When the dust settled on Colorado State softball’s opening series of games at the Texas Classic, the Rams came away with a 2-3 record.
CSU picked up both wins against Maryland, but struggled against Minnesota and Texas.
The Rams scored five runs in their first inning of the year against Maryland. Sophomore Lauren Buchanan was hitting in the clean-up spot of the lineup and hit a home run on the third pitch she saw. The ball traveled over the left field fence and put the Rams up 4-0 before an out was recorded. CSU went on to win 14-5 in six innings.
Next on the docket was the hosting Texas Longhorns, who shutout CSU 8-0 in five innings. CSU sophomore pitcher Bridgette Hutton walked six batters, gave up six hits and had eight earned runs against in the game. The offense struggled to bring home runs as they left seven runners on base and were only able to get three hits.
Day two started with another quick start for CSU against Maryland, as they put up three runs in the first inning.
“That was a big focus of ours from the fall,” said CSU head coach Jen Fisher about the team’s quick starts. “We want to score early and often and put pressure on the other team.”
McCorkhill smashed another home run to give the Rams those three runs. It was her second home run in as many days, tying her season total of home runs last season.
“Hannah (McCorkhill) looks really good and she’s really understanding the system,” Fisher said. “She looks strong and confident and that’s the hitter we envision her being moving forward.”
Next for the Rams was the biggest challenge they would face in No. 14 (USA Softball ranking) Minnesota.
Buchanan played her role to perfection once again to start out the game, roping a double to bring home Nelson and put the Rams up 1-0. The Gophers responded in the top of the second however by putting up two runs.
On the mound, Hutton held one of the nation’s top teams scoreless for three straight innings. However, the offense once again could not close the deal as they left nine runners on base for the game, including a moment in the bottom of the third with the bases loaded. CSU went on to lose 5-1 to the Gophers.
The final day featured another matchup with Texas in which the Rams would show improvement, but not enough to get the win.
Down 5-0 in the fifth inning and with two outs, junior Hayleigh Evans notched a single and senior Haley Hutton followed suit with a single of her own. A wild pitch, a single from senior Taryn Arcarese and walk to Nelson later, CSU was down 5-2 and had Buchanan at the plate representing the tying run. It was three strikes, however, and Buchanan was out and the inning was over.
Texas responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth, cementing a 7-2 Texas victory.
“We see it as an opportunity,” Fisher said about playing high ranked teams. “We are trying to make that turn where we can matchup with these teams…it is time for us to start getting those kind of wins for the program.”
Colorado State (2-3) will head to Las Vegas for the DeMarini Desert Classic, Feb. 17-19. Coach Fisher will remind her team to “keep working the process,” as they take on Idaho State, Northern Iowa, Southern Utah, Hawaii and Weber State.
Collegian sports reporter Austin White can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ajwrules44