Apr 302009
 
Authors: Keith Robertson

This Saturday the CSU softball team will travel to New Mexico for their first conference road game since April 12 and the fans can play witness.

The Mtn. network is scheduled to broadcast the Rams’ (24-22, 5-5 MWC) game against the Lobos (11-33, 2-9 MWC) at 4 p.m. Saturday, allowing fans to enjoy the road game from the comfort of their home or favorite bar.

“It’s great exposure. Our players are excited,” head coach Mary Yori said. “It’s nice for people to see what they can do. They usually step up when the game is on TV.”

CSU is currently in third place in the Mountain West and the Lobos are just one spot out of last – meaning they may have to play a little tougher to avoid embarrassment.

“I think (New Mexico) is going to be challenging,” Yori said. “They’re still fighting; they’re still playing for pride. And they want to get a win against us.”

The Rams played New Mexico twice this season, and they won both games. Even though CSU knows they have the upper hand they understand the Lobos have the personnel to be dangerous. Senior Samantha Hughes has had a ridiculous season, batting .398 with seven homeruns.

“We are not going to overlook them by any means,” said freshman pitcher Kelli Eubanks. “But (if) we go out and play the way we know how, I think we’ll be fine.”

Barring unforeseen occurrences, Eubanks (10-9) will start in the circle for the Rams. She has been playing superbly recently, as she recorded her fourth shutout of the season this week.

The rest of the horned heroes have added to the solid softball play, as they are on a three-game winning streak after winning both games of a doubleheader against UNC and one game against San Diego State.

The offense is led by Caitlan Stem, batting .373, who has piled up 39 runs this season and is only 10 away from cracking the single season top-five in CSU history. The Rams have also looked to the bat of freshman outfielder Jenna Krogh, who is currently on a 13-game hit streak.

“Almost every time she is getting it at her first at-bat,” Yori said. “She keeps getting more confidence and hopefully she can keep it going.”

The team believes that with only three games left in the season, they have to channel their inner Ram and not center their game plan on their opponents.

“We just need to focus on ourselves,” said third baseman Robyn Mask. “I think that’s what trumps us up a lot.”

The Rams will have plenty of time to focus inward on the long bus trip down south as well as have a little extra time to relax. Yori said the team enjoys the automobile experience because they will be able to study for upcoming finals, socialize and watch a few movies along the way — instead of hauling through airports populated with mask-wearing travelers afraid of the swine flu.

After the team pulls back into Fort Collins, the Rams will have a week of practice before heading out to Utah for the final three games of the season next weekend.

Softball beat writer Keith Robertson can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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