April 4, 2012
By Meredith Danner
Athletic Media Relations
GREELEY, Colo. – The Rams made the short trip to Butler-Hancock Softball Field on Wednesday to take on in-state rival Northern Colorado and scored double-digit runs for the fifth time this year as they cruised to a 10-6 victory. The game marked the second in a four-game non-conference series scheduled with the Bears this season.
With the 18-hit win, the Rams improved their overall record to 18-18 (0-0 Mountain West), marking their first time having a .500 winning percentage since Feb. 11, when they evened their record to 2-2 with a win over Cal State Fullerton. Northern Colorado dropped to 17-18 overall (2-2 Pacific Coast Softball Conference) with the loss. The win also gives CSU a 2-0 edge in the season series after defeating the Bears, 8-0, in five innings in Fort Collins last Wednesday.
“I think we were going up the middle a lot,” CSU Head Coach Jen Fisher said. “We had a couple hits that had eyes. You’ve got to feel good when you string 18 hits together in a day. I think we were almost hitting the ball really hard on the ground or on the line.”
The Rams jumped out to an early lead, putting up five runs in the top of the first. Sophomore Ashlie Ortega led off the game with a solo home run to right-center that hit the scoreboard and later drew a walk when the lineup batted around, causing Northern Colorado to replace starter Megan Wilkinson.
“It was a really nice shot,” Fisher said about the Ortega home run. “For us to get five in the first and really jump out on them like that was really a positive for us.”
Sophomores Alysa Greckel and Chelsea Biglow also knocked in runs in the first. Biglow advanced on an error to bring two around in her respective at-bat and later scored when sophomore Cassy Mosser reached on an error by the UNC third-baseman.
With a 5-1 lead, CSU added two runs in the third and three more in the sixth, all via singles. RBI singles accounted for seven of the Rams’ 18 hits in the game.
“We weren’t really able to lift the ball up today, but we’ve been finding a lot of different ways to win, so that’s another example of that,” Fisher said. “We won with a lot of line-drive base hits and hard grounders up the middle.”
CSU junior Kailey Snyder made her seventh start of the year in the circle and gave up six earned runs, including a two-run home run in the fifth inning, to pick up her sixth win of the year. At 6-0, Snyder remains the only pitcher on the staff who has not received a losing decision this season.
“Kailey’s very sound and plays great defensively,” Fisher said. “I thought she settled in really nicely right away in the first inning, which was great to see out of her. The defense played very well behind her, and she forced a lot of what I’d consider marginal contact. She got a lot of pop-ups. They did hit the ball hard a few times for sure, but she really did a nice job keeping those hard hits few and far between.”
Senior Kelli Eubanks entered the game in relief of Snyder and pitched the final inning after the first two batters of the UNC seventh reached base. The Bears threatened to rally with two outs when both runners came around to score, but Eubanks dismissed the final batter to seal the win for CSU.
The Rams and Bears will face off again next Wednesday, once again in Fort Collins, in CSU’s final game before beginning its Mountain West Conference schedule. First pitch at Ram Field is slated for 4 p.m. MT. Admission to all CSU softball games is free of charge.
“Every time we can get a win, it’s just a great feeling for this team,” Fisher said. “They’re really starting to believe in themselves more and turn things around from last year. Also, we want to make sure we’re trying to be as sharp as we can as we get into conference play. We’re really in the late part of our season once we start conference, and we want to be playing well at that point.”