Colorado State softball will head into the 2017 season with hopes of improving upon an up and down 2016 season.
A season ago the Rams finished 22-24, 8-12 in the Mountain West. The overall record will not jump off the page, but CSU had an 11-2 stretch in March, showing potential to compete in the Mountain West.
With the first pitch of CSU’s season scheduled for Friday, Feb. 10 at 1:00 p.m. against the University of Maryland in Austin, Texas for the Texas Classic, CSU will be looking to get off to a faster start than last year, where the team went 5-10 in February.
“The players are going to be excited,” Fisher said in a statement about the Texas Classic. “We had a tough time out of the gate last year, but we knew we were playing very high-quality opponents. I think the squad handled that well. I think they can handle going up against these teams mentally. It’s more about if our processes are working. I think we can surprise a couple teams.”
A look at the team’s schedule shows 27 games at home and three tournaments hosted at Ram Field. The 27 games at Ram Field is 10 more than the team had scheduled last season.
Ram Field will play host to seven non-conference teams across three home tournaments. Among the non-conference teams scheduled to play at CSU are Big Ten members Penn State and Wisconsin and Big 12 member Texas Tech.
CSU will start the season on a 10-game road trip, returning to Ram Field Feb. 28 for a two week stretch where the farthest the team will travel is Greeley, Colorado.
“It’s always a goal of ours to keep our students in classes as much as possible,” CSU head coach Jen Fisher said. “The traveling gets to be an ordeal when you’re away a lot more than you’re at home.”
Colorado State will host their first tournament, the Colorado State Classic, on March 3-5 against Penn State, Buffalo and Idaho State. Maine and Wisconsin will make their way to Fort Collins the following weekend for the Colorado State Classic II.
“We get to play some quality teams this year,” Fisher said. “These are also teams that we have not played much recently or ever, so it’ll be exciting to see what they bring. Hopefully we will have a few weekends with good weather and our fans out there supporting us.”
The Rams will start the conference portion of their 2017 schedule March 17-19 on the road against Boise State. CSU will host Mountain West opponents San Diego State, Utah State and Fresno State throughout the course of the season.
During CSU’s Mountain West bye week May 6-7, non-confernece opponents Texas Tech and South Dakota will visit Ram Field for a late season tournament and play two games apiece.
“I think we are going to be a little more offensive-minded than we have been in a while,” Fisher said. “We have more outfield depth than we have had the last couple years. I think we are going to continue to stay stable on the mound. If we can get the pitchers more run support, it will allow for more breathing room. That’s our goal.”
Collegian sports editor Chad Deutschman can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChadDeutschman