The Rams and Spartans traded shots on Sunday, splitting the doubleheader one win apiece.
Colorado State (16-15, 2-3 Mountain West) took the first game 9-3; San Jose State (15-18, 4-1 MW) grabbed the second 13-5. In the first game, Rams senior pitcher Holly Reinke gave the powerful Spartan lineup all it could handle.
Reinke held the Spartans scoreless through four innings and ultimately went the distance, throwing a complete game. Her performance comes one day after she was pulled in just the second inning of Saturday’s loss to Boise State.
“It felt really good,” Reinke said. “Definitely take it day to day. I wanted to come out today and respond a lot better to yesterday.”
Reinke finished the game allowing 10 hits and three earned runs, all while earning her 10th win of the season.
“I liked (Holly’s) aggressiveness today,” head coach Jen Fisher said. “(San Jose State) is a very good hitting team and they have a history of being extremely powerful. They’ve played the toughest pitching out of any team in the conference, so I thought Holly really did a fantastic job and, of course, the defense helped her.”
The CSU defense did its diligence in the first game, making highlight reel plays one after another.
“Peach (Haley Hutton) made some incredible plays at shortstop, as usual, and so did Savannah (Clark), Savannah made some incredible plays over there at third,” Fisher said. “But Holly helps herself on defense too. She tipped a couple balls that Peach might not have been able to get to if she hadn’t got a glove on it and slowed it down.”
CSU had a comfortable lead for most of the first game but the Spartans started to rally in the 5th and cut the deficit down to three entering the bottom half of the 6th.
With one swing, senior Jaelyn Manzanares ensured that any comeback attempt failed. Manzanares sent the lead back to six with a 2-run homer to right field.
To some surprise, Reinke came back in for the 7th inning and secured the 9-3 win for the Rams.
While defense and pitching were the catalysts for the Rams in game No. 1, they were the demise in game No. 2.
Freshman pitcher Bridgette Hutton started strong, pitching two scoreless innings to start the game, but the Spartan bats could only be held in check for so long.
Freshman catcher Alyssa Avila got things started for the Spartans with a solo home run in the 3rd, and then the Spartans rallied off seven runs in the fourth. Hutton didn’t miss many bats in the fourth, and relief pitcher Larisa Petakoff did not fare much better.
The Rams should have gotten out of the inning several times before it got out of hand, but everything that was working in the first game went terribly wrong in the second especially in the outfield. Routine ground balls were finding their way into the outfield, fly balls were dropping and players got confused about who was supped to catch pop-ups.
The game eventually ending early in the sixth inning, after the Rams failed to get the game inside the 8-run rule, losing 13-5.
Moving onto the final matchup in the series, the Rams may need a new approach at the plate to avoid another sluggish outing.
“The team knows they could have made adjustments quicker on (Colette Riggs) and knocked her out of the game sooner,” Fisher said. “I think we are a better hitting team than what we showed there early on, so definitely want to try and come out firing a little harder against whoever they bring at us (Monday).”
The Rams and Spartans finish their series at Rams Field at 10:00 a.m. Monday.
Collegian Sports Reporter Chad Deutschman can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChadDeutschman.