Apr 182004
 
Authors: Josh Pilkington

Playing in front of its largest home crowd of the season, the

CSU women’s softball team gave its fans something to cheer about

early and often.

With 228 watching Sunday at Rams Field, the Rams exploded

against the Utes of Utah, winning Game 1 13-2, and they maintained

their composure in a 4-1 win in Game 2.

Facing CSU staff ace in the opener, Utah scored first on a

RBI-single from right fielder Devina Quintero.

The Rams’ offense took the lead back quickly in the bottom half

of the first, scoring three runs behind the strength of their Nos.

1-4 hitters, who went a combined 9-for-11 with 10 RBIs and seven

runs scored in the game.

“I felt really good, I think the whole team felt good as a

whole,” said second baseman and leadoff hitter Steph Roberts, who

hit her seventh home run of the season and scored a career-high

four runs in the rout. “We really attacked (Utah). We knew it was

pitching that we could go out there and hit. I think we proved that

the first game and came back and did it the second game.”

Staked to a 3-1 lead heading into the second, Masser settled

down and took control of the Utes’ lineup.

“It’s just a pride thing. I try to go out there and dominate

every inning,” said Masser, who picked up her seventh win of the

season in the victory. “I’m looking at the scoreboard to an extent

but, for the most part, I’m just going out there and trying to

dominate and get done what I need to get done.”

While Masser dominated, the Rams continued scoring runs in

bunches against Utah starter Brianna Gourdin, who lasted only 2 1/3

innings while giving up nine hits and eight earned runs.

With their 13-2 rout in the books, the Rams had to turn around

and come back out ready to play Game 2.

“Coming back (for) the second game we always tell (the players)

it’s a 0-0 score and remind them that they can’t have any of those

runs back,” said head coach Mary Yori. “I think they did a nice job

of rebounding and coming back in the second game and scoring

early.”

Indeed the Rams jumped out to a quick 2-0 on Utah starter

Melissa Oaks thanks to senior Ricky Walker’s fourth home run of the

season, a two-run blast that scored shortstop Brittany Burtner.

It appeared as though the rout was on, but Oaks settled down and

a pitchers’ dual between Oaks and CSU starter Genevieve Kelly

ensued.

The Utes rallied for a run in the top of the third and were

threatening again in the fourth when Kelly began to tire.

“(Genevieve) pitched well,” Yori said, “but she was getting

little bloopers hit and she’d walked a couple batters and I think

it was time to make a move.”

With two outs and Utes on second and first, Yori went to

freshman Jessica Strickland. Strickland induced a soft liner to

short and a waiting Burtner.

Rally over.

Kelly (8-2) earned the win while pitching 4 2/3 innings and

allowing one earned run on six hits. Strickland notched her second

save of the season, going 2 1/3 scoreless innings with two

strikeouts.

The Rams will return home Friday for a two-game set against UNLV

starting at 1 p.m., once again faced with the possibility of

playing without starting outfielders Jennifer Gardner (broken hand)

and Katie Dean (medical ailments), both of whom missed Thursday and

Sunday’s games against Brigham Young and Utah.

“We’re just going to have to come together as a team,” said

Masser about the team’s upcoming series Friday. “Our outfield is

kind of new right now, we have two outfielders out, but I think

we’re doing well coming together as a team and we’re just going to

try and go out and hit the ball like we have and dominate.”

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