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Softball preview: CSU preparing for final 2013 series

Shortstop Ashlie Ortega

Shortstop Ashlie Ortega

May 7, 2013

Weekly Release

Game 48 Colorado State at New Mexico
May 9, 2013 | Albuquerque, N.M. | 6 p.m. MT

Game 49 Colorado State at New Mexico
May 10, 2013 | Albuquerque, N.M. | 6 p.m. MT

Game 50 Colorado State at New Mexico
May 11, 2013 | Albuquerque, N.M. | 1 p.m. MT

Coming up...
The Colorado State softball team (22-24, 8-7 MW) closes the regular season with its final Mountain West series against the New Mexico Lobos (21-32,3-12 MW) in Albuquerque, N.M. The Rams enter the final weekend of action tied for third in the league standings, two games out of first place, while the Lobos are in last place in the seven-team league.

Recapping San Diego State
Colorado State wasn't fazed by a cancellation on Friday afternoon, coming in and taking Game 1 of the three-game series against San Diego State. The Rams showed strong defense, as the Aztecs were shutout 3-0. Senior pitcher Kacie McCarthy held San Diego State to four hits to record her seventh shutout of the season. An early lead helped back McCarthy with Danielle Wikre hitting a two-run shot in the second inning. Leading 2-0, junior Chelsea Biglow added another run with a double to left center  that scored junior Ashlie Ortega from first. With the win, the Rams broke a six-game losing streak to the Aztecs and moved, temporarily, into a tie with SDSU for the league lead heading into Sunday's double header. The Rams dropped both games of Sunday's twin bill. Despite a four-RBI game, including a two-run home run from sophomore Shae Rodriguez, the Rams were unable to keep up with San Diego State's five home runs, falling by a 12-4 final. In the series finale, the Rams showed stronger defense, but were shutout 4-0. Junior Ashlie Ortega broke up a no hitter in the bottom of the six followed by Jaelyn Manzanares recording the second hit of the game in the bottom of the seventh.


 

 

MW standings update
Colorado State enters the final week of the regular season in a tie for third place in the Mountain West standings with a record of 8-7, two games behind league-leading San Diego State (10-5), and 1.5 games behind second-place Fresno State (11-7). The Rams are currently tied with Nevada, and sit one game ahead of Boise State and UNLV (7-8), and five games ahead of last place New Mexico (3-12).

MW rankings
The Rams enter this week's action ranked among the Mountain West leaders in a number of categories:
•Team: As a team, the Rams are among the top three in the league in 12 categories, leading the MW in sacrifice flies (13), and tying for first in triples (16) and saves (3). CSU is tied for second for fewest  triples allowed (5) and ranks third in walks (133), times hit by pitch (28). The Rams pitching staff also ranks third in the league in ERA (3.52), runs allowed (211), doubles allowed (36), opponent batting average (.265), strikeouts looking (73) and earned runs (154).
Shae Rodriguez: The sophomore outfielder ranks second with seven triples.
Chelsea Biglow: The junior third baseman ties for first in sacrifice flies (4), is tied for fourth with three triples, and ranks eighth with 88 assists.
Ashlie Ortega: The junior shortstop places fourth with a .605 slugging percentage and is tied for fourth with three triples. She also ranks seventh in batting average (.364), on-base percentage (.435) and assists (89), while ranking eighth with 35 runs scored, and tying for eighth with 21 walks.
Danielle Wikre: The sophomore designated player is tied for third with three sacrifice flies and tied for seventh with seven home runs.
Alysa Greckel: The junior first baseman ties for first with four sacrifice flies and ranks eighth in chances (292) and putouts (279), and is tied for eighth with 10 double plays.
Kacie McCarthy: The senior pitcher leads the conference in opponent batting average (.235), places second in innings pitched (193.2) and fewest doubles allowed (13), ranks third in ERA (2.39), batters struck out (146) and wins (17), while tying for third with 26 games started to her credit. In addition, she ranks fourth in total appearances (33) and fifth in batters struck out looking (39).
Jaelyn Manzanares: The freshman catcher is tied for first with a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000. 
Cassy Mosser: The junior second baseman ranks fifth with 92 assists.
Emily Pohl: The junior catcher ranks tied for second at the plate, reaching on a hit-by-pitch eight times. Defensively, she has thrown out eight would-be base stealers, to rank fifth in the MW.
Holly Reinke: The freshman catcher ranks tied for eighth in the Mountain West with 27 batters struck out looking.

