May 9, 2014
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State softball team will enter the final day of the regular season with the chance to win its first Mountain West championship since 2004.
In order to do so, a lot still has to go the Rams’ way, but following a 7-4 victory over San José State Friday afternoon, the Rams remain in contention.
The Rams (32-15, 13-9 MW) out-hit the Spartans, 11-6, including three from senior Ashlie Ortega. She had two RBI, as did senior Alysa Greckel and junior Danielle Wikre.
CSU took a 2-1 lead in the first, the initial run coming on a Chelsea O’Connor double. It was her 66th RBI of the season, tying a single-season program record with Sarah Fredstrom (1997). San José State (28-24, 11-11 MW) scored three times in the fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead, but the Rams rallied for four in the bottom of the sixth to turn the tables.
One of Greckel's RBI came on her second home run of the season, while Wikre's pair came during the Rams' big sixth inning.
"I think the early runs gave us a good lift," Head Coach Jen Fisher said. "(Greckel)'s been due for that for awhile, because she's been hitting the ball hard and making a lot of loud outs. It was good to see her get all of that one, and it encouraged us that we could get runs on board."
Holly Reinke earned her 20th win of the season (20-9), tied for third-most in program history. She allowed three earned runs and struck out two.
Friday’s second game was suspended entering the sixth inning due to darkness. The game will pick back up at 10 a.m. Saturday with the Rams trailing, 9-6. CSU’s regular-season finale – originally scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday – will begin immediately following.
Trailing 2-0 early, freshman Haley Hutton hit a second-inning grand slam – her third home run of the season – to put the Rams on top. San José State would rally for four runs over the next two innings, however, to regain the lead. The game was then delayed for approximately 50 minutes due to rain.
Immediately after the delay, CSU scored twice to tie the score at 6-6 after four innings of play. Kendal Butterfield walked with one out prior to the delay, and after the tarp was pulled, Hutton singled to put runners at second and third. Junior outfielder Shae Rodriguez then hit a two-run single to center to tie the game.
The Spartans scored three two-out runs in the top of the fifth to regain the lead, putting the score at 9-6 when the game was suspended.
Following Saturday’s second game, the team will honor its six seniors – Butterfield, Chelsea Biglow, Greckel, O’Connor, Ortega and Emily Pohl.
With two wins Saturday and a Boise State victory over San Diego State, the Rams will clinch a share of their first conference title since 2004. However, if Fresno State and UNLV also lose, CSU can win the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. It would be the Rams’ first postseason appearance since winning the MW tournament in 2003.
"The focus is a win," Fisher said. "It's been like that for a long time. I know these ladies want to win, so it's a chance to gather ourselves since we're down three. We have to regroup and get people on base one pitch at a time."
Regardless of what plays out on the field Saturday, CSU has already earned the most victories since 2004, the fifth-best winning percentage in program history, and the third-best home winning percentage.
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