Utah State. The Aggies are led by their third baseman, Sara Fleming. The junior is leading the team in batting average with a .309 hitting percentage, home runs with five and doubles with 11. She also has 14 RBIs this season, which is one behind the team lead.

Last year the Rams outscored the Aggies 29-4 in the three games they played, but the Aggies lead the overall series 21-13.

"Utah State is a very similar team to us," head coach Mary Yori said. "They have played some of the same teams with similar results. With this game being on the road it will be more of a challenge."

After their game against Utah State, the Rams will play four games in the course of 24 hours. They will play a Friday night doubleheader against Brigham Young in Provo, Utah, and then they will travel to Salt Lake City to play the Utah in a doubleheader on Saturday.

The Cougars are led by senior catcher Lauren Watson, who is batting .412, with 24 RBIs and eight home runs.

"BYU has very good hitters, and always a challenging offense team to outscore," Yori said.

CSU holds the advantage all-time against the Cougars with a 12-9 record. Last year, the Rams won three out of the four games, but split with BYU in Provo.

"BYU is a good hitting team, and we will need to out-hit them to win," said junior outfielder Katie Dean.

CSU continues its road trip with Utah on Saturday. Although Utah is at the bottom of the conference this year, the Utes are always a formidable opponent.

"We got to come ready to play against the Utes," Yori said.

Utah is led by junior Ivette Hernandez, who already this season has racked up 17 RBIs and six home runs and is batting .263 this season. Last year the Rams swept all four games against the Utes, but in the conference tournament Utah pulled off the upset by defeating the No. 1-seeded Rams 2-1 in the first round. The Rams trail in the overall series 30-46, but they look to pick up a couple this weekend.

"If we don't play to our strengths, we won't win games," said sophomore Molly Gallu.

The Rams, at 25-13 overall and 4-2 in conference, sit at third place, behind UNLV at 6-2 and BYU at 5-1. Wins this weekend could help the Rams move up the conference ladder.

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