CSU club baseball eager to rebound after loss in Lamar

Sergio Santistevan

After falling in their season opening doubleheader to Lamar Community College, the Colorado State club baseball team still has high hopes on the season. 

Junior, Jake Walker, hits against Wyoming on Saturday. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

The Lopes defeated the Rams 5-2 in the first game and 17-1 in the second game. Pitching was a problem for the Rams, which led to many walks and runs throughout the day.

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Junior pitcher Phelan Castellano, who started the second game against the Lopes, knows it wasn’t his best day on the mound.

“I was pitching the second game and got lit up,” Castellano said. “They could hit the ball. There’s lots of room to improve.”

However, Castellano and team president Jake Walker are convinced that their team will bounce back.

“It’s good to have those first couple games under the belt,” Walker said. “After those first games it brings people together…Everyone finds their role.”

Castellano says the pitching staff will play a critical role in bringing the team together. The main goal for Castellano and the pitching staff is to cut down on walks and be as effective as possible. He notices that if the pitching produces, everyone else is more effective.

Several players stood out against the Lopes, including Chase Nieslanik, Brandon DeLay and Gage O’Neil. Nieslanik is a transfer from Nebraska-Kearney who looks to play a pivotal role in the Rams’ success this season as a pitcher and first baseman.

Despite the losses to the Lopes, the Rams still have their eyes on their main goals, culminating in a national championship.

Going forward, the Rams can use improvement in other areas besides pitching. Walker knows that one of the biggest improvements the Rams can benefit from is leadership from the younger players. In his eyes, Nieslanik, Cole McKissock, Daniel Terao and Mark Singelton are all players destined to be standouts and leaders in the future.

The Rams were scheduled for a three-game series against Metro State University beginning Feb. 10, but due to the weather, all games were cancelled. The make-up dates for those games are tentatively scheduled for Feb. 27 and March. 27.

Weather permitting, the Rams hope to practice outside in the next few days, which is something that they haven’t had the privilege of doing recently. Castellano isn’t a huge fan of practicing indoors and considers it a disadvantage.

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“I like to stay it doesn’t, but it has a pretty big effect,” he said. “It’s different…there isn’t a whole lot we can work on.”

On the other hand, Walker loves the challenge the weather brings and knows it helps teach adversity early on.

The Rams will be back in action on Feb. 17 when they head to Trinidad Junior College for a four-game series with the Trojans. The Trojans will be one of the biggest challenges for the Rams on the season.

Walker is heading into Trinidad with a chip on his shoulder because of the recent losses the Rams have had in past seasons.

“I’m looking forward to it…They think they are going to roll over us,” Walker said. “We are a different team than a few years ago.”

Castellano admits in previous years he has played nervous against the Trojans, but this year is different.

“I’m a junior now I have no reason to be scared,” he said. “I have one more year of experience than most of these guys. I can step up as a team leader.”

Collegian sports reporter Sergio Santistevan can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TheRealsSergio.