Softball preview: CSU continues play at the Troy Cox Classic

Feb. 14, 2013

Weekly Release 2

Game 1 (Troy Cox Classic) Colorado State vs. Penn State
Feb. 15, 2013 | Las Cruces, N.M | 9 a.m. MT

Game 2 (Troy Cox Classic) Colorado State vs. Texas Tech
Feb. 15, 2013 | Las Cruces, N.M. | 11:30 a.m. MT

Game 3 (Troy Cox Classic) Colorado State vs. New Mexico State
Feb. 16, 2013 | Las Cruces, N.M. | 4 p.m. MT

Game 4 (Troy Cox Classic) Colorado State vs. UKMC
Feb. 16, 2013 | Las Cruces, N.M. | 6 p.m. MT

Game 5 (Troy Cox Classic) Colorado State vs. New Mexico State
Feb. 17, 2013 | Las Cruces, N.M. | 11:30 a.m. MT

Coming up
The Colorado State softball program travels to Las Cruces, New Mexico for the Troy Cox Classic. The Rams will play five games in three days, matching up against Penn State, Texas Tech, New Mexico State, and UMKC. 

Recapping Red Desert Classic
The Colorado State Rams started out the tournament with a win of 4-1 against BYU. Kacie McCarthy pitched a complete game and recorded her first win of the season. The Rams then played against Loyola Marymount where the Lions kept the Rams scoreless for the entire game. Moving on to the second day of the tournament, CSU started it off by playing Arkansas where they lost in a close game of 4-5. Afterwards, the Rams posted a win against Utah State in another close game of 4-3. During the game, Chelsea hit her first home run of the season and Holly Reinke notched a first win as a CSU pitcher. The Rams closed the tournament with a loss to Oklahoma State of 4-1.

Rams second in MW Preseason Poll
The Colorado State softball program was picked to finish second in the Mountain West standings in the leagues’ preseason coaches poll release on Feb. 5. The Rams were one of three teams to receive a first-place vote, joining preseason favorite San Diego State and Boise State, who was picked to finish fourth. Below is a look at the MW preseason projections:

Rank Team (first-place votes) Points
1. San Diego State (5) 35
2. Colorado State (1) 28
3. Fresno State 26
4. Boise State (1) 23
5. New Mexico 15
6. UNLV 12
7. Nevada 8

Returning all-conference performers
The Rams return four all-Mountain West performers from 2012, including conference Pitcher of the Year  senior Kacie McCarthy. Also returning after all-league seasons are a trio of juniors in third baseman Chelsea Biglow, shortstop Ashlie Ortega and catcher Emily Pohl. In addition to the player honors, Rams’ head coach Jen Fisher was also named MW Coach of the Year in 2012.

Keeping the ball rolling
The Colorado State softball team continues play this week at the Troy Cox Classic looking to jump start their momentum once again after they finished the Red Desert Classic with a record of 2-3.

Rams in the MW rankings
Several of Colorado State’s retuning players ranked among the Mountain West’s best in 2012:
Ashlie Ortega placed into five categories: Second in at bats (185), tied for second with 107 assists, third in plate appearances (207), fifth in hits (66) and fifth in doubles (12).
• Kacie McCarthy placed into five categories: first for number of batters struck out looking (49), second for number of wins (17), third for opposing batting average (.247), fifth in innings pitched (151.2) and fifth in batters struck out (105).
• Alysa Greckel placed into four categories: tied for third for number of doubles (14), fourth for number of walks (26), fourth for number of chances (349), and fourth for number of putouts (334).
Emily Pohl placed into two categories: first in walks (41), and third with 11 players caught stealing.
• Chelsea Biglow placed into one category, earning fourth for number of runs batted in (45).
• Kendal Butterfield placed into one category, tying fourth with seven sacrifice bunts.

Tough competition
The 2013 Colorado State softball team will face one of the toughest schedules in recent program history. The Rams will face off against eight teams receiving votes in the NFCA and USA Softball top-25 polls. Three teams on the Rams’ schedule are ranked in the top-17 in the preseason rankings, as CSU is slated to match up against No. 9/8 Georgia (Feb. 21 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic), No. 16/16 Washington (March 3 in the Colorado State Classic) and No. 17/17 Texas A&M (April 5-7 in a three-game series in College Station, Texas). The Rams open the season at the Red Desert Classic against a pair of teams - BYU and Oklahoma State - that are receiving votes in the rankings. Texas Tech (Feb. 15 at the Troy Cox Classic), Oregon State (Feb. 21 at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic), and UMass (March 16 at the San Diego Classic II) are also receiving preseason top-25 votes. 

Returning production
The 2013 Colorado State Rams return a majority of the team’s offensive and pitching production, having lost just two seniors - outfielder Lyssa Roberts and pitcher Kelli Eubanks - to graduation. Offensively, the Rams return 90 percent of their runs, 88 percent of their hits, 91 percent of the team’s doubles, 89 percent of triples, 95 percent of home runs and 94 percent of RBIs from last season. In the circle, the Rams bring back 89 percent of their wins and 81 percent of their strikeouts. 

Rams in the national rankings
The 2012 Rams ranked among the national leaders in a number of categories, placing in the top 50 in the nation in five team categories: Doubles per game (24th, 1.37), runs per game (29th, 5.64), batting average (38th, .294) and slugging percentage (44th, .438). Individually, four Rams ranked in the top 100 nationally. Emily Pohl was 12th in the NCAA in walks per game (0.82), Alysa Greckel came in at 47 in doubles per game (0.28), Chelsea Biglow was rated 57th in RBI per game (0.88) and Shae Rodriguez was just behind Biglow with 0.8 runs batted in per contest. 

Rams vs. the tournament field
The Rams will play five games in three days this weekend against Penn State, Texas Tech, UKMC, and two games against New Mexico State. Here is a look at the Rams’ competition:
• Penn State recorded a 18-32 record in 2012 and returns 14 letterwinners, including eight starters in 2013. The Nittany Lions placed 11th with a record of 9-15 in the Big Ten Conference in 2012.
• Texas Tech logged a 41-17 record in 2012 and returns 10 letterwinners, including 4 starters in 2013. The Raiders finished 5th with a record of 13-10 in the Big 12 Conference in the 2012 season.
• UKMC notched a 27-30 record  in 2012 and returns nine letterwinners, including 10  starters in 2013. The Roos placed 4th with a record of 13-11 in the Summit League during the 2012 season.
• New Mexico State posted a 24-29 record in 2012 and returns 13 letterwinners and five starters in 2013. The Aggies finished with a 5-16 record for 2012 in the Western Athletic Conference.

Up next
The Rams return to the diamond Feb. 21-23 for five games in three days at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, in Palm Springs, Calif. The Rams will go up against Georgia, Oregon State, Utah, Virginia, and, Syracuse.