CSU baseball routs Metro State 21-2

Christian Hedrick

The Colorado State University club baseball team jumped all over the Metro State University Roadrunners under the City Park Field lights Tuesday night for a 21-2 blowout victory in their last game before heading into conference play.

The Rams, who exploded for 78 runs, five wins and a championship during last week’s spring break tournament in Sunnyvale, California, brought that high-powered offense back to Fort Collins for their second matchup in two weeks against MSU. CSU narrowly defeated the Roadrunners 7-6 at City Park Field on March 7, but thanks to their hot bats, CSU managed to avoid another tight game Tuesday.

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“We gained a lot of confidence last week in the tournament,” coach Troy Tolar said after the game. “I think we just knew that once the bats get going, they get going for the whole time.”

Metro State sparked the offense Tuesday night with three hits and two runs against Rams’ starting pitcher Phil Miller in the first inning. The Rams answered by scoring on a first inning sacrifice fly to center by Matthew Hart and then tying the game on a Matthew Smith RBI single down the left field line in the bottom of the third.

With two outs in the bottom of the third, the MSU left fielder misplayed a Hart single, allowing him to take third and eventually score and take the lead before the inning was over.

Right-handed pitcher Mack Morford took over for Miller in the top of the fourth inning, striking out the first three batters he faced. The Rams gave Morford a lot of room to work, putting up eight runs in the bottom of the fourth, largely thanks to doubles by Jake Walker, Matt Davis, Josh Karlin and Gage O’Neil.

Davis, who had five hits in the game, is continuing to put together a stellar senior season, “Matt Davis is absolutely on fire,” catcher Jake Walker said. “He had 16 RBI in six games out there last week.”

The Rams continued to push across runs in the fourth and fifth innings while the Roadrunners’ offensive struggles continued. Left-hander Phelan Castellano stepped in for Morford in the sixth and picked up where the starting pitcher left off by keeping MSU off the board.

“We have a lot of confidence in our bats right now and our pitchers are just throwing strikes and not letting them get too many free bases,” Walker said.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, CSU sophomore Jared Van Vark sent a towering shot over the left field fence to put the Rams up 18-2. Van Vark’s grand slam was the biggest hit of the game for CSU, but it certainly was not the last. The Rams continued to hit through the order, making it a 21-2 game and erasing any hope of a miracle comeback by MSU.

The Rams’ next chance to show off their offensive prowess is this weekend against Wyoming at City Park Field, where they are 5-1 this season. The conference showdown also means the Rams can resume their quest for a third consecutive Mid-America-West conference championship, but do not expect the Rams to approach the games any differently.

“Every person in our conference is a good opponent,” Walker said. “We don’t take any of them lightly. We are just going to go out there and do what we do, stick to ourselves and hopefully it keeps rolling.”

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Collegian sports reporter Christian Hedrick can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @christianhCSU