At the point when most baseball games would pause for the seventh inning stretch, CSU’s weekend series with CU-Boulder was cut short by the mercy rule.
The Rams were leading the Buffaloes by 10 runs entering the bottom of the seventh inning on Sunday when the umpires awarded CSU its second win of the three game series at City Park.
The Rams fell 12-11 in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader before retaliating 14-1 in the second. They closed out the series on Sunday with an 11-1 win for a much-needed series victory.
“It was a long weekend for us,” CU coach Tucker Hinchcliffe said. “We were in Greeley Friday and Fort Collins the next two days with driving back to Boulder every night in between. There was a lot of traveling and it took a toll.”
CU kicked the series off by putting together a comeback that left the opposing dugout in disbelief. The Buffs trailed by as many as six runs before ultimately stealing the game by one.
“The first game was a bummer, that was definitely a heartbreaker,” CSU pitcher Riley Hughes said. “After that we said it was all or nothing, everyone was just leaving it out there and going all out.”
However the Rams were quick to answer in the latter half of Saturday’s doubleheader by scoring a season-high 14 runs while the Buffs would only tally one on the scoreboard.
“I think it depends on what team shows up. It either feels like we’re not ever going to score a run or we’re going to score 15 and make it fun again. It comes down to what team we decide to put out there,” CSU outfielder Tyson Martinez said.
The same team that showed up for the second game returned in the series finale. The Rams again won by double-digits, wrapping up the weekend with a 37-13 scoring advantage over the Buffs.
CSU’s weekend’s series was the second string of games games against CU this season. Earlier this month the Rams dropped three of four games playing away against their in-state rivals, giving the Buffs the 4-3 advantage on the season.
The last time CU won the regular season record against CSU occurred over five years ago.
“This is the first time we’ve won the seasonal series since I’ve been part of the program,” Hinchcliffe said. “It’s definitely a huge accomplishment for us seeing as they have been national champs for years running. We were right on the cusp from winning all seven.”
CSU has two games remaining on its regular season schedule, a doubleheader against UNC on Tuesday. The Rams are currently third in the Mid-America West Region but still have a shot at finishing first.
If the Rams come out on top of their final games, and CU beats UNC in their finale, the conference standings would end tied resulting in a tiebreaker decided by run differential. With the way CSU has swung the bat in the late part of its season, the tiebreaker would be likely to swing in its favor.
“I think we’re warm weather hitters,” Martinez said. “It’s finally beautiful out so I think we’ll start playing a little bit better hopefully.”
Club Sports Beat Reporter Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at email@example.com.