Softball preview: CSU set for Cathedral City Classic

Sophomore Kendal Butterfield

Sophomore Kendal Butterfield

Feb. 21, 2012

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Cathedral City Classic…
The Rams head to California this week for the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, beginning their third tournament of the 2012 season. The action starts on Thursday when CSU takes on Long Beach State at 7 p.m. MT. Friday, the Rams will play just once, facing the Iowa State Cyclones at 11 a.m. MT. The rest of the weekend includes matchups with Northwestern on Saturday at 1 p.m. and a two-game schedule on Sunday. They will face Ohio State and Oregon State back-to-back, beginning at 10 a.m. MT.

Previously...
CSU spent last weekend in Las Cruces, N.M., at the Troy Cox Classic and finished with a 1-4 record on the tournament and a 3-7 record overall. The Rams fell to Stephen F. Austin, 9-4, and faced then-No. 22/24 Nebraska later that day. CSU freshman pitcher Molly Randle gave up two runs in the first inning against the Nebraska, but held them to just two additional runs through the fifth. The Cornhuskers, however, would go on to score six more runs in the final half-inning to secure a 10-2 win in six innings. Day 2 of the Classic proved to be a better day for the Rams, as they held a potent New Mexico State offense at bay in a 5-2 loss and later erupted for 15 runs and a victory against Weber State. CSU’s Kacie McCarthy delivered solid pitching throughout the day, pitching a combined nine innings between the two games. McCarthy shut out the NMSU Aggies through four innings before giving up three in the fifth and two in the sixth. The Rams scored early and often in the game against Weber State; their 15 runs represent the highest offensive output since a 13-10 loss to Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 10. Sophomore Alysa Greckel went 3-for-4 in the game with five RBI and came around to tie the game at 14 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Greckel later drew a bases-loaded walk to end the game in eight innings and secure a 15-14 win in the Rams’ first extra-inning game of the year. CSU faced off against NMSU in a rematch on Sunday and again kept the Aggie offense low, but the Rams ultimately could not overcome the deficit and lost, 4-1.


 

 

Long Beach State...
The Rams faced Long Beach State at the Cathedral City Classic in 2010 and won, 3-2, giving them a 3-2 edge in the all-time series between the teams. The 49ers come to Palm Springs with a 5-5 overall record after going 2-3 at the Lousiville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. Their two wins at the Classic came against Indiana and Memphis. The team swept Big West Player/Pitcher of the Week honors this week; sophomore Hannah De Gaetano batted .500 with two home runs in Las Vegas to pick up Player of the Week honors, while sophomore Erin Jones-Wesley earned both of LBSU’s wins to bring her overall record to 5-1.

Iowa State...
The Cyclones and the Rams will both have an opportunity to take the lead in the all-time series record, which stand at 2-2. The teams last met in a doubleheader in 2007; the Rams won the first game, 4-0, before falling in the second game, 6-1. Iowa State enters the tournament with a 2-6 record and will look to snap a five-game losing streak. On Feb. 12, the team picked up its two wins against Green Bay and Western Illinois.

Northwestern...
The Wildcats were scheduled to play five games at the Mardi Gras Invite, hosted by Louisiana-Lafayette, but rain and flash-flood warnings caused the cancellation of two games. With the games against UTEP and North Carolina cancelled, Northwestern left Lafayette with a 1-2 record on the tournament. The team has faced three ranked opponents so far and won one of those matchups, picking up a win against No. 17 Texas A&M. The Wildcats lost to No. 20 Louisiana-Lafayette, as well as defending NCAA champion, No. 1 Arizona State. After two weekends of play, Northwestern comes to Palm Springs with a 3-5 record.

Ohio State...
The Buckeyes went 4-1 in Las Vegas last weekend, the wins strung together to give them a four-game winning streak heading into this weekend. Last season, the squad finished with a 14-37 record and finished last in the Big 10 with a 3-17 record against the conference. Head coach Linda Kalafatis returns for her 16th season at the helm of the program with a 507-335 record at OSU.

Oregon State...
The Beavers once again play host to the Cathedral City Classic and will look to build upon a 7-3 record, which is their best start in five years. The OSU offense has proved to be potent in the early going of the season; in the opening weekend of the season, the Beavers put up 59 runs in five games, 22 of those coming in the season opener against former Mountain West member BYU. The 22-run explosion is good for a single-game school record. The Beavers lead the all-time series with the Rams, 4-1. CSU’s only win came in 1994, the first-ever matchup between the two schools.

Last time in Palm Springs...
CSU last played at the Cathedral City Classic in 2010 and defeated Pacific, Cal State Fullerton and 2012 opponent Long Beach State. The Rams’ two losses came against UCLA and California.

Strength of schedule...
Currently, five of the Rams’ 2012 opponents are ranked or receiving votes in the two national softball polls. Their current record against ranked opponents is 0-3, the most recent decision coming in a 10-2 loss against then-No. 22/24 Nebraska. CSU will not face a team with national votes or a ranking at the Cathedral City Classic this weekend.

Beefed-up bullpen...
Last season was a year of stuggle for the Ram pitching staff, which was made up of just four members. The team’s 2010 ace, Kelli Eubanks, started just three games after being sidelined by an elbow injury. Eubanks started two games at the Troy Cox Classic and received a loss in both decisions. Eubanks faced Stephen F. Austin and gave up five earned runs, the highest she has allowed this season. Her second start came against New Mexico State in the Rams’ rematch with the Aggies. Eubanks delivered a strong performance and gave up three earned runs, but the offense only scored one run in the 4-1 loss. Junior Kacie McCarthy also gave a strong performance in Las Crucess, pitching nine total innings against NMSU and Weber State on Saturday. McCarthy held NMSU scoreless through four innings in a 5-2 loss and later pitched four innings of shutout relief in CSU 15-14 win against Weber State in extras. With a runner placed on second per international tir-breaker rules, McCarthy walked one batter but ultimately struck out the side to keep the game tied at 14 and give the Rams a chance to beat the Wildcats in walkoff fashion.

Sophomores...
Alysa Greckel went 7-for-17 in Las Cruces and belted her first home run of the year. In the 15-14 win over Weber State, Greckel went 3-for-4 with five RBI. She recorded the first of CSU’s 11 hits with an RBI single in the first inning and followed up that appearance with an RBI double in the second and a two-RBI double in the third. Greckel was also responsible for both tying the game and driving in the winning run. Trailing 14-13, Greckel came around on an RBI groundout to tie the game and drew a bases-loaded walk in the eigth to bring in the 15th and final run of the game.

Fresh faces...
The 2012 roster is comprised of nine returners and 10 newcomers, which will provide a mixture of veteran Rams and fresh talent. Freshman Shae Rodriguez is the first player to reach double-digit RBI, leading the team with 10. Six of those RBI came at the Troy Cox Classic, including CSU’s only two runs against nationally-ranked Nebraska. Rodriguez also brought in the tying run against Weber State with an RBI groundout, allowing sophomore Alysa Greckel to score.

Against lefties...
The Rams’ three wins this season have all come against left-handed pitchers.

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