After starting the first month of its season on the road, the CSU softball team starts its home schedule this weekend against Utah State at Ram Field.
The Rams (11-2) face the Aggies (2-7) in a doubleheader Saturday with the first game starting at noon and the second at 2 p.m. CSU coach Mary Yori plans on starting junior Kim Klabough and senior Cayte Billman in the circle.
“Our players are obviously very excited to get to perform in front of our home crowd.” Yori said. “After traveling three straight weekends in February, it is a welcome relief to get to play on our home field.”
Billman said the only aspect of playing at home that is different from playing on the road is knowing more people are watching.
“There are always many challenges whether we are on the road or playing at home . but many more on the road.” Yori said. “I have no question or concerns that this team will rise to the occasion playing in their first home series.”
When it comes to home openers, CSU has traditionally met the challenge, going 5-2 under the guidance of Yori.
The Rams have played the Aggies twice before to open the home portion of the schedule, beating them both times. In 2004, the Rams won by a score of 10-2. Last season, CSU easily won, 10-1.
In the past seven years, the Rams have also beat Northern Colorado and conference foes San Diego State and Utah. Their two losses during Yori’s career as coach came at the hands of Nebraska in 2001 and UNLV in 2002.
Yori plans to start sophomore Ashley Munoz behind the plate, senior Julia Kloppe at first base, sophomore Robyn Mask at second, freshman Caitlan Stem at shortstop and senior Lauren Cusick at third. In the outfield, sophomores Allison Majam, Kayla Kreutzman and Sarah Sullivan, or freshman Ivory Allen, will get the start.
“It is nice to play at home because you are familiar with the field, and that is more of an advantage,” Billman said.
Following the double header Saturday, the Rams and Aggies will wrap up the weekend with a final game on Sunday. Next weekend, the team will continue road play in Sacramento, Calif., at the Capitol Classic, playing against Nevada, Oklahoma, Princeton, Sacramento State, Ohio State and Cal Poly.
Sports writer Rachel Knox-Stutsman can be reached at email@example.com.
Catch the game
What: CSU softball home opening weekend
Who: CSU (11-2) vs. Utah State (2-7)
Where: Ram Field
When: Game 1: Saturday, noon
Game 2: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Game 3: Sunday, noon
Average..Julia Kloppe- .419
Hits..Caitlan Stem- 18
RBI..Lauren Cusick- 11
Home runs.Lauren Cusick- 4
Wins.Cayte Billman- 6
ERA.Shannon Causgrove- 0.00
Strikeouts. Kim Klabough- 31