There were two outs in the bottom of the fifth-inning, her team leading by five when junior Danielle Wikre walked up to the plate. Following the release of the ball from New Mexico pitcher Carrie Sheehan, Wikre made contact home from the batter’s box after it flew over the right center-field fence.
CSU softball went into Wednesday afternoon’s game swinging toward a series win. With three home-runs and a handful of doubles and singles, the Rams went on to win 13-5 on a mercy ruling.
“That at-bat I was just trying to take it one pitch at a time and relax, as well as not really worrying about the outcome and just trying to focus on the ball and making contact,” Wikre said.
The Rams improved to 29-11,10-5 Mountain West with Wednesday’s victory, earning their fifth consecutive Mountain West series win.
“For our team, it’s really never a lack of effort it was just focusing on the right things,” CSU head coach Jen Fisher said. “I think that they always show up working hard and they were a little pissed off. So when you do that to them, I guess you should be a little bit nervous; it’s like going into a hornets’ nest.”
And it was a hornet’s nest attack for CSU. With an even slate between the Lobos and Rams at the start of game three, the Rams had a lot to say after falling to the Lobos 6-2 in game two. With a notion of hitting every pitch in the final 2013-14 match up between the MW teams, CSU earned the upper hand from the first-inning, leading 6-0.
“We came in with a big focus on driving strikes, staying in our zone and making sure we were not hitting her pitch, we were hitting our pitch,” Fisher said.
The Rams went on to an 8-0 lead heading into the top of the third, which is when UNM had enough and knew without a couple runs the game was going to be over.
“All the teams that are supposedly lower in the conference standings than us are no-slouch team,” Fisher said. “So I think having that experience (of teams coming back to defeat the Rams), we were better prepared for that. We are keeping our nose to the fire and just making sure we are making our pitches and doing our job on offense.”
Despite 11 earned hits and five runs for New Mexico in the top of the third and fourth inning, the Lobos could not fight back. From the sliding efforts of the infield to the diving catches in the outfield, defensive players Chelsea Biglow, Hayley Hutton and Ashlie Ortega kept the Rams in the game today as well as maintaining its momentum lead.
CSU heads to California next for its most challenging series of the season this weekend against San Diego State. This weekend will serve as a test for the Rams, who are in a three-way first place tie in the conference with Fresno State and SDSU.
A conference title would be CSU’s first since 2004.
“They actually really prepared us for when we go and play San Diego this weekend because their pitcher also throws the change-up a lot, and for us to be able to see that change up fast and slow. It really helps us heading into it this weekend,” Wire said.
Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.
Chelsea O’Connor: 4AB, 3R, 3H, 5RBI
Danielle Wikre: 3AB, 1R, 1H, 4RBI
Jaelyn Manzanares: 3AB, 1R, 2H, 2RBI
Mariah Rimmer: 3AB,2H, 2RBI
Jordan Sjostrand: 3AB, 1R, 2H, 1RBI
Naomi Tellez: 3AB,2R,3H
Winning Pitcher: Reinke(17-5)
Losing Pitcher: Rodrigues (4-8)