The CSU softball team will close out its regular season this weekend by facing San Diego State and UNLV in two doubleheaders on Friday and Sunday.
CSU (10-6 in the Mountain West Conference) is currently No. 2 behind San Diego State (10-1) and three spots ahead of 10-4 UNLV. The team knows the importance of the games, as they will effect the seeding for the MWC Championship Tournament May 10.
“We have a fun challenge ahead of us,” head coach Mary Yori said. “We have a couple of tough ball games, but we are feeling good. A lot of the players are riding a wave of confidence from our last few games.”
One example would be sophomore Steph Roberts, who has six home runs in her last six games for a total of seven on the year, as well as a .352 batting average. Junior Ricki Walker has also been swinging a hot bat with 34 RBIs, five homers and a .359 batting average.
The San Diego State doubleheader will feature some of the best pitching in the MWC. The Aztec ace, sophomore Bre DeSanta is 15-4, with 13 complete games and a 0.98 ERA. SDSU freshman Celena Velazquez is 13-4, with 12 complete games and a 1.62 ERA. As a team, the Aztecs have put together a league-leading 1.01 ERA.
“San Diego State has two outstanding pitchers and that is the main reason they are so tough,” Yori said. “They have some good off-speed pitches that our hitters were getting ahead of last time and not making good solid contact on. We are going to have to try to make some adjustments at the plate.”
The Aztecs swept the Rams the last time the two teams met by scores of 5-3 and 2-1. Ram ace Megan Masser will try to keep San Diego State’s bats in check with her 15-5 record. Freshman Genevieve Kelly has also thrown successfully this year with a 9-3 record.
“We are excited to play San Diego State,” Masser said. “We owe them. If we win three of our next four then we are guaranteed to take second, and then we would get to host the MWC Championships next year.”
The first game of the doubleheader will take place at 1 p.m. on Friday at Ram Field.
Then on Sunday, CSU will play its final home games of the season against UNLV. The Rebels are 20-33 on the year and split the doubleheader last time they played the Rams.
On the hill, Rebel Jacqueline Kerrigan has posted a 1.75 ERA and a 15-10 record. She recently received the MWC Pitcher of the Week award in a shutout performance to give San Diego State its only conference loss of the season.
“Kerrigan is a good pitcher,” Yori said. “She got hurt mid-season, but is getting back into form and looking good. We are facing two of the better pitching staffs in the conference and it is going to be tough.”
There will be a ceremony before the game to honor the team’s only seniors, Jen Mahoney and Katie Koch, as they will appear in their last two games at Ram Field.
The Sunday doubleheader starts at noon.