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Softball preview: Rams head to Las Vegas for series against Rebels

SO Chelsea Biglow leads the squad in home runs (8)

SO Chelsea Biglow leads the squad in home runs (8)

April 24, 2012

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Coming up...
CSU travels to Las Vegas, Nev., on Friday to take on UNLV in its third weekend of Mountain West Conference action. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT. Saturday’s 2 p.m. matchup with the Rebels will be televised on The Mtn. (DirecTV channel 616, Comcast channel 411 in Fort Collins and Danver). Fans not able to see the live game on Saturday can catch one of three replays, which will air at 8 p.m. MT that evening and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday. The Rams wrap up the three-game series with UNLV on Sunday at 2 p.m. MT. Next Wednesday, CSU will make the short trip to Greeley for the second time this season to face in-state rival Northern Colorado at 5 p.m. MT in the team’s final non-conference game of the year. The game also marks the fourth in the season series with the Bears.

Previously...
The Rams continued Mountain West play against conference newcomer Boise State over the weekend, bouncing back from a three-game sweep at the hands of the San Diego State Aztecs April 14-15. On Friday, CSU reached .500 once again with a 5-3 win over the Broncos. The win also marked the Rams’ first conference victory since May 6, 2011, when they edged Utah, 15-14, in Fort Collins for their only MW win of the year. CSU junior Kacie McCarthy and Boise State senior Aubray Zell were named Mountain West Co-Pitchers of the Week on March 27, and on Friday both got the start and went head-to-head for the first time. Zell held the Rams to three hits through the first two innings, but the CSU offense broke it open in the third, putting up all five of its runs in that frame. McCarthy tossed her 13th complete game of the season and had a one-hitter going through four innings en route to her 13th victory of 2012. CSU junior Kailey Snyder started in the circle on Saturday and pitched a complete game for the sixth time this year, giving up two earned runs, walking none and striking out four in the process. Senior Lyssa Roberts went 1-for-3 at the plate, including a no-out, bases-loaded RBI single up the middle in the second inning to knock in the Rams’ first run, and sophomore Chelsea Biglow capped off a three-run fourth with her seventh home run of the year as the Rams took Game 2 by a score of 5-3. Zell and McCarthy faced each other again on Sunday, but the Broncos scored six earned runs over 4.1 innings off of McCarthy in the series finale and walked away with an 11-7 win. CSU hit four home runs in the game, matching a single-game high set on March 3 in Fort Collins against Saint Mary’s. Sophomore Emily Pohl (2-for-2) was responsible for two of the four homers, including a solo shot to lead off the second inning and give the Rams a 1-0 lead. Pohl hit another solo home run in the fourth and walked twice, increasing her season walk total to a team-high 36. Roberts and Biglow each hit a home run in the game as well.

UNLV...
The Rebels will enter Friday’s game looking to pick up their first MW win of the year after being swept by Boise State April 13-15. They are 19-21 overall and are currently in last place in the conference standings. Two players have earned Mountain West Player or Pitcher of the Week honors this season, including sophomore third-baseman Jaexie Balilea. On April 4, Balilea batted .857 (6-for-7) while helping UNLV to a doubleheader sweep of Fresno State on the road, earning her the Player of the Week award on April 10. Sophomore pitcher Amanda Oliveto earned Pitcher of the Week honors on Feb. 28 and March 13. Oliveto currently leads the UNLV pitching staff with a 12-13 record and 2.51 ERA. The Rebels were tabbed to finish second in the conference behind San Diego State this year after going 27-18 overall and 9-5 in the conference to finish second in 2011. They won all three matchups with the Rams last year by four runs or fewer. Junior Tayler Aleman, who led the team in batting average last year (.436), returns to the lineup this season and is currently hitting .280 with eight home runs and 21 RBI.

Northern Colorado...
The Rams are guaranteed to win the four-game series with the Northern Colorado Bears this year, as they have aready taken the first three games. CSU and UNC last played on April 11, when the Rams came from behind to pick up a 6-2 win at Ram Field in Fort Collins. Last season, the teams split the series, 2-2. The Bears are currently 21-27 and are batting .285 as a team. They have also notched a 6-10 record in their second season as part of the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Mountain Division. Their most recent decisions came in a doubleheader against conference-rival Idaho State on Sunday. Northern Colorado took Game 1, 8-6.

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. The conference lost BYU and Utah this season, but with the addition of Boise State, the conference currently consists of five teams.

Moving up in the Mountain West...
After picking up its first two MW wins over the weekend, CSU moved up to third place in the conference standings, behind Boise State and San Diego State, who is 6-0 in MW play.

Conference play so far...
With six conference games in the books for the top three teams in the MW (SDSU, BSU, CSU), the Rams are ranked second in conference batting average (.320) behind SDSU and third in ERA (4.85). Senior Lyssa Roberts is batting .474 in conference play, good for eighth place in the individual rankings. Sophomores Chelsea Biglow, Alysa Greckel and Ashlie Ortega all cracked the top 20 in conference batting average. All three are hitting .348 or better through the first six games, and Ortega currently ranks ninth in batting average for all games (.338). As a team, CSU also ranks second in batting average for all games (.291), this time behind New Mexico. The Rams are tops in the MW in hits (353), doubles (63) and walks (158). 36 of those walks have been drawn by sophomore Emily Pohl, who outranks second-place Shenise Cox (New Mexico, 27 BBs) by nine.

Triple threat...
The Rams have collected eight triples this season and rank third in the MW behind New Mexico and UNLV (tied with nine) in that category. Lyssa Roberts added one triple to the team total on Sunday against Boise State, and freshman Shae Rodriguez leads the team with three.

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 is currently 1-7 on the season with 11 starts. 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 (13), strikeouts (75), innings pitched (118.2) and lowest ERA (3.19). In the opener against Boise State, McCarthy went head-to-head with BSU senior Aubray Zell, whom she shared MW Co-Pitcher of the Week honors with on March 27. McCarthy tossed her 13th complete game of the season and had a one-hitter going through four innings en route to her 13th victory of 2012. Junior Kailey Snyder also continues to perform well in the circle, most recently pitching a complete game against the Broncos on Saturday. Snyder gave up two earned runs, walked none and struck out four in the Rams’ 5-3 win. At 8-0, Snyder is still the only pitcher on the CSU staff with no losses.


 

 

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