Rams ranking nationally
The Colorado State softball team enters play this week ranked among eighth nationally in triples per game (0.33). The Rams also rank just outside the top-100 in double plays per game (0.28, 101st), slugging percentage (.412, 113th) and runs per game (4.54, 116th).

Individually, four Rams rank among the top-25 nationally in a variety of categories, led by sophomore outfielder Shae Rodriguez who ranks third in the country in total triples (7.0) and is fourth in triples per game (0.16). Chelsea Biglow and Alysa Greckel both rank tied for tied for 21st in sacrifice flies (4). Senior pitcher Kacie McCarthy ranks 19th with seven shutouts on the season.

Class contributions
Despite dropping last weekend's series vs. SDSU, 2-1, the Rams received strong contributions from members of each class on the roster.

Senior pitcher Kacie McCarthy started all three games of the series, opening the weekend in impressive fashion with a shutout victory over the Aztecs, her seventh shutout of the season. In the Game 1 victory over the Aztecs, McCarthy held them to just four hits.

Juniors Ashlie Ortega continued her consistent approach for the Rams, hitting .375 (3-for-8) at the plate while scoring three runs for the Rams, who scored a total of seven runs over the three-game series. Ortega also recorded four assists and five putouts for a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage over the weekend.

Sophomores Shae Rodriguez and Danielle Wikre brought their bats to life, driving in six of the Rams' seven runs in the series. Rodriguez brought in all four runs in CSU's 12-4 loss in Game 2. She hit a two-run home run (her second of the season) and a two-run single up the middle to account for all of the Rams' offensive production. Wikre keyed the Rams' 4-0  victory in Game 1, notching a two-run homer in the second inning that would prove to be the winning blow for the Rams.

Two new faces entered play on the second day of play, when freshmen Michaela Good and Jaelyn Manzanares gave fans a glimpse into the bright future of CSU softball. Good recorded a  pinch-hit double in Game 2 and scored one of the Rams' four runs in the 12-4 loss. Manzanares started Game 3 behind the plate for the Rams, catching all seven innings and recording one of the Rams' two hits in the contest. 

Ortega outstanding at the plate
Colorado State's Ashlie Ortega leads the Rams in eight offensive categories, ranking first in batting average (.364), slugging percentage (.605), on-base percentage (.453), runs scored (35), hits (47), doubles (10), total bases (78) and walks (21). She has been the Rams' most consistent contributor throughout the 2013 season. In fact, the junior shortstop recorded the Rams' longest hitting streak of the season (10 games) and has reached base safely in 31 of her last 34 contests, entering play this weekend at New Mexico. 
 
Evaluating the Lobos
New Mexico enters play this week with a 21-32 overall record and a 3012 mark in Mountain West play, to sit in last place in the league standings. The Lobos' offense is led by freshman  outfielder Mariah Rimmer, who has started every game of the season and has tallied a team-leading 55 hits and a .322 batting average. Rimmer's 31 runs scored also rank first on the team. The Lobos' pitching staff is led by freshman pitcher, Lauren Soles, who paces the team with a 3.18 ERA and has a staff-most nine victories on the season. She also ranks first on the team in innings pitched (132.0) and strikeouts (105).

The Lobos are coming off of a series sweep at Fresno State, and have lost seven straight against Mountain West foes since a 10-0 win at UNLV on April 13.

Rams vs. Lobos
Colorado State is 48-49 all-time against the Lobos, but the Rams have won three straight in the series after sweeping the Lobos in the final series of the 2012 regular season. During that series sweep, the Rams shut out the Lobos, 8-0, in Game 1, followed by  a walk-off win in the second (6-5). The Rams completed the sweep with a 10-5 victory in Game 3.

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