The Ram softball team fought back bad weather and a long break to open up its conference schedule this past weekend, playing San Diego State and Nevada-Las Vegas in a pair of two-game sets.
CSU finished the weekend at 2-2, sweeping SDSU and losing both to the first place Runnin’ Rebels.
In the weekend finale, the Rams lost an extra innings thriller, 5-3 to UNLV.
CSU hit three solo home runs in the game, including back-to-back shots by Julia Kloppe and Kim Klabough in the fifth.
The game was tied at three after regulation, sending it to extra innings. UNLV broke the tie in the ninth when a double by Kelli Fangonilo scored two for the Rebels and put them up 5-3. The Rams could not get any offense going in the bottom half and walked away with the loss.
“It just didn’t go our way,” Head Coach Mary Yori said. “They got the hit and we didn’t. You got to find a way to win and we couldn’t.”
In Saturday’s contest against the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, CSU dropped its first conference loss of the season, 11-5.
The Rams seemed poised to take the game as they headed into the top of the seventh up 5-4, but could not shut the door on the Rebel offense.
On the heels of two CSU throwing errors, UNLV scored seven runs on seven hits in the frame. The Rams went in order in the seventh, ending their hopes of a comeback.
“That was a really tough way to lose,” Yori said. “The wheels fell off at that point and we couldn’t seem to get it back.”
Before the UNLV losses, the Rams fared much better against SDSU, defeating the Aztecs in game one, 13-12 and game two, 6-3.
CSU scored all of its runs in game two in an impressive third inning that included four hits and three home runs. Freshman centerfielder Allison Majam hit a three-run-long ball to kick the scoring off and catcher Stacey Leigh followed it up with a long-ball of her own, giving the Rams their first back-to-back homers of the young conference season.
Two batters later, junior first baseman Julia Kloppe crushed a solo homerun to right, capping the explosive scoring run.
The Rams kicked off the home stand with a wild one, winning a back-and-forth, eight-inning rollercoaster against the SDSU Aztecs, 13-12.
As all extra inning games tend to, this one came down to the wire, with senior catcher Stacey Leigh taking a 2-2 fastball deep over the center field wall for the walk-off game winner. Leigh finished the game 4-5 at the plate, with three runs and two RBIs.
Just one inning earlier senior Jessica Strickland hit a line drive two run home run to center, tying the game at 12 and sending it to an extra frame.
“It felt really good,” Strickland said of the homer. “I kind of got lucky that it went out because it was a line drive, but it felt really nice.
Catcher Stacey Leigh, who led the team offensively for the weekend with eight hits, five RBIs, two homeruns and a double, said that it was disappointing to not get a win from UNLV, but that she feels pretty good about the weekend as a whole.
“Beating (SDSU) will be a good confidence booster going into BYU,” Leigh said. “We just need to learn that we don’t always have everything in the bag.”
With the four-game split the Rams move to 23-20 on the season and 2-2 in conference. CSU will travel to Provo, Utah, this Friday to take on the Brigham Young Cougars in a doubleheader. Game time is set for 5 p.m.
Softball beat writer Nick Hubel can be at email@example.com.