As Yogi Berra might say, it was d/j/ vu all over again for the softball team this weekend, with a twist. Just like their opening weekend in Fort Collins three weeks ago, the Rams split their four game series with San Diego State and UNLV, walking away from the weekend with two wins and two losses.
This time around, however, the Rams picked up two wins against the league-leading UNLV Runnin’ Rebels on Friday, but were swept by last place SDSU on Saturday and Sunday.
Head Coach Mary Yori said that taking two from UNLV was a big boost for her team, but she would have liked to have played better against SDSU.
“It was a decent road swing for us, we played well in three out of four games,” Yori said. “We are looking forward to coming back home.”
Sunday’s game against the Aztecs was an extra inning heartbreaker for the Rams, as they fell in the eighth inning 3-2. Dani Sidoti scored the winning run for SDSU in the bottom of the eighth when a double from third baseman Christine Kulick brought her in from second.
“We had been hanging in pretty well, we had a few chances to take the lead and we couldn’t quite find that hit,” coach Yori said.
Kim Klabough pitched the whole game for the Rams, going 7.1 solid innings and allowing just three earned runs. She gave up 12 hits and struck out two batters. The loss drops her record to 9-9 on the season.
Saturday’s game one was no kinder to the Rams, who gave up four runs in the bottom of the first inning on the way to a 10-4 loss.
Rebecca Penland suffered the loss from the circle, giving up four runs on three hits in just 0.2 innings. Senior Jessica Strickland came on in relief, giving up six runs on six hits in 5.2 innings. Strickland struck out two and didn’t allow a walk.
With the wins the Aztecs improve to 5-8 in league play, putting them in second-to-last place in the Mountain West, one spot ahead of Utah.
Everything went right for the Rams in their first stop of the road trip this weekend, as they took two critical games from first-place UNLV, 2-1 and 4-3.
Sophomore Kim Klabough pitched a gem for the Rams in game one, allowing just one run on four hits in seven innings of work. She recorded four strikeouts and allowed four walks.
Freshman outfielder Allison Majam hit her ninth home run of the year in the sixth inning, breaking up what was a scoreless game, giving the Rams a 1-0 lead. The Rebels tied the game up in the bottom of the sixth on a CSU throwing error, but the Rams were able to pick up one more in the top of the seventh when a fielder’s choice from Lauren Cusick scored pinch runner Sara Sullivan from third base.
Game two of the doubleheader also featured some strong pitching from the Ram staff, with freshman Rebecca Penland recording the complete game four-hitter. In seven innings she gave up three earned runs, striking out five and walking two.
Freshman Ashley Munoz and junior Julia Kloppe hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the third inning, giving the Rams a 4-0 lead. UNLV answered with one run in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings, but were shut down before they could come all the way back.
Munoz and Kloppe each finished the game 2-3 from the plate, with three RBIs between them.
With the losses, UNLV dropped to 7-4 in league play, leaving them in second place behind Brigham Young.
“To get a couple of wins out of UNLV was very good for our team,” Yori said Sunday.
The split weekend leaves the Rams with a 5-7 record in the Mountain West, good enough for fourth place. Coach Yori said that her team will probably have to win most or all of their remaining games in order to get back into the hunt for a postseason bid.
“It is an uphill battle,” Yori said. “At this point we are going to have to take it one game at a time and win every game that we can.”
CSU will be at home this week when they host the Utah Utes in a doubleheader on Thursday. First pitch in that series is set for 1:30 p.m.
Softball beat writer Nick Hubel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who: CSU Rams vs. Utah Utes softball
What: Doubleheader on Thursday
Where: Ram Field
When: Starting at 1 p.m.