The Cardiac Kids are alive and winning at CSU.
With two remarkable, late-inning comebacks Friday and Saturday, the women of CSU softball lived up to their self-imposed nickname while winning three of four in the team’s first home stand of the season.
“We’ve got a lot of fight in us,” said head coach Mary Yori, whose Rams now stand at 25-10 overall and 6-4 in the Mountain West Conference. “For us, the game is never over ’til it’s over.”
Saturday’s late-game heroics began in the sixth inning of game two of a doubleheader against Brigham Young (27-10, 5-3 MWC).
Having been shut down by Cougars starting pitcher Niki Andersen and facing a 3-0 deficit, the Rams got the ball rolling on a single from second baseman Steph Roberts. One out later the Rams loaded the bases on back-to-back singles from Jen Mahoney and Ricki Walker.
In need of a big hit, the team turned to freshman Genevieve Kelly, who delivered in a big way, sending a bases-clearing double to center to tie the score.
“My head was pretty clear,” Kelly said of her approach to the plate. “I was just trying to get the ball on the ground.”
With pinch runner Allissa Thompson on third, shortstop Britanny Burtner sent a mid-range fly to centerfielder Oli Keohohou. Tagging up, Thompson took a wrap-around slide to avoid catcher Arron Layns’s tag at the plate, scoring what proved to be the winning run.
“They told me any fly in the air and I would be tagging up,” said the junior Thompson, whose role with the team has been regulated to pinch runner because of off-season shoulder surgery. “I knew I would be going so I just listened for coach’s call.”
Staked to a 4-3 lead starting pitcher Megan Masser pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to clinch the victory and up her team-best record to 12-4.
“I just stuck with my game plan and trusted our offense to come through for me,” said Masser, who also pitched a one-hit shutout in game one Friday, a 5-0 victory over Utah
Saturday’s sixth-inning comeback marked the second in as many days for the Rams, who pulled out an equally impressive come-from-behind win in Friday’s game two against the Runnin’ Utes (11-19, 1-3).
Facing a 6-0 deficit after three innings, the Rams slowly began to chip away at the Utes’ lead, scoring a run in the fourth and fifth innings.
Then, with the score 7-2 in the bottom of the sixth, the floodgates opened. Walker, who went 6-for-13 with three RBIs in the four games, started things for the Rams with a single. After two more singles loaded the bases, freshman Melanie Laffoon punched a bases-clearing double down the left field line bringing the Rams within two.
Following a pitching change and two more singles, Jen Mahoney hit a two-out RBI single to cut the Utes’ lead to one, bringing Walker back to the plate. Facing a new pitcher, Walker smacked a three-run double to right field putting the Rams up 9-7.
Masser came in to pitch the seventh to close out the improbable victory, giving the Rams a sweep of the same Utes team that swept them in four games last season.
“Once we get rolling we don’t stop,” said catcher Kerry Farrell, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Rams’ 5-0 game one victory. “You can’t leave our games early, because we’re never going to give in.”
Though impressive, not everything went the Rams way during the home stand, as the team suffered a 3-1 loss in game one against BYU.
Pitching a complete game and giving up only three earned runs to one of the highest scoring teams in the MWC, sophomore pitcher Melanie Mahoney (3-3) recorded the loss as BYU starter Cynthia Fallowfield kept the Rams’ bats quite to the tune of four hits and one unearned run.
Nevertheless by taking three of four from a pair of conference rival the Rams have made it known they have arrived.
“The chemistry of this team is awesome,” Masser said. “You don’t have to have superstars or all-stars to win games and that’s what we are doing.”
OUTBOX (just an idea, maybe just scores?)
Game One: Rams 5 Utes 0 Winning Pitcher: Megan Masser
Losing Pitcher: Jan Pursell
Game Two: Rams 9 Utes 7 Winning Pitcher: Genevieve Kelly
Losing Pitcher: Pursell
Game One: Rams 1 BYU 3 Winning Pitcher: Cynthia Fallowfield
Losing Pitcher: Melanie Mahoney
Save: Brooke Boyce
Game Two: Rams 4 BYU 3 Winning Pitcher: Masser
Losing Pitcher: Boyce