March 1, 2014
IMPERIAL VALLEY, Calif. – Forced to adjust on the fly after heavy rain continued throughout the San Diego area, the Colorado State softball team made a two-hour drive to Imperial Valley Saturday morning in order to play its first game of the San Diego Classic I. The Rams defeated Lehigh, 4-1, in a rain-shortened game.
CSU also hoped to face UIC, but rain forced a cancelation of the afternoon game.
“Our girls are really adaptable,” Head Coach Jen Fisher said. “We woke them up before their wake-up call, and they were excited to play. Imperial Valley was such gracious hosts; they had their high school and junior college teams out there, and a lot of people from around the town.”
With the victory, CSU improved to 8-3 on the season, continuing its best start in six seasons. Holly Reinke was the pitcher of record, remaining perfect (5-0) and tossing all five frames for the Rams. She struck out three, and allowed just six hits.
“I liked Holly’s maturity today,” Fisher said. “Even with the rain and delays, she was down to business and having fun. It’s nice to see her more comfortable and confident in herself this season.”
Senior Chelsea O’Connor was again the offensive catalyst, continuing her hot start to the season. She blasted a third-inning grand slam – her second of the season – to contribute toward all four of CSU’s runs.
Following an Alysa Greckel single to begin the inning, Kendal Butterfield reached base on a fielder’s choice and stole second. The inning continued with a Haley Hutton single and Ashlie Ortega walk, loading the bases for O’Connor.
“It was a solid line drive, and there was no doubt about it,” Fisher said of O’Connor’s round-tripper. “She’s extremely level, and when she swings she swings with everything she’s got. She’s filling the hole that I think we had in our lineup last year. If you put her in the three-hole it takes pressure off some of the other girls. It’s fun to watch.”
Ortega finished the day 2-for-2 with a walk.
Lehigh scored its only run in the fifth inning. The Rams had runners on the corner and two outs in the bottom of the fifth when the game was called due to rain.
CSU was originally scheduled to play six games over the weekend – including one against No. 2 Tennessee – but heavy rain has forced shifts and many cancelations. The Rams will attempt to play one game Sunday, against Utah at 4 p.m. MT. The Rams and Utes played earlier this season, an 11-5 CSU victory.
“We wanted to get something out of coming all the way out here,” Fisher said, “so I’m glad we got at least one in today. Getting a win is great, of course. We had to come off the field a couple times, but the ladies were always ready to go.”
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