March 23, 2014
LOGAN, Utah – After opening the season 15-5 and off to its best start in 25 years, the Colorado State softball team took a step backward this weekend, starting Mountain West play 0-3 after a 7-2 loss at Utah State Sunday.
The Rams (15-8, 0-3 MW) surrendered three unearned runs in the first inning and never recovered, playing from behind the rest of the game.
Utah State (13-13, 3-0 MW) opened up the first with a leadoff single, and the second batter reached on an error. The next two batters grounded out and popped out, which should have ended the inning. With the inning extended, however, the five-hole hitter, pitcher Noelle Johnson, hit a three-run home run to left field.
Trailing 4-0, the Rams scored in both the fifth and sixth innings. Sophomore Jaelyn Manzanares hit a solo home run in the fifth to put CSU on the board, and senior Chelsea O’Connor hit a solo blast in the sixth to cut the score to 7-2.
The Rams’ only other hit came in the fourth inning, when senior Chelsea Biglow reached base on an infield single. The Aggies’ Johnson, who was dominant in the weekend’s first two games, was again terrific, limiting CSU on offense and striking out six.
For the Rams, sophomore Holly Reinke pitched two and two-thirds innings. She allowed just one earned run, but left trailing 4-0. Junior Molly Randle threw the remainder of the game for the Rams, striking out three.
CSU will take a step away from conference play for a contest at Northern Colorado Tuesday, before hosting Boise State for a three-game set at Ram Field beginning Friday.
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