The CSU softball team will play four games in three days on their final trip of the season this weekend. The Rams (24-23, 5-6 MWC) are in Utah today to play two games against the Utes (20-29, 2-8 MWC) and will play two more against the first place BYU Cougars (37-15, 10-1 MWC) this weekend.
The Rams beat Utah once this season, 8-5, on their way to a three-game winning streak against the Utes and they’re looking to continue their dominance in a doubleheader today. The Utes can’t finish higher than second to last in the conference, but they will try their hardest for some upsets in front of their home crowds.
“They’re just playing for pride right now,” said head coach Mary Yori. “We know that they will come ready. (But) we feel we can hang with them in hitting and challenge them at the plate.”
Because the Rams will be playing so many games in a short amount time they will need to rotate through the whole pitching staff.
Kelli Eubanks, who gave up a two-run homer to close the game against New Mexico, will likely get most of the innings, but the Rams will also need to lean on fellow freshman Dani Chaplin and senior Kim Klabough for support.
“Our pitchers are going to have to step up,” Yori said. “We expect that all three of them will have to do a better job.”
The Rams will need to really step it up against the Mountain West’s top team BYU this weekend. The Cougars play in one of the nicest softball stadiums in the country and always have a good crowd, contributing to their undefeated season at home.
“They have really good hitters and they also have really good pitching,” Yori said. “Nobody is slowing them down in our conference. Their run per game average is incredibly ridiculous.”
BYU averages six runs per game and have outscored their opponents 311-124 over the course of the season.
The Rams struggled with consistency this year but have begun to put it together at the tail end of the season. One reason for the stability is having a good catcher behind the plate. Shannon Causgrove has been the starting catcher for the past nine games and in the stretch has hit .320 with five RBIs.
“I think that it is playing on the emotion of playing those last few games of your senior year and a combination of getting just little bit stronger mentally,” Yori said.
Other things to look out for in this game are Jenna Krogh’s hit streak, which now stands at 14 games, and the outside chance the Rams have to take second in the MWC if they sweep the four games this weekend and San Diego State drops a couple.
After today’s two games the Rams will play one game a day for two days against BYU to close out their season before returning for finals next week.
Softball beat writer Keith Robertson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.