Softball preview: Rams return home to host CSU Spring Tournament
March 20, 2013
Complete Weekly Release (PDF) | CSU Spring Tournament Central
CSU Spring Tournament
The Rams return to Fort Collins for the first time in nearly two weeks. While the team has been away from home, the road treated the Rams well, going 4-2. CSU defeated Fairfield, Massachusetts and Seton Hall in the San Diego Classic II, before rallying past Long Beach State on Tuesday.
Now the Rams will turn their focus to their second home tournament of the season, the CSU Spring Tournament. CSU will host Ball State, Columbia and Marist over the three-day tournament. At home this season, CSU is 3-3, going 2-3 in the Colorado State Classic before shutting out intrastate rival Northern Colorado, 10-0, on March 6.
Scores and live stats are available through the CSU Spring Tournament Central. Fans are also encouraged to follow @CSUsoftball on Twitter.
Defense wins games
The Rams have relied on their defense and pitching lately, never scoring more than three runs during their road trip, but also never surrendering more than four runs. Dating back to its win over Northern Colorado on March 6—a span of seven games—CSU’s pitching staff has allowed just five earned runs (nine overall). Three of CSU’s five wins during that span came via shutout, and its two losses were by just one run.
Above the rest
Senior pitcher Kacie McCarthy, the reigning Mountain West Pitcher of the Year, has picked up the win in each of CSU’s past five games, pitching all 33 innings and allowing just one earned run (0.21 ERA) and 19 base runners.
On the season, McCarthy is 10-6 with a 2.33 ERA. Her 84 strikeouts rank fourth in the MW, and she is one of four pitchers in the league with 10 or more victories.
No relief needed
CSU’s starting pitchers have thrown a complete game in each of the last 14 games, dating back to Feb. 22. In comparison, CSU’s opponents have matched that feat just six times over the period.
Wikre going yard
Infielder Danielle Wikre hit two home runs over the weekend to up her season total to six. The sophomore is tied for second in the Mountain West for home runs. She also has a .683 slugging percentage, which ranks fourth.
Junior Ashlie Ortega has been one of CSU’s most consistent hitters this season, batting .375 with 20 runs, 19 RBI and 12 extra-base hits. Her batting average ranks seventh in the MW, her slugging percentage (.708) is fourth, and her on-base percentage (.451) is just outside the top 10. Additionally, Ortega ranks eighth in runs scored, tied for eighth in RBI and tied for sixth in home runs (five).
Rams vs. the tournament field
The Rams will host Ball State, Columbia and Marist over the three-day tournament. In its program history, CSU is 4-0 against the field, going 2-0 against both Ball State and Columbia. CSU and Marist will meet for the first time on Saturday.
Scouting Ball State
Picked as the favorite to win the 2013 Mid-American Conference title, the Cardinals enter the weekend with a 13-10 record, all of which have been played on the road. Jennifer Gilbert leads Ball State with a .466 batting average, eight home runs, 26 RBI and 25 runs scored. In the circle, freshman Nicole Steinbach has thrown three complete-game shutouts and owns a team-best 2.27 ERA. The Cardinals hit .315 as a team.
Columbia is 9-8 after splitting Wednesday’s contests with Manhattan. Emily Snodgrass is hitting .373 with 15 RBI and 12 runs scored. Brooke Darling and Emily Kenyon have each started six games for the Lions, combining for a 7-5 record. Both have sub-2.00 ERA.
Marist is 6-9 on the season, dropping seven in a row after beginning the year 6-2. The Red Foxes are led at the plate by Nicole Cheek, who is hitting .391 with four home runs and 11 runs scored. Emily Osterhaus has started a team-high five games in the circle, and owns a 2-4 record with a 1.95 ERA. As a team, Marist is batting .266, and owns a 2.65 ERA.
Following this weekend, the Rams will begin to prepare for their conference season. CSU begins its MW slate on Thursday, March 28, hosting UNLV for a three-game series. The Rams, who finished 2012 tied for second place, were picked second in the 2013 MW Softball Preseason Poll, behind San Diego State. CSU received one first-place vote.