Trailing by one run in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs, and runners on second and third. Remaining fans ready to erupt, a comeback begging to be finished. Groundout.
The Colorado State (15-14, 1-2 Mountain West) softball team came just shy of completing a 10-run comeback Saturday, falling to Boise State (10-27, 2-7 MW) 16-15.
The softball Gods just would not let CSU have two storybook endings in one day.
The first exciting ending came at the finale of Friday night’s delayed game that was finished Saturday morning. Knotted 7-7 and heading into the bottom of the 7th, senior Kristina Akiona stepped up to the plate. With runners in scoring position, Akiona sent a ball to right center field that found grass, allowing junior Haley Hutton to score the walk-off run, giving the Rams the 8-7 win over the Broncos, and tying the weekend series 1-1. Boise State won the first game of the series 7-6 Friday.
If the first ending wasn’t dramatic enough, the second ending made up for it. The Rams got off to a slow start and found themselves down 8-3 after three innings.
Starting pitcher Holly Reinke found herself caught in early jams, ultimately being relieved in the second inning by sophomore Logan Losh.
“Sometimes a team just has somebody’s number,” head coach Jen Fisher said. “Or an umpire likes a certain level or likes a certain lane so we just have to really be adaptable. Our kids know that and they’re really a staff and support each other.”
Losh pitched four innings and settled things down for the Rams, allowing her team to trim the lead down to 8-6.
Then came the sixth inning, and things got chaotic.
With Losh shutting the door the last couple innings and the Rams bats starting to make that “ping” noise, the Broncos were desperate for some offense.
And they got it. And then they got some more. And then a little more.
The Broncos figured Losh out and started stringing back-to-back singles together, and by the time the bleeding stopped the Broncos’ lead had opened up a 10-run advantage, 16-6.
At this point, several fans decided to abandon ship and count their losses. Any comeback attempt the Rams had going before the sixth now looked lost. Someone forgot to tell the Rams, though.
“It was funny cause I turned to our second baseman Taryn (Arcarese), and we had our rally caps on in the dugout and I was like ‘dude I’m calling this, this is gonna be the comeback of a lifetime’,” Hutton said. “And sure enough that inning we scored nine runs and I was like ‘what?’ But right now, it takes the wind out of you when it happens like that at the end of (the seventh inning), but we do a good job of putting that away…that’s everyone’s mindset right now. Put it away, get on with the next.”
The Rams battled their way back into contention, one-upping Boise’s 8-run inning with nine of their own and cutting the lead down to 16-15.
Junior Larisa Petakoff pitched a scoreless 7th for the Rams, keeping momentum on CSU’s side.
With two outs and runners on second and third, junior Taryn Arcarese came up to bat. But, a groundout ended the game, and killing off what was still a gritty and admirable comeback.
The Rams start a home series against San Jose State (14-17) Sunday with a doubleheader. The first game is scheduled for noon, and the second game at 2:45 p.m.
Collegian Sports Reporter Chad Deutschman can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChadDeutschman.