March 25, 2012
By Meredith Danner
Athletic Media Relations
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Sunday marked the conclusion of CSU’s participation in the UC Riverside Tournament, as well as the conclusion of the Rams’ last non-conference tournament of the year. CSU split the final day of competition, first outlasting Brown, 4-3, and later falling to host UC Riverside, 3-1, at Amy S. Harrison Field.
CSU finished the day with a 16-18 overall record (0-0 Mountain West) and snapped its four-game winning streak with the loss to UC Riverside in the second game. The Rams went 4-1 over the weekend, marking the first time they have won four out of five games in a weekend tournament this season.
“We really improved in these non-conference tournaments, so I think that was really good to see from us this year, as compared to last year,” CSU Head Coach Jen Fisher said. “I think last year at this time, we weren’t doing great because our pitching wasn’t holding up at all. But this year at this time, we’ve had several good outings from several different pitchers. We really do have a solid pitching staff. I think our defense has improved immensely over these five tournaments and these kids are really starting to play together a lot more and understand each other. We’ve really accomplished a lot in that part of our season, but I also think conference gets that much tougher.”
The Rams trailed early against Brown in the first game, but ultimately came back to extend their winning streak to four games, thanks in part to a 2-for-3, three RBI performance from sophomore Alysa Greckel. Greckel belted a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the second and cut Brown’s lead to 2-1. She made another appearance in the third, this time with sophomore Kendal Butterfield on third, and smacked her second home run of the game to give the Rams a 3-2 lead. The home runs were Greckel’s fourth and fifth on the season, and the game marked Greckel’s first multi-homer performance of 2012.
“She was 2-for-3, and even [in] the one at-bat that she didn’t get on, she really tagged the ball, so that was great to see her come on, and that is what we need out of our offense,” Fisher said. “We need them all firing on all cylinders.”
Sophomore Chelsea Biglow walked to start the sixth inning and then advanced to third on a double from freshman Haley David. Two batters later, sophomore Ashlie Ortega later reached on a fielder’s choice. David was out at third, but Biglow scored on the play to add CSU’s fourth run. The Bears added a run in the top of the seventh, but the Rams held on to walk away with the win.
CSU junior Kailey Snyder got her sixth start of the year in the circle and tossed her fifth complete game. The game marked Snyder’s second time going the distance in the tournament, as she threw all 10 innings in a 3-2 extra-inning win over Santa Clara on Friday. Snyder held the Bears to three earned runs and six hits over six innings and struck out three.
Against UC Riverside, Biglow recorded the Rams’ only run with an RBI single to right in the second. Biglow now ranks second on the team in RBI (25).
The CSU pitching effort was comprised of three innings apiece for freshman starter Molly Randle and senior Kelli Eubanks. Randle allowed three hits through the first three innings, but the Highlanders got on the board in the top of the fourth with a double, walk and RBI single to begin the frame.
“[With] Molly being so young, she’s just got to keep working on consistency,” Fisher said. “She’s very talented, and we know she’s just going to keep getting better and better.”
Eubanks replaced Randle after the RBI single, but UC Riverside third-baseman Kaylie Atkinson doubled to right-center field to bring in two more. Both runs were charged to Randle, who drops to 0-6 on the year. In her three innings of relief, Eubanks did not allow a hit after the Atkinson double.
CSU is back in action on Wednesday, as the team returns to Fort Collins for its first home game since March 4, when it finished up the Colorado State Classic. The Rams welcome in-state rival Northern Colorado for the first of four non-conference matchups with the Bears on the schedule this season. First pitch at Ram Field is 4 p.m. MT. Admission to all CSU softball games is free of charge.
“We had a nice crowd last time at the home tournament, and so they’re really looking forward to that,” Fisher said.