Colorado State fell 6-2 to Utah State due to less than stellar defense and missed opportunities in the opening game of their three-game series Thursday afternoon.
The Rams bats were silenced when it mattered most by Utah State pitcher Kelli White, who limited damage, despite the Rams putting the ball in every at-bat besides a lone strikeout. The Rams left a total of nine runners on base in the game.
“I don’t think we showed a whole lot of fight,” head coach Jen Fisher said. “We looked defeated early after we gave up three runs. We just didn’t show up.”
The Rams fell behind early after the Aggies loaded the bases and emptied them a line-drive double to the left field gap.
“(I told the team) that we needed to keep the ball in front,” Fisher said. “But the ball had eyes, and ended up hurting us.”
Once the Rams went down early, the excitement and pre-game energy they showed disappeared and the team appeared to have lost their luster.
“I’d like to see a lot more fight,” Fisher said. “Our body language and effort at the plate (lacked).”
The Aggies created constant traffic on the base paths throughout the game, and the Rams defense struggled at inopportune times that allowed the Aggies to add insurance runs late.
“The long ball didn’t beat us,” Fisher said. “They had speed, and executed well. We muffed two plays on stolen bases that we normally should have.”
The lone bright spot of the day for the Rams was pitcher Kaylynn Pierce who battled through a strong Aggie lineup that included four girls hitting over .350 on the year.
“I think we actually pitched pretty well,” Fisher said. “We also played decent defense but didn’t execute our steal coverages.”
Despite a defense that allowed a couple plays to get away, Pierce battled through and finished the game having pitched 6 1/3 innings, while striking out three. Pierce attempted to help her own cause at the plate, going 2-3 with a pair of singles.
Hannah McCorkhill had the lone extra-base hit for the Rams with her fifth inning triple.
The Rams showed spurts of vigor at the plate, but failed to consistently put together strong at-bats in crucial moments that would have enabled the Rams to trim their deficit.
“(The Aggies pitcher) was jamming us up,” Fisher said. “We couldn’t barrel it up and hit everything off the handle. Even out of our seven hits, four were off the handle bloopers (over the infielder’s heads). She changed speeds well and we couldn’t hit the changeup.”
The Rams allowed their frustration to build against White, who leads a Utah State pitching staff that came into the series atop the Mountain West in earned run average (2.55) and hits allowed (200).
“Our team has to expect that (a team like the Aggies) isn’t just going to hand it to you,” Fisher said. “We’re going to see (White) all weekend, so we might as well not get frustrated, but just do what we do best.”
The Rams will continue their series Friday at 4pm where the team will look to juxtapose todays results and climb back up the standings after falling to 6-7 in conference, 20-14 overall with the loss.
Collegian sports reporter Luke Zahlmann can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @lukezahlmann