The cliché goes that softball is a game of inches and that was true for the Colorado State Rams in their 9-4 loss to San Diego State on Friday.
A three run home run by the Aztecs’ (18-11, 2-2 MW) Taylor Stewart hit the very top of the right-center fence and rolled over and put her team up 8-4 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Rams (13-10, 1-3 MW) got out in front once again after sophomore Lauren Buchanan doubled down the left field line after the Aztecs’ third baseman had the ball go off the end of her glove. Senior Taryn Arcarese popped a single to left field on the next bat to bring home another run and put the Rams up 2-0.
“We got to do a better job of trusting our training,” head coach Jen Fisher said on her team’s quick starts but slow finishes. “We are still trying to put all pieces of the game together too.”
SDSU would respond immediately in the top of the second with three runs. Senior shortstop Haley Hutton had two hard line drives bounce off the end of her glove in the inning, catches that would have prevented two of the runs scored in the inning by the Aztecs.
The Aztecs would gift a couple runs back after Buchanan singled with two outs in the third and SDSU’s right fielder dropped a high fly ball hit by Arcarese that allowed for Buchanan to score. Junior Madison Kilcrease would hit a soft grounder down the line to score Arcarese on the fielder’s choice throw to home.
In the fourth, the Aztecs would start to put their mark as senior Sydnee Cable doubled up the middle to score two and put her team back up 5-4.
From there the Aztecs would take an 8-4 lead after a home run and finish the game with a 9-4 victory. CSU left the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth inning. Freshman Corina Gamboa struck out swinging in the fifth and Buchanan popped out to second in the sixth.
“They have that balance of speed and power and they keep coming at you so you can’t really let your foot off the gas,” Fisher said.
Sophomore slugger Amber Nelson came in as the Mountain West leader in batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage, but struggled at the plate going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Sophomore Bridgette Hutton would struggle in the circle as well as she gave up 16 hits and three walks in the contest.
“We had a good heart to heart and I think across the board they know we can play better than that so we are trying to put that away and come out hard tomorrow,” Fisher said.
The Rams will not have to wait long to get another crack at SDSU as game two is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Collegian sports reporter Austin White can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ajwrules44