April 29, 2012
By Meredith Danner
Athletic Media Relations
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - After taking two out of three from Boise State last weekend, the Colorado State softball team completed its first three-game sweep of a Mountain West team this year, defeating UNLV, 5-3, in the series finale on Sunday at Eller Media Stadium. The sweep marks the first time the Rams have taken all three games in a conference series since 2010, when they won all three matchups with New Mexico.
The Rams improved to 25-22 overall and ended the day with a winning conference record (5-4 MW). CSU opened conference play by being swept by defending champion San Diego State, but the Rams have rebounded to win back-to-back MW series and move into third place in the standings. UNLV extended its current losing streak to eight games with the sweep and dropped to 19-24 overall (0-6 MW).
"It's a great feeling," CSU Head Coach Jen Fisher said about her team completing the sweep. "I'm just really happy for all the ladies that stuck it out through last year and really learned a lot and gained a lot of experience. They only came out with one conference win last year, so it's great to come in here and sweep somebody, let alone on the road."
CSU sophomore Emily Pohl, who hit a three-run home run in Saturday's 8-0 victory, moved into first place in that category on Sunday with her ninth jack of the year. With freshman Shae Rodriguez on base, Pohl drove one over the left field wall to give the Rams a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
"Emily has just really done a great job leading," Fisher said. "She's really aggressive and consistent. It's just so important to have someone that's consistently a really tough out. She's showing that she's a forced to be reckoned with, for sure."
After the Pohl home run, the teams combined for just three hits until the fifth inning. UNLV scored a run on an RBI single and two additional runs on an RBI triple from senior Paige Emerson, giving the Rebels a 3-2 lead. Aside from the two-hit, three-run fifth inning, CSU starter Kacie McCarthy
gave up only a single in the fourth and faced the minimum three batters in each of the other five innings. McCarthy fanned five and walked two in her 15th win of 2012 and second win of the weekend.
"Kacie's been a little bit unlucky on her second game of a series so far in this conference, but she continues to have great outings," Fisher said. "This was really important for her to have a great outing today because it really proved to her that she can go out and win two games of a series."
UNLV sophomore Amanda Oliveto, who pitched 17.2 total innings over the thee-game series, tossed a complete game as well and gave up two earned runs out of CSU's five total.
"Oliveto had a great game today," Fisher said. "She was really tough. She probably couldn't have had a better outing than what she had today. She forced a lot of ground balls."
Facing a 3-2 deficit and two outs in the bottom of the sixth, the Rams got back in the game with two runs after freshman Haley David struck out and reached first safely on a dropped third strike. Sophomore Ashlie Ortega came to the plate next and helped the Rams capitalize on the dropped strike with a two-RBI double. Sophomore Cassy Mosser and David scored on the play, both unearned.
"I think we continue to find ways to win, and that hustle play was really big for us," Fisher said. "Haley David's a threat on the bases, any time she gets on, no matter how she gets on, so she scored from first on Ortega's double."
Senior Lyssa Roberts capped off the series in the seventh with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a throwing error by Emerson. Pohl scored on the hit to give the Rams a 5-3 lead. McCarthy then retired the first three batters of the bottom of the frame to seal the win and the series sweep for CSU.
The Rams will play their final non-conference game of the year on Wednesday, when they take on in-state rival Northern Colorado in Greeley to wrap up the four-game season series. CSU has won the previous three matchups by a combined 24-8 margin. First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 5 p.m. MT.
"Although it's non-conference, it's really important for us to be playing our best ball," Fisher said. "I'm sure they're going to give us a really good test on Wednesday. Whether we're really building a lot of momentum or we're giving ourselves a chance to get into the postseason doesn't really matter. The girls want to win either way."