Softball recap: CSU begins Troy Cox Classic with pair of losses
Feb. 17, 2012
By Meredith Danner
Athletic Media Relations
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Coming off a loss last Sunday in Austin, the Rams finished their first day of the Troy Cox Classic with two losses. They first lost a decision against the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks, 9-4, followed by a loss to nationally-ranked Nebraska, 10-2, at the New Mexico State Softball Complex.
After one day of the Classic, CSU’s overall record is 2-5 (0-0 MW), while the Ladyjacks pick up their second win of the season (2-4, 0-0 Southland Conference). Nebraska improves to 4-3 (0-0 Big 10) with its victory over CSU.
The Rams scored first against Stephen F. Austin, thanks to a two-run home run from Kendal Butterfield (1-for-3), but the Ladyjacks answered with five runs in the next inning and did not relinquish their lead.
“I think we’ve got to make quicker adjustments at the plate,” CSU Head Coach Jen Fisher said. “In Game 1, we really didn’t make very good adjustments. We were too readable, and so we worked on that a lot in between games.”
Sophomore Ashlie Ortega (1-for-4) supplied the Rams’ other two runs in the seventh inning with a two-run homer, the second two-run jack of the game and her first homer of the year.
Kelli Eubanks started her third game in the circle for the Rams, giving up five earned runs in four innings of work. Eubanks walked and struck out three each.
“I think [Kelli] wasn’t quite as sharp as she was in her first outing,” Fisher said. “She’d tell you that, too. Stephen F. Austin played with a lot of energy; they were really loud and they were able to get us out of our game plan a little bit, I think.”
Later in the day, the Rams faced the Nebraska Cornhuskers, their second nationally-ranked opponent of the season. Nebraska was ranked at Nos. 22 and 24 in the latest national softball polls.
“Against a tough Nebraska team, we actually looked a lot stronger, not being so easy to read,” Fisher said.
Nebraska scored two in the first inning, but CSU freshman pitcher Molly Randle held the Huskers to just two additional runs through the fifth. They would go on to score six more runs in the final half-inning to reach an eight-run lead and end the game in six innings.
“Molly once again had a really good outing until the bottom of the sixth,” Fisher said. “They got her off balance. She kept a really good Nebraska team at bay for quite awhile until they really opened it up.”
CSU freshman Shae Rodriguez (1-for-3), who ranked second on the team in RBI before play on Friday, drove in the Rams’ only two runs against Nebraska with an RBI single in the fourth inning.
“She had a really nice at-bat,” Fisher said. “She was down, 0-2, and drove it up the middle to score two runs. Haley David was on second and got a really nice jump to score on a hard-hit ball to right. We have some younger freshmen and younger players that are competitive and want to win, but we’re trying to get them to take their losses and turn them into positives. They did a good job with that in Game 2.”
Saturday, the Rams will take on host New Mexico State at 4 p.m. MT, followed immediately by a matchup with Weber State. New Mexico State received six votes in the most recently ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
“They’re just a very well-disciplined, well-coached team, and of course, we have them at home,” Fisher said. “They’re going to be playing at the top of their game. We just want to play our best ball and put our offense, our defense and our pitching, all three, together. You know, we’ve had our best pitching game, but not our best offensive game [and] our best defensive game but not our best pitching performance, and so we’ve got to put all of those things together, all the time.”