The Colorado State Classic II was a struggle for the Colorado State Rams as they lost two games to Wisconsin (20-2) and won one and lost one to Maine (2-5). The losses end the six-game win streak the Rams came into the weekend with.
The Rams (12-7) would start the weekend with a heartbreaking loss to Maine. Going into the seventh inning the game was tied at three. Sophomore Amber Nelson had already hit her sixth home run of the season back in the fifth off of reigning American East Pitcher of the Year Erin Bogdanovich, and would be coming up second in the bottom of the seventh.
Maine would change the walk-off potential situation however when Faythe Goins of Maine launched a three-run home run to left field off of freshman Alison Petty to give the Black Bears a 6-3 lead. Petty was in her second appearance all season and had not allowed a run since she came in during the fourth.
Junior Hannah McCorkhill would respond immediately in the bottom of the seventh with a laser of a home run to center field off of Bogdanovich. After that, Nelson singled to left field in which the fielder missed the ball and Nelson took off for second and rounded it for third. The throw to third went by and Nelson trotted home for the inside-the-park home run, putting the Rams down one.
That would be as close as the Rams would get though as they went down in order after the two home runs. That was the theme for the Rams as the one-through-four hitters had all eight of the teams hits and sophomore Lauren Buchanan was up after Nelson in the fifth spot.
Next up for the Rams was Wisconsin on Saturday and hitting would not get any easier for the Rams. Their streak of seven straight games of scoring in the first inning would come to an end as the Badgers got seniors Haley Hutton and Taryn Arcarese out and McCorkhill grounded out to the pitcher.
Sophomore Kaylynn Pierce would struggle in the circle as she gave up six hits in two plus innings, including two home runs. Sophomore Bridgette Hutton would come in and not much would change as she let up a home run on her second pitch of the game to Wisconsin’s Brooke Wyderski, her second of the game.
Wyderski’s two home run day was not even the best performance on her team as senior Chloe Miller went 4-for-4 with a home run, two doubles and a single. Miller’s four RBI performance fell a triple short of the cycle as she had a chance for a triple on her second double but choose not to go for it.
In the end, the Badgers would coast to an 8-1 win over the Rams as freshman Kaitlyn Menz matched her team’s offensive performance in the circle. The Rams had six hits but left eight runners on base, most notably in the fifth inning when the Rams had bases loaded with two outs as junior Hayleigh Evans grounded out to Menz.
Nelson provided the Rams’ only run with her seventh home run of the season as she went opposite field to the left fence. She would add on a single in the fifth to continue her hot streak.
The two game losing streak would come to an end in dramatic effect in the second game of the day on Saturday against Maine. Alyssa Derrick of Maine hit her third home run of the weekend against CSU and second of the game in the sixth inning to put her team up 4-3.
So once again the Rams found themselves down a run in the seventh. Junior Madison Kilcrease would start the rally attempt with a single and Haley Hutton would follow Kilcrease up with a single of her own. McCorkhill put up the Rams’ third straight single that would score Kilcrease and Nelson would walk it off with a RBI single over Derrick’s head at shortstop to end the game.
“Haley executed a good hit and run that moved Maddie over,” head coach Jen Fisher said on her team’s seventh inning comeback. “It worked really well we had our two fastest runners on board.”
That walk-off high would not last as the Rams were blown out by the Badgers on Sunday. Miller would go 3-for-3 and score four times with a home run. Wisconsin would hit back to back home runs twice on their way to a 16-0 victory in five innings.
Wisconsin’s Kirsten Stevens dominated in the circle as she pitched a complete game shutout with only two hits allowed. Haley Hutton and Nelson were the two Rams to get anything off of the pitcher.
“If it could go wrong it did today,” Fisher said. “There is not much you can say except tomorrow is a new day.”
Despite the 1-3 weekend, Nelson improved all of her offensive numbers as she is now at a .510 batting average, .627 on base percentage and a .980 slugging percentage.
Petakoff comes out of the weekend with a 1.67 ERA which now leads the team. Pierce came into the weekend as the Rams’ leader in ERA but it has inflated to 3.34 after she struggled this weekend.
“The pitchers have to understand what they did so well last week and repeat that performance,” Fisher said.
The pitchers and the Rams as a whole will try to look to last week to turn it around as they begin conference play next weekend with a three game series at Boise State (16-5), March 17-19. The first game will get under way on Friday at 5 p.m.
Collegian sports reporter Austin White can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ajwruless44