The CSU softball team left Fort Collins on a three game winning streak ready to extend to four against a team they had beaten twice already this season. However, the game was delayed (twice) and the Rams lost their rhythm and the game after a controversial call and a two-run homer.
The Rams (24-23, 5-6 MWC) were scheduled to play a televised game against the New Mexico Lobos (12-33, 3-9 MWC) at 4 p.m. but Zeus dropped by the field and lightning delayed the game.
The Rams drew first blood in the first inning. Jenna Krogh, who extended her hitting streak to 14 games at her first at-bat, was plated by fellow freshman Christine Thompson singled and the Lobo short stop committed a throwing error.
New Mexico wasn’t going to be outshined on their senior day. Cristin Anderson took one pitch from freshman ace Kelli Eubanks and sent the second one over the left field wall. Eubanks (10-10) was able to pitch a complete game, recording five strikeouts.
In the second, the Rams looked as if they were going to be able to retaliate. They had the bases loaded but freshman pitcher Danielle Castro was able to wiggle her way out of it with a strikeout, leaving three CSU players stranded on base.
The Lobos added one run in both the second and third innings, but the Rams didn’t take an eight hour bus ride for nothing. In the top of the fifth CSU’s Catlian Stem cracked the ball over the wall for her sixth homerun of season.
After a pitching change by New Mexico, Rebecca Penland singled to leftfield and sent Thompson and Allison Majam across home plate, and the Rams took the lead 4-3.
New Mexico tied it up in the sixth, setting the scene for a seventh inning showdown.
Majam, 2-3 on the day, led off the inning for the Rams with a single to center field but with a combination of speed and poor defense found herself on third as the possible winning run.
Penland stepped to the plate and cracked a ball to short left field but was caught out by what can be described as a circus catch. Majam took off, touched home and put the Rams up 5-4. Or not.
She was called out for leaving the bag before the ball left the pitchers hand. The replay and the staff of the Mnt. Network would disagree. New Mexico got the final out and prepared for their shot at the plate.
After a bunt that got the winning run on base, Lobo senior Analise Rublacava hit the third New Mexico homer of the game and finished off the Rams 6-4, in what may have been the most disappointing loss of the season for the Rams.
The Rams will head west for their final four games of the season – a doubleheader Thursday against Utah and two more against the top MWC team, BYU next weekend.