April 28, 2012
By Meredith Danner
Athletic Media Relations
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Rams took the second of three games against the Rebels and guaranteed the series win on Saturday, shutting out Mountain West-rival UNLV, 8-0, in five innings in a matchup televised by the MountainWest Sports Network. CSU will go into the series finale with a 2-0 edge in the series and has a chance to complete the sweep on Sunday at Eller Media Stadium.
CSU improved to 24-22 overall and evened its conference record at 4-4 within the MW. The Rams also incurred the NCAA mercy rule, which ends a game when a team is ahead by eight or more runs after at least five innings, for the fourth time this year. The last time the Rams forced the rule was on March 28, when they defeated Northern Colorado, 8-0, in five innings in Fort Collins. The last-place Rebels dropped to 19-23 with the loss. UNLV remains winless in conference play (0-5 MW).
Sophomore Ashlie Ortega got the Rams' four-run first inning going with a solo home run to lead off the inning and the game. Shae Rodriguez and Kendal Butterfield drew subsequent walks, and both came around on sophomore Emily Pohl's eighth home run of the year, a three-run shot to right center. UNLV starter and Littleton, Colo. native Jessica O'Conner did not record an out and was replaced by sophomore Amanda Oliveto after Pohl's homer.
"We felt good. We continued to challenge," CSU Head Coach Jen Fisher said. "I was really happy with how we made adjustments on Oliveto, and I think we hit her a little bit better than we did yesterday."
The Rams added to their 4-0 lead in the second. Rodriguez and Pohl brought in a run apiece with an RBI single and bases-loaded walk, respectively. Sophomores Alysa Greckel
and Chelsea Biglow
also collected RBI singles to give the Rams enough of a lead to end the game in five innings.
CSU accumulated nine hits in the game and hit into a double play in the third and fourth innings. UNLV ranks first in the conference in fielding double plays with 21.
"Those two double plays were really important for them to lock us down," Fisher said.
CSU junior and Santa Barbara City College transfer Kailey Snyder made her ninth start in the circle, but also made her third start in the batting order. At the plate, Snyder went 1-for-2, including a single up the middle to start the third inning and one run scored.
"She's a really good athlete," Fisher said. "She's continued to work on her offense and develop it, so we went ahead and let her hit. She did everything in junior college and continues to transition really well. She's also a very good defensive player and a good hitter."
Freshman Danielle Wikre pinch hit for Snyder in the fifth in order to, according to Fisher, allow Snyder to focus on completing the shutout in the bottom of the frame. Snyder, who improved to 9-0 with the victory, allowed just four hits from the UNLV offense and struck out four in her seventh complete game of 2012.
The Rams will look to complete the sweep of UNLV on Sunday at 2 p.m. MT. A win would give CSU its first three-game sweep of the season and a winning conference record.
"They worked just as hard last year," Fisher said, referring to the team's 8-43 finish and 1-14 conference record in 2011. "I'm just enjoying it for them because you can see the confidence growing, and they're really understanding that the hard work is paying off. It's much more enjoyable when they can see it pay off in the win column. These are big wins for us out here at UNLV, which is historically a very solid program, especially being on the road for us."
Fans not able to catch Saturday's game on The Mtn. will have three chances to see a replay. The first replay will air on Saturday at 8 p.m. MT, and the other two can be seen at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday. The Mtn. is located at channel 616 on DirecTV and channel 411 on Comcast in Fort Collins and Denver.