April 25, 2014
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Going up against the top pitcher in the Mountain West, the Colorado State softball team was stymied Friday night, falling to the Aztecs, 10-2, in five innings.
The loss drops the Rams (29-12, 10-6 MW) a half-game behind Fresno State atop the conference standings. The Bulldogs were idle on Friday due to weather, and will play a double header vs. UNLV Saturday. San Diego State (33-14, 10-6 MW) is now tied with CSU for second place.
"We thought we had a good plan going in," Head Coach Jen Fisher said. "We got runners on and in scoring position, but going up against a good team and a good pitcher like that, we have to play close to perfect. We did what we could offensively to at least challenge and be in the game. Defensively, we didn't get it done."
CSU has won five games via a mercy rule this season, but Friday was the first time the Rams have been on the losing end of a shortened game.
In what was expected to be a pitcher’s duel, San Diego State’s Danielle O’Toole rose to the challenge, holding the Rams to two runs. O’Toole leads the league in wins and ERA, while CSU ace Holly Reinke ranks second in ERA and third in wins.
CSU kept up with San Diego State, recording nine hits – to the Aztecs’ 10 – but couldn’t plate the runners, leaving nine on base. Seniors Chelsea Biglow and Alysa Greckel each had two hits, with Greckel driving in Biglow in the fifth inning.
"O'Toole did a good job of limiting damage," Fisher said. "You may be able to match them or out-hit them, but good pitchers find ways to shut you down without allowing you to score."
CSU got out to an early lead when junior outfielder Shae Rodriguez walked and Chelsea O’Connor tripled.
The Aztec’s first five batters in the bottom of the first inning reached base, leading to four runs. They followed their four-run first up with two runs each of the following innings.
CSU had the bases loaded in the third, and two runners on in both the second and fourth, but came away scoreless each time.
Reinke was tagged with the loss (17-6), allowing five earned runs over three innings. Junior Molly Randle pitched the fourth, surrendering two runs.
The series continues Saturday, with a 2 p.m. first pitch. A live video stream can be accessed through the Mountain West Network.
"I think we have to be more confident to play and pitch our game," Fisher said. "Offensively, we have to continue what we started today by hitting into the gaps, working deep into the count and taking the walks where we can get them."
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