Mar 072010
 
Authors: Joel Hafnor

The CSU softball team had no trouble making itself at home this weekend, winning all five of their games en route to capturing the home-opening 2010 Colorado State Classic at Ram Field.

The Rams (12-7) were again led by the steady bat of senior Rebecca Penland, who added to her incredible campaign with a .600 batting average over the weekend.

“(Penland) was tearing it up, crushing the ball all weekend,” said head coach Mary Yori. “She has been on a tear lately hitting out of the four hole.”

The Rams kicked off the tournament by defeating North Dakota State, Utah Valley and Utah State on Friday and Saturday, before sweeping a double-header against South Dakota State on Sunday afternoon. The Rams outscored their opponents over the weekend by count of 32-11.

“One thing about our team is we have remained mentally tough,” Yori said. “We are growing as a team and getting stronger.”

The Rams have now won 11 of their last 14 games after a rocky opening weekend when the team fell to 1-4. Yori attributes the success to the team’s solid offensive output.

“We came up with a lot of big, clutch hits from a lot of different players,” Yori said. “Offensively we really played well.”

Though the Rams continue to get solid production from several sources on offense, the team has relied much of the season on the pitching services of sophomore Kelli Eubanks. To date, Eubanks has accounted for eight of the team’s 12 winning decisions, continuing the success she enjoyed as a freshman.

“We’ve been able to use (Eubanks) a lot,” Yori said. “We’ve been using her about one game a day. She has been really strong for us.”

Though Eubanks continues to receive most of the notoriety, freshman pitcher Kelsey Jo O’Brien is quietly establishing herself as the Rams’ number two pitching option. O’Brien recorded her most impressive outing of the season during the weekend with a four-hit, complete game shutout against South Dakota State on Sunday.

“(O’Brien) threw very well this weekend. She gave us a lift,” Yori said. “We know she is capable. She continues to get stronger and stronger.”

The Rams now head to California for the next two weekends as part of a 12-game road trip. Their next contest is slated for this Thursday against Cal State Northridge in Fresno, Calif.
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Softball Beat Reporter Joel Hafnor can be reached at sports@collegian.com._

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