Mar 252012
 
Authors: Andrew Schaller

The CSU club baseball team finished off its first home stand of the season over the weekend with four straight wins, outscoring Western State College by a total of 49-13.

The mercy rule was applied in each of the first three games as CSU secured a 10-run lead after five innings.

In the fourth and final game of the weekend, however, the Rams struggled to take a lead after allowing Western State to tie the game at 5-5 in fourth inning.

Quality pitching by Western State in the final contest between the two teams slowed a CSU offense that looked unstoppable in the first three games.

“That lefty they threw in game four (is) their best pitcher,” said CSU assistant coach Matt Reed. “I thought he did a really good job of keeping us off balance, throwing pitchers’ strikes and not giving our guys pitches to hit.”

The Rams regained control of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, when back-to-back homeruns by Matt Kurtz and Josh Ary propelled the Rams to a 9-5 advantage, which turned into a 9-7 CSU win.

“Those guys definitely picked it up in that fourth game,” Reed said. “I thought we extended (their starter) there a little bit and I think we did a good job of getting to him and getting his pitch count up.”

The Rams’ starting pitching also provided stability over the weekend, as CSU only utilized seven pitchers during the four games in an effort to get their starters ready for a playoff run in conference play.

The staff was bolstered by outstanding performances by Zach O’Farrell, who threw four shutout innings in game one, and Travis Childs, who gave up one run over five innings in the third game.

“It’s getting toward the middle of the season so they should be up to the 85, 95 pitch mark,” Reed said. “(We’re) trying to stretch our starters out and get them ready for the upcoming games in conference.”

Offensively, CSU was held scoreless in only three of the 15 innings during the first three games of the weekend, showing what the Rams’ lineup is capable of doing when they go into conference play later in the week.

“It comes down to focus,” said CSU shortstop Colton Duffy. “Remaining focused for seven innings in four games, it’s tough to do but we gotta keep the focus up.”

The wins give CSU a five-game winning streak going into its rematch with Western Nebraska Community College Tuesday.

The Rams defeated Western Nebraska CC 9-5 on March 6, and will be looking to build momentum going into their first conference game of the year against Northern Colorado on Saturday.

“We’re definitely getting there, we’re putting the pieces together,” Duffy said. “It was a rough start for us (on the season) but we’re gelling pretty well now.”

Club baseball Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

Results
Game 1: CSU: 15 WSC: 1 F/5
Game 2: CSU: 14 WSC: 4 F/5
Game 3: CSU: 11 WSC: 1 F/5
Game 3: CSU: 9 WSC: 7 F
Up Next: CSU vs. Western Nebraska Community College
When: Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Where: Scottsbluff, Neb.

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