March 21, 2013
Final Stats | CSU Spring Tournament Central
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State softball team was expected to hold practice on Thursday afternoon. Instead, they held a hitting clinic, shutting out Marist, 17-0, in five innings at Ram Field.
The victory opened the CSU Spring Tournament. The four-team tourney was scheduled to begin on Friday, but forecasts calling for a snowstorm in the area forced the teams to begin a day earlier than expected.
“We were supposed to have practice today, so I’m proud of our team for getting in the game mindset,” Head Coach Jen Fisher said. “We just played a great game overall. Shae (Rodriguez) got us going in the first inning, and we never stopped.”
Nine different CSU (14-14) batters recorded at least one hit, with eight driving in a run. The 17 runs ties for CSU’s most on the year, and the 17-run victory set a season best.
The victory is CSU’s third in a row, and the shutout is CSU’s third in its last eight games. Despite going 4-2 on this past weekend’s road trip, CSU combined for just 14 runs in six games.
“We needed that kind of offensive explosion,” Fisher said. “We’ve been getting pretty frustrated at the plate.”
Rodriguez began the scoring with a leadoff double in the bottom of the first inning. That was followed by a Cassie Mosser single and an Emily Pohl double to left-center, scoring both. The Rams would score three runs in the first and two in the second—one coming off of a Chelsea Biglow home run—to get out to a comfortable 5-0 lead after two innings of work.
“I was proud of Chelsea for breaking out of things,” Fisher said. “Obviously Shae had a great game, Emily had a great game . . . We had great production up and down the lineup.”
Meanwhile, in the circle, senior Kacie McCarthy pitched her sixth consecutive game for the Rams. During that span, she has thrown all 38 innings and has allowed just one earned run and 23 base runners.
McCarthy struck out seven in the five-inning game, surrendering three hits and one walk. Her only jam came in the second inning, with runners on second and third and one out, but was able to get Haley Birnbaum to strike out and Joelle Zahka to ground out to first.
“She’s phenomenal,” Fisher said of McCarthy, who is 11-6 on the season. “She plays great defense, she attacks the strike zone and she does a great job of keeping her pitch counts down. She’s throwing 10 to 15 pitches per inning; the way she’s working right now, and with all the work she did getting herself physically ready in the preseason, it allows us to continue using her each day.”
The Rams broke the game open even more in the third inning, bringing 11 batters to the plate, with eight coming around to score. The inning began with an Alysa Greckel solo shot, her first of the year. Six batters and four runs later, freshman Jaelyn Manzanares pinch hit for Danielle Wikre, blasting a three-run bomb to left.
CSU batted around again in the fourth, tacking on four insurance runs.
Biglow led the offensive attack, going 3-for-3 with three runs and three RBI. Manzanares made the most of her two at-bats, driving in five runs and earning the first two hits of her collegiate career, in addition to two stellar defensive plays.
“We prepare a lot in practice, so I’ve been making sure I’m ready for when I do get my chance,” Manzanares said. “Coach gives us quote cards, and today’s talked about capitalizing on your opportunities. I was positive and was prepared, and it worked out in my favor.”
“I think we were able to show our depth today,” Fisher added. “The girls work well together, and it was cool to see Emily being the first to congratulate Jaelyn after her nice defensive play. Jaelyn is a really good player, and she’s been incredibly patient.”
Additionally, Rodriguez and Pohl each recorded three hits, combining for six runs and five RBI.
Day 2 of the CSU Spring Tournament begins Friday at 9 a.m. MT, with games between Marist (6-10) and Ball State, and Marist and Columbia. CSU returns to the field at approximately 1:30 p.m. to face Ball State, followed by a contest vs. Columbia. Admission to all games at Ram Field is free.