May 10, 2012
By Nic Hallisey
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo.—With an opportunity to secure second place in the conference, the Colorado State Rams (28-22, 7-4 MW) took two giant steps toward that milestone Thursday with a pair of wins against the New Mexico Lobos (27-24, 2-9 MW) at Ram Field. The afternoon double header was dramatic, as both victories ended in walk-off fashion.
Game 1: CSU 8, New Mexico 0 (5 innings)
CSU received more than enough output from the top half of its order, as Ashlie Ortega, Lyssa Roberts and Shae Rodriguez—batters No. 1 through 3 in the lineup—went a combined 5-for-8, scoring four and driving in five in CSU’s 8-0 win.
In the circle was Kacie McCarthy, who made her 22nd start of the year. She tossed all five innings, recording her fourth shutout of the season. It was the fourth time the Rams have held their opponent scoreless, and the fifth time CSU has been on the upper hand of the NCAA mercy rule.
McCarthy surrendered just three hits in the win. She struck out six, all within the first three innings.
The Rams jumped out to an early lead, scoring three times in the opening frame. After Ortega singled to right field, Roberts walked and Rodriguez reached on a throwing error by second baseman Dani Castro. Ortega came around on the overthrow. Roberts scored on Emily Pohl’s sac fly, and the second error of the inning allowed Rodriguez to plate.
The Rams extended their lead in the second inning, ultimately building an insurmountable gap. After back-to-back walks, New Mexico replaced starting pitcher Carrie Sheehan with Kaela Debroeck.
The pitching change didn’t affect CSU, however, as the next three batters all reached safely. Ortega singled to left field—plating Cassie Mosser; Roberts singled up the middle—bringing in two runs; and Rodriguez doubled to right-center.
CSU completed the game in the fifth inning, beginning with an Alysa Greckel single, which deflected of the pitcher’s glove. Mosser and Taylor Hutton then each walked to load the bases for Ortega. On the first pitch, Sheehan—who reentered the game—threw an illegal pitch which allowed pinch runner Haley David to score. One pitch later, Ortega hit a sacrifice fly, bringing home Mosser for the winning run.
Game 2: CSU 6, New Mexico 5
The nightcap of the double header again ended with a walk-off, this time in a more unconventional way. Tied at 5-5 with one out, Kendal Butterfield and Mosser got the inning going with consecutive base hits. Two batters later, Ortega walked to load the bases, bringing up Roberts, who on the third pitch was hit in the leg to bring in Butterfield as the winning run.
“I’ve never had a game end like that,” Roberts said. “That’s a newbie for me. I can say I did that in my career now.”
The game started out rocky for the Rams, as three of the first four New Mexico batters hit home runs. Starter Kailey Snyder was then replaced by McCarthy, who pitched the remainder of the contest and picked up the win.
“I was proud of Kacie,” Fisher said. “She really pitched well against a very solid hitting team. She had a good gut-check at the end when we left her in.”
CSU got two runs back in the first, and one in the second. A fifth-inning Chelsea Biglow home run to left field knotted the score at 4-4, and an inning later Roberts scored from first base to make it 5-5.
“Coming out and crushing a team the first game, you know they’re going to come out hard, if not harder, the second game,” Roberts said. “I think we’ve done a good job all season being prepared for whatever and playing our game.”
With the pair of wins, CSU can finish second in the Mountain West with a win Friday.
- The last time CSU finished the season second or better was in 2004, when the Rams took first in the MW with a 16-4 record.
- 2012 marks the first time the Rams will have a winning record in conference play since 2004.
- CSU has won six consecutive games, dating back to April 27. The streak is tied for the fifth-longest in program history, and the longest since 2010.
“We had a lot of butterflied this morning,” Fisher said. “I told my staff that these are good butterflies because we’re in a good position. The types of players and student-athletes we have here is great. They’re good students, they’re good role models, they’re good players . . . we feel really good about where we’re going and the direction our program is headed.”
Anticipating wet weather on Friday, the Rams moved their double header to Thursday. CSU will conclude its 2012 season Friday at 11 a.m. at Ram Field. Prior to the game against New Mexico, CSU will honor its graduating seniors, Kelli Eubanks and Lyssa Roberts.
“I’m excited,” Roberts said. “This has been an incredible season, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
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