CSU softball rocks Kansas in game three to take weekend series

Mack Beaulieu

After losing two of three games to Fresno State, the Colorado State softball team (18-10) came back this past weekend to win a non-conference series against the University of Kansas (25-12) with two big offensive outings.

Junior Bridgette Hutton had a day to remember as she recorded a 12-inning win in the first game of the series and the Rams put together timely scores to win two high-scoring games.

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throws pitch
Junior Bridgette Hutton throws a pitch during the game against Utah Valley on March 9. The Rams beat the Wolverines 5-3. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

The Rams’ weekend started with a bang in the double header on Friday as junior Lauren Buchanan hit a solo home run in the top of the first. Hutton (11-5) held the Jayhawks scoreless for the first five innings, and in the top of the second, the Rams pushed across two more runs courtesy of seniors Madison Kilcrease and Hannah McCorkhill for a 3-0 lead.

“I thought Buchanan played really well this weekend,” coach Jen Fisher said. “I don’t know how many RBIs she had, but she hit the ball really well.”

After not getting a hit until the fourth inning, the Jayhawks finally broke through with a run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single to make it 3-1. Sophomore Haley Donaldson added an insurance run for the Rams in the top of the seventh to seemingly have the game in hand. However, Hutton navigated through hot water in the bottom of the inning and gave up three runs to bring the game to extras.

Both pitching staffs regrouped until the 11th inning when they traded runs. Finally, the Rams put it away in the 12th inning. Freshman Ashley Michelena hit an RBI double with runners on first and second to make it 7-5 before the sophomore Corina Gamboa added another run for a three-run lead. In the bottom half, Hutton wrapped up the feat of a 12-inning win.

“It was one of the best battles out of a pitcher I’ve ever seen,” Fisher said.

The next game didn’t start out as well for the Rams as the Jayhawks got two runs off sophomore Alison Petty in the bottom of the first. Petty settled down after that and the Rams took the lead on another Buchanan home run to make it 3-2.

In the fifth inning, Petty fell victim to a fielding error and lost some of her control while the Jayhawks scored four runs to make the game 6-3. The Rams couldn’t mount any sort of comeback in the remaining innings, only reaching base once on a fielding error and dropping the second game of the day.

Both teams got their strokes going early in the third game of the series as Corina Gamboa homered in the first inning after a Buchanan single up the middle to make it 2-0. Senior Kaylynn Pierce was on the mound to start the first when the Jayhawks took the lead on the strength of three hits and an error from Donaldson, making it 3-2.

“Gamboa had another really quality weekend,” Fisher said. “The wind was blowing straight in. I don’t know how that went out, she really hit it.”

CSU got back on top in the second after freshman Sarah Muzik drove in sophomore Nicole Valdez and Michelena to make it 4-2. After a scoreless bottom of the second, the two teams traded runs again to make it 5-3 going into the fourth. The Rams’ run came courtesy of Valdez who was having one of her best offensive outings.

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“We were all really excited for her,” Fisher said, “She works hard every day, she’s got a nice swing…She really stepped up and we’re really happy to see her have the quality at bats.”

In the fifth inning, the Rams extended their lead by four runs. After junior Danni Klein singled to start the inning, McCorkhill reached first on an error. A crazy turn of events led to Klein scoring on an error and McCorkhill stealing home. Michelena tripled in a run and Buchanan brought her in with a double two batters later to make it 9-4.

“Klein scored on a passed ball,” Fisher said, “McCorkhill came around third and the catcher took off her glove and the pitcher started going back to the mound and so Hannah decided to try and score…It was just a heads up play…All of the sudden we saw Hannah scoring, even we were surprised by it.”

The Jayhawks got two more runs to cut the lead to three in the top of the fifth, but behind patient hitting and a couple of Jayhawk errors, the Rams added five more runs to seal the game 14-6 and end the game by run-rule.

The Rams’ softball team will play next on Tuesday, April 3 as they take on Northern Colorado for one game in Greeley.

Collegian sports reporter Mack Beaulieu can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Macknz_James.