March 21, 2014
LOGAN, Utah – Colorado State dropped its Mountain West opener Friday afternoon, falling to conference newcomer Utah State, 1-0, in nine innings.
Sophomore Holly Reinke (7-2) was terrific for the Rams (15-6, 0-1 MW) but took the loss despite allowing just four hits and one unearned run over nine innings.
"I felt for Holly," Head Coach Jen Fisher said. "She pitched so well, we just couldn't come through for her. She was great."
The Rams’ offense – which ranks 36th nationally averaging 5.80 runs per game – was held stagnant by Utah State’s Noelle Johnson. The sophomore also threw a complete game, allowing four hits and no runs while striking out 14 CSU batters.
"We ran into a buzzsaw with Johnson on the mound," Fisher said. "She was something else."
After putting runners in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings, Utah State (11-13, 1-0 MW) finally capitalized in the ninth. Sophomore Kirstyn Namba led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on an error. She then reached third base on a flyout, and the next batter, Paxton Provost, singled to right, brining in the game’s only run.
The Rams had opportunities of their own, including having a runner in scoring position in both the fifth and sixth innings.
Senior Ashlie Ortega led off the fifth with a single. She stole second, and the Rams had two runners on and one out after a Chelsea Biglow walk, but couldn’t manufacture a run. In the sixth, Biglow hit a two-out double but again was stranded on base.
Utah State had runners on base in both the seventh and eighth innings, but Reinke ended both frames with big strikeouts. She finished the day with eight.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Aggies had the winning run at third base, but Reinke set down Devin Montgomery to end the inning.
The game was CSU’s second extra-inning game of the season, and the Rams’ longest since April 26 of last year against Boise State. Despite the loss, CSU is still off to its best start in 25 years.
The Rams will have two more chances at the Aggies, facing Utah State Saturday (1 p.m. MT) and Sunday (11 a.m.). Both games can be streamed for free through the Mountain West Network.
"It's an unfortunate way to start the conference season, but it's just Game 1," Fisher said.
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