The CSU softball team opened up Mountain West Conference play with a loss to BYU Thursday. The Rams are now 16-18 on the season. After beating the Rams, the Cougars moved into second place in the MWC, are 24-14 and on a five game winning streak.
The Rams seemed doomed from the beginning as the Cougars’ Jessica Purcell hit a two-run homerun off freshman pitcher Kelli Eubanks (6-7).
Eubanks has performed well lately but failed to finish the game, even after recording five strikeouts, and was replaced by senior Kim Klabough in the third inning. Before the game Coach Mary Yori acknowledged what BYU is capable of.
“Their strength has always been their hitting,” Yori said Tuesday. “They always come ready to play the game.”
BYU wasn’t finished going over the fences after the first. The cougars sent two more past the homerun mark in the fifth inning — one a solo shot, the other a grand slam. Angeline Quiocho, who was 3-4 that day, launched the ball that gave BYU an 11-0 lead.
The game seemed to exploit the holes the Rams have felt this season. When the team plays well defensively they sometimes struggle to get hits, or vise versa. Thursday, however, the Rams were out matched by one of the best teams in the Mountain West, and couldn’t put together a complete game against such an offensive force.
The Rams had minimal success at the plate, getting only two hits against BYU’s Christie Zinanti (12-7), who also struck out six batters.
The Rams will take on MWC rival Utah today at 3 p.m. and again tomorrow at 1 p.m. The Rams hope to get even in the win column and above .500 in conference by beating the average Utes (13-19).
Utah has had four losing streaks of three games or more this season, and the Rams feel confident in their ability to play better at home and well against the Utes.
“Utah is a very beatable team,” Klabough said. “If we take care of ourselves we’ll beat them.”
Softball beat writer Keith Robertson can be reached at email@example.com.