The CSU softball team (22-22, 5-5 MWC) will travel across the highway today to take on in-state rival Northern Colorado (16-36).
“We know they will challenge us offensively,” said head coach Mary Yori. “They’re scrappy. We know they will play us tough.”
The Rams are coming off a bittersweet weekend in which they went 1-2. The Rams lost to MWC rival UNLV in close fashion, 7-6. The next day the Rams couldn’t hold off conference foe San Diego State, allowing the Aztecs to win 11-5.
But they were able to get revenge on Sunday, beating the west-coast team, currently in second place, 7-4 on senior day. The weekend gave some insight as to why the team has been putting better numbers up on the board.
“More players are contributing, so that helps everybody,” said Yori. “Now we have a few more players kind of stepping up so that takes some of the pressure off.”
The UNC Bears are coming off big doubleheader wins against Utah Valley in which they outscored their opponent 16-6.
The last time the two Colorado teams met, the game was forced into extra innings. It took a late rally and freshman Christine Thomsen and junior Allison Majam going for a combined 6-for-9 with five RBIs and five runs scored to finish off the Bears.
The two teams were supposed to meet again that weekend but the games were rescheduled due to nasty weather conditions.
Freshman Jenna Krogh has been a huge factor in the Rams success as of late with her hit streak now standing at 11 games.
“She just has really come around as a player, she has a lot of ability,” said Yori. “She is just really hitting the ball well lately for us.”
All the Rams have been cracking the ball with force lately and the Rams will also look to big hitters Christine Thomson, batting .370, and Caitlan Stem, .365, for some offense in both games.
It is uncertain who CSU will have starting in the circle, but any choice would be a good one. Kelli Eubanks has held opponents’ hitting percentage below .287 on the season and the other two likely starters, Dani Chaplin and Kim Klabough both have winning records of 6-5 and 6-2, respectively.
“We have to be sharper on the mound. Hopefully we can limit them (from scoring).” Yori said.
The Rams will return home for a few days of practice before going back on the road to New Mexico for play against the Lobos Saturday.
Softball beat writer Keith Robertson can be reached at email@example.com.