The CSU club baseball team finished off its first home stand of the season over the weekend with four straight wins, outscoring Western State College by a total of 49-13.
The mercy rule was applied in each of the first three games as CSU secured a 10-run lead after five innings.
In the fourth and final game of the weekend, however, the Rams struggled to take a lead after allowing Western State to tie the game at 5-5 in fourth inning.
Quality pitching by Western State in the final contest between the two teams slowed a CSU offense that looked unstoppable in the first three games.
â€œThat lefty they threw in game four (is) their best pitcher,â€ said CSU assistant coach Matt Reed. â€œI thought he did a really good job of keeping us off balance, throwing pitchersâ€™ strikes and not giving our guys pitches to hit.â€
The Rams regained control of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, when back-to-back homeruns by Matt Kurtz and Josh Ary propelled the Rams to a 9-5 advantage, which turned into a 9-7 CSU win.
â€œThose guys definitely picked it up in that fourth game,â€ Reed said. â€œI thought we extended (their starter) there a little bit and I think we did a good job of getting to him and getting his pitch count up.â€
The Ramsâ€™ starting pitching also provided stability over the weekend, as CSU only utilized seven pitchers during the four games in an effort to get their starters ready for a playoff run in conference play.
The staff was bolstered by outstanding performances by Zach Oâ€™Farrell, who threw four shutout innings in game one, and Travis Childs, who gave up one run over five innings in the third game.
â€œItâ€™s getting toward the middle of the season so they should be up to the 85, 95 pitch mark,â€ Reed said. â€œ(Weâ€™re) trying to stretch our starters out and get them ready for the upcoming games in conference.â€
Offensively, CSU was held scoreless in only three of the 15 innings during the first three games of the weekend, showing what the Ramsâ€™ lineup is capable of doing when they go into conference play later in the week.
â€œIt comes down to focus,â€ said CSU shortstop Colton Duffy. â€œRemaining focused for seven innings in four games, itâ€™s tough to do but we gotta keep the focus up.â€
The wins give CSU a five-game winning streak going into its rematch with Western Nebraska Community College Tuesday.
The Rams defeated Western Nebraska CC 9-5 on March 6, and will be looking to build momentum going into their first conference game of the year against Northern Colorado on Saturday.
â€œWeâ€™re definitely getting there, weâ€™re putting the pieces together,â€ Duffy said. â€œIt was a rough start for us (on the season) but weâ€™re gelling pretty well now.â€
Club baseball Beat Reporter Andrew Schaller can be reached at email@example.com.
Game 1: CSU: 15 WSC: 1 F/5
Game 2: CSU: 14 WSC: 4 F/5
Game 3: CSU: 11 WSC: 1 F/5
Game 3: CSU: 9 WSC: 7 F
Up Next: CSU vs. Western Nebraska Community College
When: Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Where: Scottsbluff, Neb.