For the fourth time this season, the Colorado State softball team defeated Northern Colorado, sweeping the season series with their 3-1 victory.
It was the Rams’ (22-15, 7-8 MW) second win in Greeley this season and it extends the Bears’ (16-30, 4-8 Big Sky) losing streak to six games.
Rams sophomore Bridgette Hutton controlled the Bears’ lineup all game. The only run for the Bears came in the bottom of the second after a double by Sophia Taylor, scoring a runner that stole second the pitch prior. Hutton finished the game with only one earned run off of two hits with eight strikeouts and two walks.
“Her changeup was just really working today,” head coach Jen Fisher said over the phone. “She had a lot of strikeouts and was keeping them off balance and changed speeds.”
The Rams were down for most of the game however, as they did not break through on the scoreboard until the sixth inning.
In the sixth, senior Taryn Arcarese executed a perfect suicide squeeze that not only scored junior Madison Kilcrease stealing home, but also scored sophomore Sierra Galbreath from first. Galbreath was able to score after the Bears’ pitcher overthrew first base, which also allowed Arcarese to be safe but two pop-outs ended the inning for the Rams.
“I kept telling them it’s going to be something small or a hustle play is going to win this game,” Fisher said. “We were swinging at good pitches, we just weren’t squaring it up. I liked our approach…(Kilcrease) finally squared one up and we laid down the squeeze and it ended up being the difference for us.”
CSU added on another run in the seventh after senior Haley Hutton reached on an error and Kilcrease slapped a double and brought home the CSU career leader in runs scored. The Bears finished with three errors on the day while the Rams’ defense had none.
Fisher switched up the lineup by putting Kilcrease at the two spot and letting the power hitting sophomore duo, Lauren Buchanan and Amber Nelson, see some better pitches. Kilcrease responded by going 2-4 with a triple that set up the squeeze by Arcarese.
“It was really very clutch for (Kilcrease), she had a great day,” Fisher said. “She really came through for us with the triple.”
Bridgette Hutton’s performance lowered her ERA to 3.73 and she now leads the team in strikeouts with 52 on the season.
Up next for the Rams is a home conference series against the UNLV Rebels. The Rebels (21-19, 4-8 MW) are currently last in the Mountain West and are coming off a series loss to Nevada in which they lost two out of three matchups. Game one is scheduled to get underway Friday at 4 p.m.
Collegian sports reporter Austin White can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ajwrules44