Earlier this week the CSU softball team took Northern Colorado into extra innings to win its 19th game of the season. The team just hopes this weekend’s games against Mountain West Conference foe New Mexico (11-27, 2-4 MWC) will have a similar outcome and won’t be halted by the weather.
Old Man Winter has postponed three games so far this season and with the National Weather Service predicting an 80 percent chance of snow Saturday, the Rams will likely lose one of their games over the weekend to the wintery white.
“It’s disappointing when you can’t play,” said head coach Mary Yori. “If we can’t play we’ll have to adjust and play a double-header on Sunday.”
The Rams (19-20, 2-3 MWC) don’t boast a frightening record at home, 2-1. But the Lobos have been atrocious on the road, winning only four out of 20 games away from home this season. New Mexico did beat the Rams three times last season, stealing one in Fort Collins.
“They know they have to score runs, so they always swing the bats hard,” Yori said. “New Mexico is a very good hitting team.”
New Mexico definitely has the ability to cross home plate. Their best offensive weapon, Samantha Hughes, is batting .381 with seven homers this season. But the Rams pitching is nothing to spit sunflower seeds on.
The Rams have three quality circle cyclones in freshman Kelli Eubanks (7-8), freshman Dani Chaplin (6-5) and senior Kim Klabough (5-1). The three have lacked consistency in the circle at times, but each has proven they can throw well in big games.
“Knowing that we ought to be able to score some runs against this team, sometimes you can afford to give up a couple of runs early. It’s a real help to know that you have a couple aces in the hole,” Yori said.
Lately the Rams have been like a cave — warming up the bats. Allison Majam, who hit the game winner Tuesday, went 2-4, with two RBIs against the Bears. The team put up a total of 10 runs against UNC, and with two players bating over .350 on the season they hope to continue their run at the plate.
“We’ve been working really hard,” said Majam. “Our mentality has really picked up the last couple of weeks, we have all seen the change that we are attacking more at the plate and I expect more of the same this weekend.”
The Lobos are coming off a huge conference win against second place San Diego State, who pummeled the Rams 5-0 last weekend. The Lobos won the game 3-1, with stellar pitching allowing only three hits in the contest. The strong performance doesn’t worry the Rams, who believe the Lobos are a very hitable team.
“I think we should be able to score runs against them. But we have to work at it. You don’t ever score runs by falling out of bed,” said Yori.
The Rams are currently in fourth place in the Mountain West and two wins this weekend could squeak CSU past UNLV for third and a winning conference record.
“We’re a good team. We have everything we need to go places,” said freshman Jenna Krogh. “We just need to make sure that we are focused every game, every pitch, every inning.”
First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday at Ram Field, if the weather permits.
Softball beat writer Keith Robertson can be reached at email@example.com.