GREELEY – It was a long day for CSU softball Saturday, but it resulted in a sweep of host Northern Colorado at Butler-Hancock Softball Field on the UNC campus.
The Rams (19-11) won the first game against the Bears (7-30) 6-2, and sophomore pitcher Rebecca Penland earned her sixth victory of the season.
Battling was the key for the Rams in the second game. CSU coach Mary Yori said that even though the Rams “played a little shaky,” they battled back to win it.
The two-hour, 55-minute slugfest featured a combined 31 hits and 30 runs and was won by CSU, 18-12.
The Bears plated five runs in the first inning, knocking starter Kim Klabough out before the inning was over.
Down 6-0 after two, senior first baseman Julia Kloppe came to the plate with the bases loaded in the third and hit the ball over the centerfield fence to put the Rams back in the game.
“We started a little slow, but came back good,” said Kloppe, who finished the game with eight RBIs. “And (we) had a good finish.”
In the Rams next at bat, Kloppe followed her grand slam up with a three-run home run, giving CSU its first lead of the game, 7-6. They would score three more times before the end of the inning to stretch their lead to four.
The Bears came back to tie the game at 10 in the bottom of the fourth, but freshman Erranne Daugharthy, who came on in relief of Penland, would allow only two runs, while the CSU offense scored eight more times. Daughathy, who gave up two runs in three and two thirds innings, earned the first victory of her collegiate career.
“We fought hard,” Daughathy said.
Yori credited Daugharty with keeping the UNC offense at bay while the girls pulled farther ahead.
“Eranne turned in a solid performance for us today,” Yori said in a university press release. “UNC was seeing the ball well, and she did enough to keep their hitters off balance and allow our offense to build a lead.”
The last little gasp of the Bears’ offense came in the bottom of the seventh inning. With one out, UNC right fielder Jessie Schoepflin tripled and was brought home by Kelly Henderson.
The Bears then got their second run with two outs when an error, CSU’s second of the game, plated Hilary Van Otterloo from third.
The Rams will open conference play this week on the road with a pair of doubleheaders against Utah on Thursday and BYU on Friday.
The next home game is April 9 when the Rams will once again play Northern Colorado at Ram Field.
Sports writer Rachel Knox-Stutsman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.