With dropping temperatures and the occasional gust of cold wind, many spectators at Ram Field decided to give up after the first game of Saturday’s softball double header. Not the team.
The Rams split their double header Saturday, losing the first game 4-3 and winning the second game, 6-3. CSU then went on to win the three-game weekend series with an 11-3 victory on Sunday.
“We were a bit rusty in the first game,” Rams coach Mary Yori said. “But we came back to win the second game.”
Rams third baseman Lauren Cusick led off the first inning of game 1 with a home run to put CSU on top 1-0. Two outs later, catcher Ashley Munoz hit the second home run of the day.
In the top of the second, the Aggies’ Aubrie Stroman hit a home run to cut the lead in half, 2-1. The Rams were unable to answer in their second at bat, despite a double and a walk.
Kim Klabough and Utah State pitcher Lindsey Benson were able to keep either side from scoring until the bottom of the fourth inning. That was when a double, a single and a sacrifice fly combined to score freshman Kayla Kreutzman to increase CSU”s lead to 3-1.
The Aggies answered in the sixth inning when Amy Schaible scored to bring her team one run closer.
Going into the top of the seventh inning, the Rams had a 3-2 lead. Klabough was able to get one out before giving up a single to the Aggies’ Emily Riley. The Utah State rally started with two outs. Schaible tripled to score Riley, tying the score at three.
The next batter, Kayla Dunn, singled to bring home Schaible with the winning run.
Yori said that when a home run is hit in the first at bat, the team relaxes.
The Rams never came out of that relaxed state.
The Rams came back to the diamond after a 20-minute break with their bats swinging.
“It was a change in mentality,” Cusick said. “We came out to attack (in the second game).”
Attack they did. Cusick led off the second game by tripling, and the next batter, freshman Caitlan Stem, doubled to bring home Cusick, giving the Rams an early 1-0 lead. Allison Majam came to the plate and hit a sacrifice bunt to advance Stem, but the Rams were unable to bring her home.
Cayte Billman stole a base and scored in the second. On the mound, she had a clean third inning, getting the second out in dramatic fashion, when the ball was hit back to her.
In the Rams’ half of the third, Stem led off with a bunt single. Majam was able to advance her with a sacrifice bunt. Munoz then doubled to bring Stem home, making the score 3-0.
Utah State scored twice in the fifth, once again making the game a nail-biter, 3-2.
In the sixth, CSU broke the game open by scoring three runs, including a two-run home run hit by Cusick.
Billman allowed one run in the seventh, but then shut the door on the Aggies to bring home the win.
Sports writer Rachel Knox-Stutsman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.