Holly Reinke threw a no-hitter. Jaelyn Manzanares and Kristina Akiona went home run happy.
The Colorado State softball team (22-24, 8-12 Mountain West) shutout UNLV (23-29, 7-14 MW) 7-0 Sunday, finishing off a three-game sweep against the Rebels behind the stellar performance from graduating seniors.
The series marked the final games of the 2016 season for the Rams, who were hot and cold throughout conference play, but finished the season with their only series sweep of the year.
The Rams’ bats gave Reinke plenty of run support Sunday, but it wasn’t necessary, as Reinke went the distance en route to her first career no-hitter.
“Everybody was quiet about it because there’s the curse and everything,” Reinke said. “No one said anything, but I was aware of it because I always keep track of hits and things to just keep track of where I’m at. Going into the seventh I told myself to just get the first out and take it one batter at a time. There was definitely some anxiety, but I got through that. I have to give a lot of credit to my girls; a no-hitter is a team effort and the defense was fantastic.”
Reinke threw 78 pitches in the 7 innings, striking out two batters and walking two. It was the second no-hitter since 2010 for the Rams.
Reinke wasn’t the only senior showing out in the season finale. Manzanares and Akiona hit a combined 4-8 from the plate and brought in 5 RBI’s. The duo made their presence felt in the 4th inning, when Manzanares hit a solo home run (6) and Akiona followed with a solo-shot of her own (7).
One wasn’t enough for Akiona, however, as she hit her team leading 8th home run in the 6th inning, extending the CSU lead to 7-0.
“I’m still in shock,” Reinke said. “I knew the team would perform well, as we had we won the first two games of the series. For us seniors, we just wanted to leave it all out there and have no regrets about our final game. I think everyone really played that way, not just the seniors.”
Conference play may not have gone the way the Rams wanted, finishing the year in 7th, but the series sweep thanks in large part to the seniors is an ample way to close out the season.
“It feels like things started to go our way,” said Jen Fisher, CSU head coach. “I’m not big on making excuses, but we have faced a lot of adversity this year. The team has stuck together through it all, and this was a good way to end the year.”
Collegian Sports Editor Chad Deutschman can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChadDeutschman