Mar 242011
 
Authors: Cris Tiller

Over the last three years CSU’s club baseball team has been at the top, but this season it sits just one game above .500.

The Rams (15-14) have dominated the National Club Baseball Association in recent years, winning three straight World Series Championships and six of the last seven.

They now find themselves in unfamiliar territory due to a streak of a different kind.
CSU has dropped nine of its last 10 games, two more losses than the team had all of last season.

“Definitely haven’t had any sort of taste of that since I’ve been here,” senior shortstop Brian Chuckran said. “It’s adversity, and what we do the rest of the year is going to show us what we’re made of.”

CSU coach Mike Abernathy attributes some of the losses to the schedule, saying it might be the toughest the Rams have ever had.

The team travelled to Arizona during spring break, where they met teams for the first time and managed just two wins against Long Beach State and Scottsdale Community College.

Five of the nine losses during this losing slump came during the spring break trip.

Another culprit for the Rams’ difficult start to the season has been the inability to combine timely hitting with solid pitching.

“We’re real inconsistent right now,” third baseman Jake Fox said. “It’s been tough, but we’ve been in most games we’ve played, so that’s encouraging.”

The Rams have a mix of veteran position players with a relatively inexperienced pitching staff who continue to grow.

“A lot of guys who haven’t thrown a whole lot of innings in the past are now contributing,” Abernathy said. “(Veteran guys) have gotten better and they’re doing a good job.”

CSU remains optimistic about its season now that the most challenging part of the schedule is behind them.
A contributing factor to the difficult schedule is the fact that Colorado’s weather in February forces the Rams to play away from home early in the season. CSU has played in only three games at the City Park South Field where they call home.

“You got to just play through it and do what you got to do,” Fox said.

The Rams start conference play this weekend against the University of Northern Colorado. The teams will play a double-header on Saturday and Sunday in Greeley.

The weekend presents an opportunity for the Rams to turn their season around against a hard-working Bears team.

“I really think we’re going to come out and dominate,” Chuckran said. “We’re hungry now. I think we’re going to put it to them, and put it to them quick.”

Despite a tougher than expected beginning to the season, Abernathy anticipates the same results for this year’s team.

“I expect that these guys will win their conference, win their region and compete for another national championship.”
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Assistant Sports Editor Cris Tiller can be reached at sports@collegian.com._

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