April 27, 2012
By Meredith Danner
Athletic Media Relations
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Colorado State softball team faced off with the UNLV Rebels to begin its third series within the Mountain West on Friday and notched its third conference win of the season. Thanks in part to a grand slam from CSU’s Shae Rodriguez and another solid pitching performance from junior Kacie McCarthy, the Rams took Game 1 by a score of 5-2.
CSU moved back above .500 with the win and is now 23-22 on the season (3-4 MW). The victory also marked the Rams’ first road win since April 4, when they defeated Northern Colorado, 10-6, in Greeley. UNLV, meanwhile, dropped to 19-22 and is still currently winless in conference action (0-4 MW).
“They were relaxed, but extremely focused,” CSU Head Coach Jen Fisher said about the team’s performance on Friday. “We really liked their preparation all week. They came out playing hard. This team is really competitive and they want to win.”
The game remained scoreless through the first four innings, but in the top of the fifth, the Rams capitalized on a bases-loaded situation and broke it open with one swing. Freshman Taylor Hutton led off the inning with a single to left-center field, and with an early jump, advanced safely to second when sophomore Ashlie Ortega reached on a fielder’s choice. Sophomore Kendal Butterfield was then hit by a pitch to load the bases and bring Rodriguez to the plate with no outs.
“We’re just really happy about the little things we did well to even put Shae in that position to hit that grand slam,” Fisher said.
On a 1-2 count, Rodriguez smacked one over the right-field wall. The homer was Rodriguez’s third of the season and first CSU-career grand slam.
“She just turned on it and it stayed fair,” Fisher said. “I was a little worried when it went up that it might have been foul, but it was actually five or ten feet fair, so we were really excited.”
In the sixth, Ortega added the Rams’ fifth run with her 22nd RBI of the year, a single to left-center field.
McCarthy, now 14-8, tossed her 14th complete game of the season and did not allow a hit until the bottom of the fifth. The Rebels threatened in the bottom of the seventh by scoring two runs, both unearned, but UNLV junior Tayler Aleman was tagged out at first base to end the game and prevent the comeback. McCarthy walked three and fanned five, giving up just three hits.
The Rams will look to take the second game and win the series on Saturday as they take on the Rebels at 2 p.m. MT. The game will be televised on The Mtn. (DirecTV channel 616, Comcast channel 411 in Fort Collins and Denver). Fans not able to see the live game on Saturday can catch one of three replays, which will air at 8 p.m. MT Saturday evening and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday.