April 20, 2013
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Colorado State softball team captured a pair of key Mountain West victories on Saturday afternoon, sweeping the first two games of three-game series against conference-newcomer Fresno State at Mountain Lion Field on the campus of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
The Rams opened the day with a dramatic 3-2 come-from-behind victory that saw the team rally with two runs in the final frame. In Game 2, the Rams blasted three home runs in a six-run fourth inning, including a Haley David grand slam, to pull away for the 7-4 victory.
With the victories, the Rams improved to 20-19 overall and slid into a tie for first place in the Mountain West standings with San Diego State at 6-2 in league play after the Aztecs split a Saturday double header at Boise State.
Game 1: Colorado State 3, Fresno State 2
Senior hurler Kacie McCarthy (15-9) continued her stellar play in the circle for the Rams, collecting a complete-game victory while giving up just two runs on three hits and notching six strikeouts in the Rams’ Game 1 victory.
“I think that Kacie pitched a great game,” said Head Coach Jen Fisher. “It was a pitchers’ duel. There were just a few hits; you could count them on one hand combined.”
But despite a strong outing by Fresno State starter Jill Compton (11-12), the Rams were able to muster just enough offense to pull out the victory.
After falling behind 1-0 in the second inning, CSU junior third baseman hit her first home run of the day, blasting a solo shot that just cleared the right-field fence to lead off the fifth inning and tie the game, 1-1.
Fresno State regained the lead, 2-1, with a two-out rally in the top of the seventh, but the Rams answered, once again, when junior second baseman Cassy Mosser notched the walk-off single to left field that plated Biglow and Molly Randle, who pinch ran for junior first baseman Alysa Greckel.
“Cassy came up with a clutch hit,” said Fisher. “It was awesome for her, because all last week that is what we were up against (at Nevada). We had multiple opportunities to win, and we were fighting from behind. So, I was just proud of the way the ladies fought from behind and didn’t get down after going through what we did last weekend.”
Game 2: Colorado State 7, Fresno State 4
In Game 2, the Rams offense power was on full display, giving plenty of run support to freshman pitcher Holly Reinke who settled in after a three-run first inning by the visiting Bulldogs.
“(Holly) had a rough time finding the zone (early in the game), but she’s worked really hard the past couple weeks on two pitches that she needs, and she used them both today,” said Fisher. “I was really happy for her, that she was able to keep her mental game really solid. She has been working really hard on that too. It was a great feeling to get her settled in, and get her a longer outing.”
Working with freshman battery mate Jaelyn Manzanares behind the plate, Reinke picked up her fifth victory of the season, allowing just four runs on seven hits while striking out five batters.
“I thought Jaelyn did an excellent job with her,” said Fisher of the first-year catcher’s effort. “I was very proud of the way she was working to shut their running game down as much as she did, and she was really working the umpire and helping Holly and that was great to see out of two freshmen.
Biglow was key to the Rams’ offense again in Game 2, leading off the second inning with a triple and scoring one batter late on a sacrifice fly by Greckel to pull the Rams’ to within 3-1 in the second inning. The Tigard, Ore., native then triggered the Rams’ six-run fourth inning with a leadoff home run, her second long ball of the day, to pull CSU to within one run, 3-2. Greckel followed Biglow’s blast with a game-tying solo shot of her own.
“It was a big lift, any time you do that.” said Fisher of the back-to-back home runs by Biglow and Greckel. “Hitting is contagious.”
Kendal Butterfield and Manzanares followed up the home runs with singles in the frame, and junior shortstop Ashlie Ortega loaded the bases with a one-out walk, setting the table for Haley David’s dramatic grand slam home run that all but sealed the victory for the Rams.
“For Haley to hit that grand slam with two strikes on her is just big time,” added Fisher. “Those things definitely help the confidence, and help you get things going. Now we just need to get everybody firing on all cylinders and we’re getting closer.”
Fresno State manufactured one more run in the top of the fifth inning, but Reinke and the Rams’ defense shut down the rally.
McCarthy earned her first save of the season, pitching a perfect seventh inning in relief of Reinke to preserve the Rams’ victory.
The Rams and Bulldogs return to the diamond for the series finale tomorrow afternoon. First pitch at Mountain Lion Field is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT. Admission and parking is free, and Gametracker live stats are available at www.CSURams.com.
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