Tonight at City Park, the CSU club baseball team will try to accomplish something it hasnâ€™t done in over six years: win a game under a coach who isnâ€™t Mike Abernathy.
In a four-game weekend series starting tonight, the Rams (22-19, 7-0) will play host to CU-Boulder (6-16, 3-7), a team that lost three times to CSU earlier in the year and has lost its last seven consecutive games, dating back to the end of March.
For junior first baseman Brad Spies, who grew up just outside Boulder, playing conference foe CU every year holds more significance than other regular season games.
â€œAll of us have the same goal of just burying them into the ground,â€ Spies said. â€œItâ€™s really important for us to play well. Especially at home in front of our home fans and everything, we really wanna take all four (games) this weekend (and) kind of make a statement to the rest of the conference and the country.â€
The game marks the first nine-inning game for the Rams since April 1, and the first home conference game of the season.
Starting for the Rams will be freshman Tate Hughes, who hopes to pitch into the seventh inning even on an 85-pitch count for the night before turning the game over to the bullpen.
â€œI have complete faith in our bullpen,â€ Hughes said. â€œ(With Harashima Takeshi) coming in and Riley (Hughes), I know theyâ€™re gonna come in and shut it down.â€
The last time the Rams hit the field, they lost their first game without Abernathy at the helm, falling to Missouri 9-8.
The bitter loss leaves tonightâ€™s game as an opportunity for CSU to earn new coach Matt Reed his first victory.
â€œItâ€™ll definitely be good for coach Reed to get his first win,â€ shortstop Colton Duffy said on Thursday. â€œBut I have no doubt that thatâ€™s gonna happen tomorrow night.â€
In addition to the fact that they are playing host to one of their biggest rivals, the Rams have also anticipated one of their largest crowds of the year due to the fact that tonight is the only Friday night game on the schedule this year.
â€œItâ€™s fun to get out here under the lights, for one, on a Friday night,â€ CSU pitching coach Nick Childs said. â€œItâ€™s a great night for people to come out and support the team, and it should be great weather, and weâ€™re just really looking forward to it. I think itâ€™s gonna be a fun day.â€
Club sports Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who: CU-Boulder vs. CSU
When: Tonight at 6 p.m.
Where: City Park, Fort Collins