The CSU softball team returned from California for the third straight week yesterday with a 12-8 record. The Rams faced their second week of five games in three days and their first try at a nationally ranked team in the San Diego Classic I.
Day one of the Classic did not go the Rams way. The team lost both of its games on Friday, making three-in-a-row for the loss column. The Rams, who have beaten the Toreros three times this season, were beat by the host team, San Diego, 3-1.
“It’s hard to beat a team four times,” said head coach Mary Yori. “They’re a quality team. Our pitchers got in trouble early in the game and we didn’t recover.”
The second game of the day, described by head coach Mary Yori as “the first real test” of the season, ended with comparable results. The Rams lost to No. 3 UCLA 4-0. The Bruins used their top-ten pitching to hold the Rams to only one hit, a single by junior Allison Majam.
“We played a pretty a good game against them. We just weren’t able to outscore those teams.” Yori said.
The next day, the Rams must have eaten their Wheaties. The team came out and won Saturday’s games by a margin of 14-2.
“We put some good games together. After day one we realized we have to come back and play better, more focused and I thought we did that,” said Yori
The team leaned on their two freshman phonemes, Dani Chaplin and Kelli Eubanks, both of whom threw complete games and won their forth victory.
The Rams came out for game-one ready to play, beating UC Santa Clara 10-1. Majam, a junior, and Senior Kim Klabough both had great days at the plate, combining for seven RBI. Majam was unbeatable at the plate as she went 2-2, with two runs scored. But it was Kim Klabough who gave the CSU squad a 4-0 lead in the first with a three-run homer.
In the second game of the Rams doubleheader, the team faced off with Pac-10 member Oregon. The Rams needed less help from the bats to dispatch of the Ducks as they beat them 1-0. The Pac-10 is described as the best conference year in and year out, so a win against the team speaks to the direction of the softball program at CSU.
The acclaim can’t go all to the Rams however; the only run scored was called a throwing error, even though the third basewoman would have had to make a major league play to get the out. The ball hit her glove so hard she couldn’t hold on-then after a fumble or two she finally got the ball to first.
But give credit where credit is due. Eubanks threw a great game, allowing only four hits with two strikeouts. The freshman from Troutville, Ore., went 4-1 on the season after the shutout.
“She has just been an outstanding pitcher for us,” said Yori. “She is just getting better and stronger. We are really excited about Kelli. She is going to be a good pitcher for four years.”
The final encounter of the weekend was against UC Davis (10-5) a team CSU has had trouble with in the past. The Aggies owned the overall series 3-0, but history means nothing unless you intend to repeat it. The Rams didn’t.
The team came to play and did just that, defeating Davis in a 3-0 win. The Rams were once again led by a Eubanks shutout, making her 5-1 on the season. The CSU bats also turned hot, with six players getting hits.
“We feel pretty good about it. We came out of the weekend 3-2 and playing tough competition. To be 3-2 against quality opponents we feel that we had a pretty a good weekend.” Yori said.
The Rams will enjoy a little time off before March 13, when they return to the playing field for the National Invitational Tournament in San Jose, Calif.
Softball beat writer Keith Robertson can be reached at email@example.com.