The Rocky Mountain Showdown in most sports is a one-and-done event, but for the baseball teams, itâ€™s a whole weekendâ€™s worth of competition.
CSU and CU-Boulder played four games in two days at City Park for the final time this year. The Rams (32-9) took three of the four, losing only the second game of the series.
After a convincing 13-1 win in the first game, it looked like it would once again be an easy outing for CSU, but the Buffaloes refused to give in after one game and won the second 11-3. The Rams proceeded to beat CU in Sundayâ€™s doubleheader 12-2 and 9-5.
While it was a victory for CSU, the team could not help feeling disappointed, losing the way they did in the second game.
â€œThe game we lost, we really didnâ€™t show up,â€ said senior Bobby Moller.Â â€œWe werenâ€™t very focused.â€Â
The lack of focus and intensity for all four of the games was the opposite of what head coach Mike Abernathy wanted to see from his team going into the series.
â€œWe definitely had it (Sunday), but not (Saturday),â€ Abernathy said. â€œWe played a great game, and then we played a poor game.â€
The Rams are one of the best teams in the country in pursuit of a championship, but CU could make their whole season just by beating CSU, a feat they have managed to accomplish twice this year. The Buffs tried to bring a high level of intensity to each game.
â€œThat second game (CU was) pretty upbeat because it was a close game,â€ Moller said. â€œThey had a reason to be in the game, but the other three games we took the wind out of their sails pretty early, and they really didnâ€™t have as much intensity.â€
The second game of the series was tough offensively for the Rams, as they ran into a hot pitcher and were not able to change their game plan.
â€œWe definitely could have made some adjustments hitting and knowing what the pitcher was doing,â€ said senior Jake Fox.Â â€œWe struggled in the first game he faced us, and we lost the game the last time we played him.â€
CSU came into the weekend with loads of confidence, not only matching up with CU but also because they have beaten nearly everyone they have faced all year. Losing to the same pitcher for the second time in a year did not help the teamâ€™s confidence after the first day.
â€œThe first day it had a negative effect (on our confidence),â€ Fox said. â€œI think after we came out (the second day) focused as a team it will help us going into this week.â€
Abernathy said he believes that the game they lost would only help them to realize where they can be better.
â€œ(Sunday) we gained confidence,â€ Abernathy said. â€œI think we figured out the things we need to do to be successful and consistent.
For such a huge rivalry, trash talking was at a minimum on both sides, unlike the first meeting of these two teams in Boulder.
â€œThey do like to run their mouths a lot,â€ Moller said. â€œIt wasnâ€™t as bad as the last time we played them, but they do look for any little thing to throw you off your game.â€
The Rams will close out their regular season with a four game series against another in-state rival, Northern Colorado, next weekend in Greeley.
Club Sports Reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at email@example.com.