Day one of the Ram Classic came with some offensive fireworks thanks to Colorado State’s 10-2 mercy rule victory over Texas Tech and its 6-0 win over South Dakota.
The offense exploded for 10 runs in the first game against Texas Tech (17-33, 4-14 Big 12), led by junior Hannah McCorkhill. The Rams’ (25-20, 8-13 MW) first baseman went 3-for-3 with a walk and five RBI, two of them off of a two run laser home run over left field in the third inning that put the Rams up 5-1 at the time.
“We just worked all week on being really aggressive and hitting early in the count and trying not to get behind,” head coach Jen Fisher said. “That really worked in that first game.”
Sophomore Bridgette Hutton was excellent in the circle as she held the Red Raiders to only two runs to help get the Rams the six inning mercy rule victory. She pitched all six innings with one earned run off of three hits and three walks and added in four strikeouts to increase her team lead to 62.
As it has been all season though, the team goes the way defense goes and it was on display. Senior Haley Hutton made a great play at third on a throw down by sophomore catcher Amber Nelson. The Texas Tech runner was looking to take advantage of Nelson being a lefty by trying to steal third, but Hutton came over from short after third baseman Corina Gamboa came up for bunt defense.
The throw was right on the bag and Hutton was able to put her body between the runner and the base and catch the ball. The slide by the runner knocked Hutton off of her feet but she held onto the ball to secure the out.
Game two against South Dakota (21-28, 10-8 Summit) was much of the same with the Rams grabbing the lead early in the second inning and then putting the Coyotes away in the third.
The Coyotes second baseman dropped a high pop up from McCorkhill behind first base with two outs and two Rams on that allowed both runners to come around and score. Sophomore Lauren Buchanan would make the error sting even more with her RBI double to left field that brought home McCorkhill with a 4-0 lead.
The Rams would extend the lead in the fourth after an error on the Coyotes’ third baseman on a throw from the outfield allowed junior Hayleigh Evans to trot home. Junior Madison Kilcrease singled to right field to score H. Hutton and put the game out of reach.
It was out of South Dakota’s hands because junior Larisa Petakoff kept getting them to hit into some easy outs. The pitcher with the third lowest ERA in the Mountain West kept the Coyotes off the board by allowing only six hits and giving up one walk with three strikeouts.
“Coach Pendelton noticed that both teams were pretty aggressive so they talked about really trying to keep the ball off the middle of the plate early,” Fisher said on Petakoff and B. Hutton’s performances. “They did a good job not putting too much of the ball on the plate so that they couldn’t quite square it up even though they were swinging early in the counts.”
The defense backed Petakoff up with two double plays in the game and only one error that came in the seventh with two outs.
“The double plays are racking up,” Fisher said. “You just don’t see both middles (H. Hutton and Taryn Arcarese) that can transfer that quickly so (a play) can go either direction.”
After a tough three game sweep by Nevada last week where the Rams had a late lead in all three games, Fisher was relieved to see her team get a couple big wins.
“On paper our conference record doesn’t look as good as how I feel our team is,” Fisher said. “I thought they deserved (the two wins).”
Haley Hutton was able to pick up three hits on the day as she is now only four hits away from the record for most hits in a career at CSU. The senior has already taken over the record for most runs scored ever and could also finish with the highest batting average ever if she can close out the season well.
The Rams will be back in action Sunday against Texas Tech and South Dakota again. Game one against the Red Raiders is set to begin at 11:15 a.m. and game two against the Coyotes at 1:30 p.m.
Collegian sports reporter Austin White can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by Twitter @ajwrules44.