Sep 222002
 
Authors: Joshua Pilkington

As the altitude decreased, so did the offensive production of the CSU women’s softball team.

The Rams spent the weekend in Omaha, Neb., taking part in the Nebraska Classic Tournament, and failed to come away with a victory in five games.

The tournament began Saturday when the Rams took on the Stars of Okalahoma City University, and fell 2-1 in a tough 11-inning battle.

Junior Megan Masser started the game for the Rams going five innings and giving up one run.

Sophomore Melanie Mahoney came in to pitch in relief of Masser in the sixth and came away with the loss, giving up the winning run in the 11th, while the offense failed to push a run across after the fourth.

“Our pitchers pitched very well that first game,” said head coach Mary Yori. “They only gave up one run each, we just couldn’t get any hits.”

The hitless trend would continue for the Rams as they faced the Jayhawks of Kansas in the second game of the day falling 4-2.

Mahoney started game two and, according to Yori, had another strong performance.

Freshman Genevieve Kelly also pitched in the loss as the Rams again failed to hit with runners in scoring position.

“We gave up the big, timely hits and (the Jayhawks) did not,” Yori said. “We left 10 runners on base and just couldn’t hit when we needed to.”

The ultimate hitless performance came in the nightcap when the Rams faced Nebraska and first team All-Big 12 pitcher, junior Peaches James.

“She’s a really good pitcher,” Yori said of James. “She is one of the best in the country and we couldn’t hit against her.”

James dominated the Rams in Nebraska’s 7-0 victory, giving up only one hit while going two-for-two at the plate with two RBIs.

Though the 7-0 score would suggest a blowout, Yori said the Rams played better.

“We had one blow-up inning against Nebraska,” she said. “They scored the first run on an error, and then the wheels came off from there.”

Masser took the loss for the Rams.

Sunday the Rams faced the Cornhuskers of Nebraska again, this time with better results, though still falling 4-1.

The Rams split the pitching duties three ways in the loss as Mahoney, freshman JayCee Wood and Masser pitched an inning or more each.

Hitting continued to be an issue for the Rams in the loss, as they left running on base early and often.

“All three of our starters pitched pretty well,” Yori said of her pitchers, “but we still didn’t get any hits. The biggest disappointment of the tournament was our lack offense.”

With one game left, the Rams hoped to come away with one victory, but that hope quickly diminished as the Rams fell down early and could not come back against the Stars in a 5-2 loss to close out the two-day tournament.

With the team’s starting shortstop, sophomore Brittany Burtner, out for Sunday’s games, Yori said things became more complicated for the Rams as they attempted to play with inexperienced players in new positions.

“We had to put freshmen in key positions and that hurt us,” she said. “We just haven’t had the practice time to adjust to new positions.”

In the finale the Rams managed to get 10 hits against the Stars, but could not capitalize on scoring opportunities.

“We just couldn’t put any hits together,” Yori said.

The Rams return home to play another two-day tournament Sept. 28-29 at the Triple Crown Sports Complex in Edora Park.

“We’re disappointed with the losses up to this point,” Yori said. “Hopefully we can come back and end the fall season on a positive note.”

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