Apr 072011
 
Authors: Nick Childs

A new season of sorts for the CSU softball team begins Friday as the Rams welcome UNLV and San Diego State University to Fort Collins.

This weekend marks the start of conference play for the Rams, who are looking forward to the opportunity to start with a clean slate.

Coach Fisher breaks the season down into three parts: the beginning of the season, spring break and conference play.

CSU’s home stand will begin with a single game against the UNLV Rebels (18-13, 0-0) on Friday at 4 p.m. and will conclude with a double-header against the Aztecs of San Diego State (24-14, 0-0) on Saturday afternoon.

CSU (7-27, 0-0) comes into the weekend with the worst record in the Mountain West Conference, a mark that has no bearing in regards to the team’s standings in the league.

The Rams’ slow start may be a result of inexperience, something that will hopefully change in the second half of the season.

“The talent is there. We just need to put it all together,” said sophomore catcher Brittany Palish.

Despite the Rams’ troubles, Palish has made vast improvements in her second year.

Palish, originally from New Jersey, only played in four games as a freshman but is now second on the team in batting average (.317) and has played in 27 of the team’s 34 games.

The difference is a product of an improved mental approach to the game, which has allowed her to be more comfortable at the plate.

Another key to the second half will be the return of staff ace, Kelli Eubanks. As a sophomore, she made the All-Mountain West Conference team and serves as a leader, both on and off the field.

Eubanks sat out the first few months of the season with an elbow injury and is still on a limited pitch count for each of her starts.

The beginning of the season was difficult for Eubanks, who had to take on a motivational role because of the injury.

Eubanks has only appeared in three games so far this season but already has earned two of the team’s seven wins, leading the Rams with a 6.22 ERA.

“Kelli has a confidence about her that carries out to the rest of the team. She is very composed and knows how to win,” Palish said.

Softball Beat Reporter Nick Childs can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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