March 30, 2014
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State softball team completed its sweep of Boise State on Sunday with a 12-4 victory in six innings. The win brings the Rams’ overall record to 18-9 and evens their conference mark at 3-3.
“We needed this for our confidence,” Head Coach Jen Fisher said. “Within the conference, everyone is winning at home. It’s been tough to win on the road, so being at home, this was a huge series for us.”
Once again, offense and defense were in tune, allowing for the Rams to score early and hold on to their lead.
In the bottom of the first, CSU would score twice thanks to a home run by Danielle Wikre. The deep blast to left field was the junior’s team-leading seventh of the season.
“That was huge,” Fisher said of Wikre’s home run. “She works so hard and sees the ball well. That gave us a big lift early, and allowed Holly (Reinke) to pitch more comfortably while in front.”
Boise State (17-16, 2-4 MW) would respond with one run in the second, but in the Rams’ half of the inning they would plate five, gaining a 7-1 advantage.
Following a Chelsea O’Connor double and Jaelyn Manzanares hit by pitch, pinch hitter Taylor Hutton singled through the left side to load the bases. The Rams got their first run of the inning on a fielder’s choice, and blew the game open one batter later with a Shae Rodriguez grand slam off the right-field scoreboard.
“I don’t think there is anybody who is more focused and understands the game better,” Fisher said. “She’s like having another coach because all of her teammates want to hit with her because she communicates well and helps them in a positive way. I’m really happy for her; she’s worked hard to make adjustments, and she’s a threat as a hitter.”
Boise State’s MacKenzie Whyte hit a two-run home run in the third, and the Broncos would put three runs on the board, but that would be the last of their offense.
Rodriguez walked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third – her fifth RBI of the game – to bring the score to 8-4, and both teams would be held scoreless for the next two-and-a-half innings.
Finally in the bottom of the sixth, the Rams scored four times to run-rule Boise State. CSU played small ball with a bunt single, two walks and a fielder’s choice to score twice, and then with two runners on, O’Connor hit a deep double off the left-field fence, scoring Alysa Greckel and Wikre to end the game.
Holly Reinke (9-4) pitched for the Rams, earning her second complete-game victory of the weekend and bouncing back from three tough losses last week in which she recorded a 0.98 ERA. Reinke allowed six hits and walked three, but retired 11 of the final 15 batters, not allowing a run.
At the plate, Rodriguez reached base three times and O’Connor had three hits and two RBI. Haley Hutton, Ashlie Ortega and Wikre each scored twice. As a team, the Rams’ 12 runs were a season high.
“I think we were stalled on offense last weekend,” Fisher said. “On paper we really weren’t playing badly, but we made some small adjustments this week and it showed. Now we need to build off of this weekend.”
CSU will remain at home for four non-conference games, including a rematch against Northern Colorado (Tuesday) and a three-game set vs. UTEP (Saturday-Sunday). Admission to each game is free.
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