Softball recap: Rams take two in California

March 23, 2012

Final Stats

By Meredith Danner
Athletic Media Relations

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – After completing a nine-game California road trip on Sunday, the Rams headed westward once again for the UC Riverside Tournament at Amy S. Harrison Field on Friday. With the help of two complete-game outings from the CSU pitching staff and timely hitting from the offense, the Rams outlasted Brown, 1-0, and later edged Santa Clara, 3-2, in 10 innings.

CSU notched two more for the win column to bring their overall record to 14-17 (0-0 Mountain West) and give them a 2-0 finish on the first day of the tournament. Brown and Santa Clara’s records are now 3-8 (0-0 Ivy League) and 4-23 (0-0 Pacific Coast Softball Conference), respectively. With the 10-inning win over Santa Clara, the Rams are now 2-0 in extra-inning contests after pulling out a 15-14 win over Weber State on Feb. 18.

The Rams came out on the losing end of a 1-0 contest on Sunday against Sacramento State, but on Friday against Brown, they flipped that score in their favor.

CSU pitcher and junior transfer student Kacie McCarthy continues to demonstrate her durability in the circle, as she tossed her seventh complete game of the year and earned her ninth win. McCarthy held the Bears to just two hits, both singles, struck out three and walked none. Starting in the third, McCarthy retired 12 batters in order to get through the sixth and lead the team to its first shutout victory of the year.

“She was really aggressive,” CSU Head Coach Jen Fisher said. “Real confident, even without a lead. You would have thought she had a five-run lead the way she was being aggressive. She’s been coming out ready to go every time. That’s been really nice for us.”

Brown’s Denise van der Goot also pitched a complete game and held the Rams to four hits. CSU starters Ashlie Ortega, Shae Rodriguez and Haley David collected one hit apiece.

CSU’s one and only run came courtesy of sophomore Emily Pohl, who homered to right-center field to lead off the sixth inning. Pohl is now tied with sophomore Alysa Greckel for second on the team in home runs (3).

“She’s really starting to play like a veteran, and that’s exciting,” Fisher said. “I really appreciate that out of her. I’m happy for her because she deserves it.”

In Game 2, Santa Clara got out to a 2-0 lead with RBI singles in the first and second, but junior Kailey Snyder held off the Broncos the rest of the way and pitched all 10 innings for her fourth complete-game outing of the year.

The Rams loaded the bases to start the fifth inning, but would not capitalize on it until there were two outs. Pohl, who went 2-for-6 with three RBI between both of Friday’s games, drove in her second and third runs of the day with a single to tie the game at two. The game remained tied through regulation, forcing the Rams into extra innings for the second time this season.

Ortega was placed on second per the international tie-breaker rule to start the 10th. After a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Kendal Butterfield moved her to third, Rodriguez delivered the winning RBI with her sixth double of the year, scoring Ortega and lifting the Rams over the Broncos.

“[Rodriguez has] been very steady and had the winning RBI,” Fisher said. “She continues to look more and more like a veteran herself, and she’s only a freshman, so we like what we’re seeing out of Shae.”

While Fisher praised the team’s effort on Day 1 of the tournament, she also noted the need to continue to produce offensively and will be looking for a higher output through the weekend and into Mountain West Conference play, which begins April 13.

“We’re winning games that I think we should be winning,” Fisher said. “We just need to produce more, and we talked about that. We’ve got to get the veterans firing on all cylinders, and the freshmen have got to continue to be building confidence and a little bit of swagger. It’s great to win and they’ve got pitching and defense, but I still think we’ve got to get the offense firing because conference is absolutely not going to get any easier. We’ve got to get the offense firing on all cylinders, and we’re not quite there yet.”

The Rams will only play one game on Saturday, a matchup with host UC Riverside at 12:30 p.m. MT. Fans can track live stats during the tournament at gohighlanders.com.