Softball preview: Rams set to begin Mountain West play

Sophomore Kendal Butterfield will look to extend her seven-game hit streak on Friday

Sophomore Kendal Butterfield will look to extend her seven-game hit streak on Friday

April 11, 2012

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Coming up...
With a win over in-state rival Northern Colorado on Wednesday, the Rams finished up their final game before beginning Mountain West Conference play. Their 2012 MW slate begins with a three-game set against San Diego State, starting on Friday at 7 p.m. MT in San Diego, Calif. The teams will square off at the same time on Saturday and wrap up the weekend with a 2 p.m. MT matchup against the Aztecs on Sunday. The Rams head back home on Monday to take on Portland State at Ram Field at 1 p.m. MT. The game marks the first of their two remaining non-conference games.

Previously...
CSU will begin conference play looking to extend a three-game winning streak, all three wins coming against Northern Colorado. On April 4, the Rams made the short trip to Greeley to take on UNC in the second game of the four-game non-conference series between the two schools and scored double-digit runs for the second time this season in a 10-6 win. With the 18-hit victory, the Rams improved their overall record to 18-18, marking their first time having a .500 winning percentage since Feb. 11. Junior Kailey Snyder pitched six innings for CSU and picked up her sixth win of the season. At 6-0, Snyder is the only pitcher on the staff who has not received a losing decision this season. CSU continued its winning ways against the Bears on Wednesday wih a 6-2 win at Ram Field to give the Rams a 3-0 edge in the series. The game was tied, 2-2, going into the bottom of the sixth, but with two RBI singles and a pair of bases-loaded walks, CSU put up four runs to lift the Rams to a 6-2 win. Junior Kacie McCarthy pitched her 10th complete game of the year and picked up her 12th victory with a four-hit, two-run performance.

San Diego State...
San Diego State, who has won four Mountain West regular-season titles in the league's 13-year history and was tabbed to repeat in 2012, enters conference play18-19 on the season. The Aztecs are 7-3 at home, but have lost three of theirlast four games overall. Sophomore Hayley Miles leads SDSU in nearly everyoffensive category, including batting average (.398), slugging percentage(.746), doubles (15) and home runs (eight). Senior Justeen Maeva leads theAztecs with 28 RBI, while Felicia Reifschneider, also a senior, has nine stolenbases. Junior Rebecca Arbino (8-8, 2.15 ERA) and senior Bailey Micetich (8-6,2.39 ERA) lead the pitching staff. The Rams lost all three matchups with the Aztecs last season by a combined 36-14 margin.

Portland State...
The Vikings travel to Colorado this weekend for four gamesagainst Northern Colorado, followed by Monday's matchup against the Rams.Portland State is 16-15 going into the road trip, and winners of six of itslast eight games. Overall, the Vikings are 13-8 away from Portland on the year. Leading the squad is first baseman Karmen Holladay. The senior holds a .678 slugging percentage, and leads the team in batting average (.344), doubles (six), home runs (eight) and RBI (20). Freshman Alicia Fine ranks second on theteam with a .317 batting average, also adding eight runs and 12 RBI, and seniorJenna Krogh--who began her career at CSU--is hitting .315 with a team-most 15runs scored and seven stolen bases. Anna Bertrand is 13-8 on the year with fourshutouts, a 1.77 ERA and a 3.45 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Conference play last season...
The Rams struggled as a team overall in 2011, winning just eight games total. Conference play was no exception, as they ended the year with a 1-14 record in the Mountain West. Their lone win came in a 15-14 victory over then-MW rival Utah, which also marked CSU's first win in nearly six weeks. This season, the conference loses BYU and Utah, but with the addition of Boise State, the conference consists of five teams.

Moving up in the Mountain West...
With the win over UNC on April 4, the Rams moved up one spot in the Mountain West rankings, moving past San Diego State for fourth place.

Winning record...
CSU improved its overall record to 19-18 on Wednesday, marking the first time the team has had a winning record since the final day of the 2010 season, when the Rams finished up the year with a 29-20 record.

Player of the Week...
The Rams swept the Mountain West Conference's weekly player and pitcher honors last Wednesday as freshman Shae Rodriguez and junior Kacie McCarthy were named MW Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. Rodriguez went 2-for-2 with a home run and two runs scored against Northern Colorado on March 28. Her home run spurred a four-run third inning, which featured back-to-back homers. McCarthy pitched a two-hit shutout in the same game to notch her 11th win of the season. The honor marks McCarthy's second in as many weeks, as she was named Co-Pitcher of the Week along with Boise State's Aubray Zell on March 27.

Goodbye March, hello April...
The Rams have only played two games in April, but both resulted in wins over Northern Colorado by four runs or more. They defeated the Bears, 10-6, on April 4 and picked up a 10-6 win on Wednesday at Ram Field in Fort Collins. The two April wins follow a strong month of March; after going just 4-11 in the opening month of the season, the Rams rebounded in March and went 13-7, including a three-game win streak at home and a four-game win streak at the UC Riverside tournament. As a team, the Rams batted a collective .271 with 83 RBI and 18 home runs. In the 2011 season, CSU went 3-16 in the month of March.

Strength of schedule...
Currently, four of the Rams' 2012 opponents are ranked or receiving votes in the two national softball polls. Mountain West rival New Mexico, who has spent time at Nos. 24 and 25 in the two national polls, received two votes in the latest ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. The Lobos most recently lost a 9-1 decision against New Mexico State on Tuesday. CSU's current record against ranked opponents is 0-4, the most recent decision coming in an 11-0 loss in five innings against then-No. 10 Stanford on March 10. On March 15, CSU defeated Pacific, which had received four votes in the latest USA Today/NFCA poll.

Hitting streaks...
Sophomore Ashlie Ortega still holds the longest overall hiting streak on the team with nine and has begun another by hitting safely in her last four games. The longest current streak belongs to sophomore Kendal Butterfield, who will look to extend a seven-game hitting streak against San Diego State on Friday. The seven-game streak is the second-longest overall this season.

Beefed-up bullpen...
Junior Kacie McCarthy, who transfered from Chico State, continues to be an asset to the CSU pitching staff in her first season as a Ram, as she currently leads the staff in wins (12), strikeouts (69), innings pitched (95.1) and lowest ERA (2.79). Her most recent win came on Wednesday against Northern Colorado, as she pitched her 10th complete game en route to her 12th victory of the season. On April 4, McCarthy was named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week. The honor marks McCarthy's second in as many weeks, as she was named Co-Pitcher of the Week, along with Boise State's Aubray Zell on March 27. Junior Kailey Snyder also continues to perform well in the circle, most recently picking up a win against Northern Colorado on April 4. Snyder gave up six runs in her fifth complete game of the year. With a 6-0 record, Snyder is currently the only pitcher on the CSU staff with no losses.


 

 

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