The CSU softball team was already eliminated from post-season play when they traveled to play BYU, who had been undefeated at home this season. The Rams played two games against the Cougars in their final series of the season. They lost the first, 4-1, but rallied in the second game to be the first team other than the Cougars to win in Provo, Utah this season.
After a BYU score in the bottom of the first, game one went through three more innings before getting some more action. The Cougars scored three runs on four hits in the bottom of the fourth. The Rams tried a comeback in the sixth but were only able to muster up one run in the losing effort.
“It was just missed opportunities,” head coach Mary Yori said.
The following day was very similar to the first. The Cougars started the same 19-9 pitcher, Paige Affleck, and the Rams found themselves down after the first inning, this time 4-0.
What was different this time was how the Rams attacked at the plate. The Rams put two on the board in the second when Shanon Causgrove and Robyn Mask each crossed the plate. A triple in the third gave BYU the 5-2 advantage but the Rams wanted to beat the unbeaten on their home field – and they did.
The Rams were able to come within two after Alison Majam, who finished 3-4 with two runs and two RBIs, hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth.
“That was really a big boost,” Yori said. “She delivered a couple of really nice hits.”
The Rams horns went up and the team played very attentively, jumping on any rare mistake made by BYU. CSU tied the game at five after scoring on two errors committed by the Cougars.
The Rams made like Santa Clause and wrapped up the game in the seventh. With the bases loaded, Causgrove stepped to the plate and continued her clutch season as she hit the game winning single that plated Christine Thomsen and Majam.
The other senior savior, Kim Klabough, deserves credit as well.
After relieving freshman Dani Chaplin she pitched 6.1 innings only giving up one run against a team that averages six runs a game. In the switch from young to experienced the Rams struck gold to end their final game of the 2009 season.
“She settled in and really threw a fine a game,” said Yori about Klabough’s performance. “She was really confident that she could get it done for us, she knew her team needed her.”
The Rams finished their season in a style to be proud of.
They’re one game above .500 and in the final match CSU became the only team to beat BYU on their home field and only one of two conference teams to beat the Cougars all season. They rallied back against one of the best teams in the country, where they were least vulnerable and proved to themselves they have room to grow but are serious contenders in the Mountain West.
“Our season was just like our record: lots of exciting wins and some tough losses,” Yori said. “Our kids competed hard this year, and I was really pleased with their effort this weekend. We just kept fighting and battling, and I think that beating them (BYU) showed a lot of heart.”
Softball beat reporter Keith Robertson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.