Softball preview: Rams set to host Colorado State Classic

The Colorado State softball team, off to its best start in six seasons, will host the Colorado State Classic this weekend, playing six games in three days. Admission to all games is free.

The Colorado State softball team, off to its best start in six seasons, will host the Colorado State Classic this weekend, playing six games in three days. Admission to all games is free.

March 5, 2014

Weekly Release (PDF) | Colorado State Classic Central

COLORADO STATE CLASSIC
CSU will play its first home game of the season this weekend, hosting the three-day, four-team Colorado State Classic. The round-robin tournament will feature 11 total games, including two matchups against each team for the Rams. All games will be played at Ram Field, and admission is free.

Tournament schedule/live stats

  • Nebraska Omaha enters the weekend riding an eight-game winning streak. The Mavericks, who have played all of their games away from home, hold a 12-7 overall record. Junior outfielder Allie Mathewson leads the team with a .409 batting average, while senior infielder Amber Lutmer has hit nine round-trippers and driven in 30 runs. In the circle, Dana Elsasser, a senior, is 9-3 with a 1.71 ERA. The last time the Rams faced the Mavericks was on March 2, 2013, during last year’s Colorado State Classic. UNO won the matchup, 3-2, in extra innings. Overall, the series is tied 7-7.
  • Southern Utah holds a 3-12 mark on the season, earning victories over Grand Canyon, Nebraska Omaha and Nevada. Senior first baseman Madison Resley leads the team with a .483 batting average. She has already hit four home runs, driven in 13 runs and is slugging .758. All four Southern Utah pitchers have ERAs north of 5.25. The Rams, who lead the series 24-2, look to maintain their success over the Thunderbirds.
  • Dayton arrives to Fort Collins with a 4-10 record, winning four of its last nine games after starting the season 0-5. The Flyers are led by senior outfielder Rachel Archer (.386 batting average) and junior Tiffany Ricks (nine RBI, three home runs). In the circle, freshman Gabrielle Snyder has appeared in nine games, owning a 3-3 record and 3.35 ERA. CSU is 1-0 all-time against Dayton.


HOT START
While conference play has yet to begin, one month into the season the Rams sit atop the Mountain West standings with the best overall winning percentage (.727). Not only is CSU’s 8-3 mark the best in the league, but it is also the program’s best in six seasons. After beginning the year 4-0 – the Rams’ best start since their 1997 WAC-championship team went 6-0 – CSU has stayed hot, marking their best start since the 2008 team won 10 of its first 11 games.

CSU is averaging 5.55 runs per game, compared to 3.55 for its opponents. The Rams are efficient all around, ranking second in the Mountain West in ERA (2.97), second in fielding percentage (.966) and third in batting average (.279).

RECAPPING THE SAN DIEGO CLASSIC I
Mother Nature got the best of softball last weekend, forcing five of CSU’s six games to be cancelled due to rain. CSU was able to squeeze in one game, making a two-hour drive to Imperial Valley, Calif., to face Lehigh. The Rams were victorious in the rain-shortened contest, improving to 8-3 on the season.

Senior Chelsea O’Connor was once again the offensive catalyst, hitting a third-inning grand slam – her second of the season – to contribute toward all four of the Rams’ runs. Ashlie Ortega went 2-for-2, scoring a run. Sophomore Holly Reinke dazzled again in the circle, improving to 5-0 while pitching all five innings. CSU was also scheduled to face BYU, Grand Canyon, Ole Miss, No. 2/2 Tennessee and Utah.

THE ROAD SO FAR
Here’s a look back at CSU’s first two tournaments, prior to the one-game San Diego Classic I last weekend:

During the Kajikawa Classic (Feb. 7-9) in Tempe, Ariz., the Rams kicked off their season posting a 4-1 record. On the first day of the tournament, the Rams shut down Portland State, 6-2, with help from a grand slam by senior Ashlie Ortega. The Rams continued to their second game of the day, shutting out Bradley, 8-0, in six innings. Sophomore Holly Reinke kept the Braves to one hit and recorded her second career shutout. Moving to the second day of the tournament, CSU faced Oregon State, defeating the Beavers, 3-2, in extra innings. Newcomer Larisa Petakoff recorded her first win as a Ram and Haley Hutton recorded her first collegiate home run. On the final day of the tournament, the Rams posted an 11-5 come-from-behind win over Utah with home runs from Shae Rodriguez, Jaelyn Manzanares and Danielle Wikre. The tournament came to a close for CSU against Cal State Northridge, falling to the Matadors 4-2.

At the UTSA Classic (Feb. 14-16), CSU upheld its winning record, going 3-2 in San Antonio, Texas. In the first game, against Rutgers, the Rams earned their first walk-off win of the season. Overcoming a 2-0 deficit in the bottom of the seventh, Ortega hit a triple that to tie the game, allowing senior Chelsea O’Connor to hit a two-run home run to secure the victory. During the second game, sophomore Jaelyn Manzanares had two RBI, but the Rams’ rally came up 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.

REINKE NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Sophomore pitcher Holly Reinke was honored by the Mountain West on Feb. 18, being selected as the Mountain West Softball Pitcher of the Week. Reinke helped the Rams to a 3-2 record 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 currently holds a perfect 5-0 record, tossing three complete games and one shutout.

Additionally, senior shortstop Ashlie Ortega was named the College Sports Madness Mountain West Softball Player of the Week on Feb. 10 after hitting .400 and driving in nine runs at the Kajikawa Classic.

RAMS IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST RANKINGS

  • Alysa Greckel – 89 chances (seventh), 86 putouts (seventh)
  • Jaelyn Manzanares – 1.000 fielding percentage (tied for first), caught five stealing (tied for first)
  • Chelsea O’Connor – 14 RBI (tied for seventh)
  • Larisa Petakoff – 2.66 ERA (seventh), 15 runs allowed (tied for sixth), nine earned runs allowed (tied for fourth), four walks allowed (second), three doubles allowed (tied for eighth), two home runs allowed (tied for third)
  • Molly Randle – 24 hits allowed (fifth), three doubles allowed (tied for eighth), two home runs allowed (tied for third)
  • Holly Reinke – 1.24 ERA (first), .206 opposing batting average (first), seven batters struck out looking (tied for seventh), five wins (fifth), one save (second), 21 hits allowed (fourth),  six runs allowed (first), five earned runs allowed (first), nine walks allowed (tied for ninth), one double allowed (tied for first), two home runs allowed (tied for third)
  • Danielle Wikre - .485 batting average (second), .818 slugging percentage (fourth), .553 on base percentage (third)


LOOKING AHEAD
CSU will hit the road once again, facing in-state rival Northern Colorado (Tuesday, March 11), followed by the Fresno State Classic (March 14-16). In Fresno, CSU will play five games over three days, including Ohio State of the Big Ten. It will mark the Rams’ final tournament of the season, as the following week they jump into Mountain West action.


 

 

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