Softball preview: Rams travel to San Diego for challenging tournament

CSU is off to its best start since 2008, with a 7-3 record.

CSU is off to its best start since 2008, with a 7-3 record.

Feb. 27, 2014

Weekly Release (PDF) | Tournament Central

San Diego Classic I | Feb. 28-March 2 | San Diego, Calif.

Game 11: Colorado State vs. Utah | Friday, Feb. 28 | 10 a.m. MT | Live Stats
Game 12: Colorado State vs. No. 2 Tennessee | Friday, Feb. 28 | 12:30 p.m. MT | Live Stats
Game 13: Colorado State vs. Grand Canyon | Saturday, March 1 | 12:30 p.m. MT | Live Stats
Game 14: Colorado State vs. BYU | Saturday, March 1 | 3 p.m. MT | Live Stats
Game 15: Colorado State vs. Ole Miss | Sunday, March 2 | 10 a.m. MT | Live Stats
Game 16: Colorado State vs. Lehigh | Sunday, March 2 | 3 p.m. MT | Live Stats

TOURNAMENT FIELD
The Colorado State softball program returns to tournament play Friday after a weekend break, facing six opponents in San Diego, Calif., at the San Diego Classic I.

  • Utah holds a 6-4 record three weeks into the season. During the season’s opening weekend, the Rams came from behind to defeat Utah, 11-5. Against the Utes, the Rams produced their most runs in a single game (11), most hits (12), most home runs (3) and most total bases (23).
  • Tennessee starts out the 2014 season with a perfect 13-0 record and ranked No. 2 in both national polls. Senior pitcher Ellen Renfroe has started six games and appeared in eight, posting a 0.31 ERA, seven wins, one save and has struck out 61. Current Ram Chelsea O’Connor began her collegiate career at Tennessee.
  • Grand Canyon holds an 8-8 record early in 2014. Senior pitcher/utility player Stephani Pesqueira leads the team with a .538 batting average over 13 at-bats. Pesqueira has hit two doubles, one home run and has brought in nine runs.
  • BYU enters the weekend with a 6-9 record. Freshman infielder Ashley Thompson leads the team with a .472 batting average over 36 at-bats, posting two doubles, 16 RBI and 10 walks. The last time the Cougars faced the Rams was on Feb.7, 2013 at the Red Desert Classic, a 4-1 CSU victory.
  • Ole Miss holds an overall record of 11-6. Senior pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter defends the team with a 1.19 ERA over 35.1 innings. Fenter has recorded 42 strikeouts and has allowed 24 hits, seven runs and 16 walks.
  • Lehigh enters its second tournament of the season, beginning the year 0-4. The Mountain Hawks ended their 2013 campaign 36-16-1 overall and were picked to finish first in the Patriot League preseason poll.  


RECAPPING THE UTSA CLASSIC
The Rams earned their first walk-off win of the season on Feb. 14, scoring four times in the bottom of the seventh to overcome a 2-0 deficit. After tying the score on an Ashlie Ortega triple, senior Chelsea O’Connor pounded a two-run home run that would secure the victory. During the second game, sophomore Jaelyn Manzanares had two RBI, but the Rams’ rally fell short, falling to Oklahoma State, 6-3.

During Day 2, CSU defeated both Wichita State, 8-3, and host UTSA, 6-4. Against the Shockers, O’Connor again took the spotlight, hitting a grand slam. During the nightcap, Danielle Wikre went 3-for-3 at the plate, and starting pitcher Molly Randle did double duty, recording her first double of the year and pitching five innings. CSU dropped the final decision of the weekend, falling to Rutgers, 10-6, despite a three-run home run from Chelsea Biglow.

HARD TO BEAT
CSU won its first four games of the season – a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since the 1997 WAC championship team – and at 7-3, is off to its best start since 2008.

Through 10 games, CSU is out-scoring its opponents, 57-38, and averaging 5.7 runs per game.  Both Ashlie Ortega and Chelsea O’Connor have hit a grand slam, recording one slam for each tournament. Major home run production continued during the season’s second week, with four players – Chelsea O’Connor, Danielle Wikre, Jaelyn Manzanares, and Chelsea Biglow – hitting one out of the park. The five home runs combined to score 13 of the 27 total runs at the UTSA Classic. Defensively, the Rams posted 99 putouts and the solid pitching rotation struck out 21 batters, allowing 7.4 hits per game.

MOUNTAIN WEST HONOR
Congratulations to sophomore pitcher, Holly Reinke, who was honored on Feb. 18 as being the Mountain West Pitcher of the Week. Reinke helped the Rams to three wins in the UTSA classic, earning two wins and picking up a save. The Littleton, Colo., native limited opponents to two earned runs over 12 innings (1.17 ERA), and a .186 batting average. She holds a perfect 4-0 record this season, in addition to a shutout, 1.20 ERA and 20 strikeouts.

SPOTLIGHT ON CHELSEA O’CONNOR
The native of Windsor, Colo., sat out during the 2013 season after transferring from Boston. Now as a senior, O’Connor has lit up the plate in both tournaments. During the Kajikawa Classic, she went 2-for-4 with two RBI in a win over Bradley. O’Connor expanded further during the UTSA Classic, hitting a walk-off, two-run home run in the first game against Rutgers. On the second day of the tournament, against Wichita State, O’Connor knocked her first grand slam, helping to win 8-3. She currently holds a .313 batting average, with 10 RBI and a .563 batting average.


 

 

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