The Colorado State club baseball team has seemingly forgotten how to lose to a conference opponent. After two dramatic walk-off victories yesterday, the Rams convincingly swept rival Colorado with a 13-9 victory this afternoon. This improves the red-hot Rams to 6-0 in conference play.
After scoring a combined 16 runs in the first two games of the series, the Rams once again had little trouble entering the run column. A three-run double by freshman outfielder Brandon DeLay broke the game open early for the Rams. This gave them a 4-0 advantage in the second inning, a lead they would not surrender.
“Hitting is contagious, so we built on it and I was able to come through,” DeLay said.
DeLay’s big knock was not the only damage in the inning. The Rams were able to put up seven runs in the second frame alone. This also included a bases loaded walk, a two-run double, and an RBI fielder’s choice by infielder Matt Davis.
The Buffaloes pulled their starting pitcher after recording only five outs.
Though hitting was the main story in this game, the Rams pitched extremely well early on. Starting pitcher Tate Hughes used the early cushion to his advantage, throwing five effective innings in which he allowed only two earned runs.
“I did well with challenging guys and just throwing strikes,” Hughes said. “I knew as soon as we got that lead that I just had to let them hit it and see what they could do.”
CU was able to respond with three runs in the top half of the third inning. But, all three of these runs were unearned. This was because of a two-out error at shortstop, which would have ended the inning before the Buffs were able to score.
However, the Rams quickly extended their lead again to seven in the bottom of the third. A single ripped into left by outfielder Stratton Williams put the Rams at double-digits for the second time in three games. The score was 10-3 at the end of three innings.
The Rams largest lead of the game was provided by a three-run home run to dead center by first baseman Zach Nelson in the bottom of the fifth inning, making the score 13-5.
This large lead, mixed with the fact that CSU pitchers were instructed to only throw 80-85 pitches this weekend, led starter Tate Hughes to call it a day.
“I hit that mark and he pulled me,” Hughes said. “I understood and it gives the other guys some work when we have a big lead.”
CU was able to put up a fight. They cut the Rams eight run lead in half, but still lost 13-9. This is the second year in a row that the Rams have been able to sweep their rivals.
The Rams also hosted an exhibition match against CU immediately after the three game sweep. The Buffaloes won the contest 16-5.
The Rams will look to keep their conference hot-streak alive six days from now against Wyoming in Laramie. Then, they will get come back to Fort Collins to face Colorado Mesa for three conference games and an exhibition match.
Collegian sports reporter Eddie Herz can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @Eddie_Herz.