After a stellar spring break in Orlando, Fla., the CSU softball team now turns its focus to Oregon – arguably its toughest competition yet this season.
This weekend the Rams head to Eugene, Ore., to face the Ducks in a three-game series that, according to CSU head coach Mary Yori, “will be a good precursor to conference play.”
By winning nine of 13 games in Orlando the Rams managed to surpass last season’s victory total of 10 and now plan to use that momentum going into Eugene, Yori added.
“(The tournament in Orlando) gives us a big upswing going into this weekend,” Yori said.
Though the Rams played well at times during the 14-game tournament, Yori said there are still a lot of improvements the team needs to make to compete this weekend.
“We did not stay focused for the duration of the tournament,” Yori said. “We had a lot of mental letdowns and physical mistakes, which is common with such a young team. These kids are learning how intense they need to be every game.”
Although consistency was a problem, Yori quickly added that there were a lot of positives to be taken from the tournament.
“Defensively, we had a lot of players play consistent,” Yori said. “The outfield played very well, but we still need to shore up the infield and get them to play more consistent.”
The team’s pitchers (Megan Masser, Maren Christensen and Melanie Mahoney) also had their ups and downs during the week.
“All our pitchers had good outings and not so good,” she said. “Megan was very consistent until her last game, when we had to pull her after four innings.”
Masser, a sophomore, had her best outings of the season during the week as she posted two consecutive complete game shutouts and came in to win an 11-7 nine-inning thriller against Bowling Green.
“We really came together as a team during the tournament,” Masser said. “We played well as a unit and showed we are a good team.”
With regards to the team’s three-game series against the Ducks this weekend, Masser said it should be a big challenge for the club.
“They’re in the PAC-10, one of the best conferences in the nation, so they’re playing against good teams all the time,” Masser said.
However, Masser added that Oregon is not an unbeatable opponent.
“If we play our game on the field like we know we can, we can beat them,” she said.
While the team remains focused and consistent, Yori said the Rams have a good shot at turning some heads.
“We just need to play more sound defense from the start,” she said. “We need to be sharper, stay up and stay focused. Those are our goals.” n