The Colorado State softball team found exactly what it was looking for over the weekend.
The Rams were riding a four-game losing streak and were fresh off being swept by Utah State in their first Mountain West appearance of the season heading into a home series with Boise State. But this time CSU was able to connect the way it intended to.
The Rams racked up 28 runs over three games that resulted in a sweep over the Broncos, compared to the 5.4 they were averaging per game going into the weekend contest. The Rams’ ability to swing the bat effectively brought them back to an even 3-3 standing in conference play.
“We had to be more confident, we had to be more stingy, we had to play off the pitcher’s pitch and wait for ours; that was our big focus all week,” head coach Jen Fisher said. “I think the kids needed it for their confidence because I think, on paper, it looked like we played horrible last weekend and we really did not play bad.”
In Sunday’s finale, the offensive production was sparked by Shae Rodriguez, who got things rolling early for the Rams in the second inning. In her first at-bat of the afternoon, Rodriguez took the plate with the bases loaded and was given a floating ball directly down the strike zone from Broncos’ starting pitcher Rebecca Patton.
It was the pitch she had been waiting for. Rodriguez zoned in on the ball perfectly, sending it flying over the left side of the outfield fence for CSU’s fourth grand slam of the season.
“I haven’t seen a lot of inside pitches this year. So when I did get that one, I had to jump on it,” Rodriguez said. “It was my pitch so I just drove it. Once it hit the bat, I knew it was gone. It was a really good feeling to know I got four more runs for (pitcher) Holly (Reinke).”
Boise State posted a quick rebuttal in the top of the third inning, bringing in three runs and cutting the deficit to three. But the Rams’ ability to answer ultimately proved to be too much, particularly in the sixth inning when the CSU lead grew large enough to end the game short on an eight-run mercy rule.
A new CSU season-high of runs in single game was set in Sunday’s 12-4 victory.
“That’s part of their (CSU’s) competitive nature,” Boise State head coach Erin Thorpe said. “We came in here absolutely knowing that we’d have to put up a fight because they’re a great team and they keep battling back. They did a great job of staying right with us whenever we’d put something together.”
The Rams will return to the field on Wednesday, kicking off their final stretch of non-conference play with a rematch against Northern Colorado at Ram Field. The first pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. CSU was defeated 9-8 in a close matchup with the Bears last Tuesday on the road.
“Our big focus has to be not on who we’re playing. We keep talking about how it’s really between you and the game, not the other team,” Fisher said. “The ladies play better when they’re in that mindset and they’re not focused on who it is we’ll be taking on.”
Collegian Sports Editor Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @QSickafoose.