While many students spent the last week traveling for rest and relaxation, the CSU softball team headed to California and continued working.
That work included eight wins in 11 games, with four extra-inning victories to move the Rams regular season record to 20-10. The Rams scored important victories over both Fresno State and Nevada during the 12-day road swing.
â€œWe learned a lot about ourselves,â€ head coach Mary Yori said. â€œWe are definitely tested on the road, and the bottom line is we now know we can beat anybody.â€
The win against Fresno State came on the Bulldogs home field, as the Rams overcame an early two-run deficit to defeat the 1998 national champs.
â€œI really think the Fresno victory was the defining moment (of the road trip),â€ Yori said. â€œWe havenâ€™t beaten them in my time at CSU.â€
The Rams exhibited a balanced attack from the plate, getting production from all over the lineup.
â€œA lot of kids contributed at the plate,â€ Yori said. â€œNobody was absolutely on fire, but everyone has been contributing.â€
In the pitching circle, the Rams again handed the ball to Kelli Eubanks for a majority of the trip. The sophomore hurler now has 15 wins on the season, to go along with a 3.47 ERA and 118 strike outs.
The Ramsâ€™ road trip included six games decided by a single run, five of which CSU won, proving once again their ability to grind out close games.
â€œThese kids stay calm and have a belief in themselves,â€ Yori said. â€œTheyâ€™ve been in enough close games, and they keep finding a way to come through.â€
Of the Ramsâ€™ 30 games thus far, 25 have been played away from home, creating a difficult two-month stretch full of long bus rides, airfare and hotel rooms. For the next two weekends, the Rams will not leave the state of Colorado.
â€œItâ€™ll be nice not to travel the next couple weekends,â€ Yori said. â€œOur players can catch up on schoolwork and kind of regroup and reload.â€
The Rams now have a weekend series against Northern Colorado beginning on Friday before starting up conference play at UNLV on April 9.
Softball Beat Reporter Joel Hafnor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.