CSU Softball stays hot over spring break

Ashley Potts

For most Colorado State University students, spring break was a time to relax, unwind and take it slow. CSU Softball, however, took no breaks in their current hot streak. Things stayed strong for the Rams while the rest of the student body was away.

If you muted your notifications or went somewhere with no service for break, here’s what you missed:

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First sweep over Fresno State in program history

Some students might have caught the beginning of the series against the Bulldogs as they drove away from campus after their final Friday classes before break began. The Rams took the field for three games against their first Mountain West opponent of the season. Fresno came into the matchup on an eight-game win streak, which the Rams promptly ended. The first game was the closest. After the Rams got off to a three run start, Fresno tied it up in the third inning. From there, things were clearly in CSU’s control. The team went on to finish 8-4. The Bulldogs had only allowed 12 total runs in their eight previous games.

The second game in the series had a tougher start. CSU scored one run in the opening frame before the teams entered a stalemate in the next two innings, then Fresno pulled ahead. The Rams came into the home half of the fifth inning down 4-1. That’s when things exploded. CSU put together 10 runs in six hits — including a grand slam by Corina Gamboa — righting the ship at 11-4. After one more run pushed through by Gamboa in the sixth inning, the game concluded due to run-rule. The Rams secured their first run-rule win in program history, 12-4, and took the series over Fresno for the first time since 2013.

The final game of the series was a bit more back-and-forth. The teams were tied at five before the Rams’ final at-bat. They put it away, scoring six runs to win 11-5 and complete the first sweep over Fresno State in program history.

“(The sweep) says a lot about our team this year,” said Head Coach Jen Fisher in a press release. “They are all really dialed in, playing our game and our kind of ball and executing. They aren’t worrying about what name is on the other team. We have our scouts, but we are ready to go up against anyone. When you have the memory of success ingrained in your brain, it is a lot easier to draw on it. I’m proud of them and I hope we can keep building on this.”

Gamboa named Mountain West Player of the Week

After a stand out performance in the Fresno State series, the league named Gamboa Player of the Week. Over the three game stretch, she had eight hits, including two doubles and two home runs — one being the aforementioned grand slam. She had eight RBI and four runs scored. Over her 12 at-bats, she had a batting average of .667 and a slugged at 1.333 while not striking out once.

The junior third base player recorded her season high in hits (4), doubles (2) and RBI (5) in the second of the three games against Fresno.

The award comes as the fourth Player of the Week award in as many weeks for CSU and the fifth weekly award overall this season. Ashley Ruiz, Lauren Buchanan and Amber Nelson were the three recipients of the award ahead of Gamboa, and Jessica Jarecki was named Pitcher of the Week back in February. 

Corrina Gamboa makes a pass from third base during the game against Syracuse March 9. The Rams defeated the Orange 8-6. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

CSU is ranked No. 25

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On the same day it was announced Gamboa had won Player of the Week, it was announced that CSU had broken into the top 25 teams as ranked by Softball America. The Rams are now ranked No. 25 on the list, among a number of SEC, Pac-12 and Big 10 teams. UCLA holds the No. 1 spot on the list. The Rams faced UCLA in February and held their own, only falling 3-0 to the Bruins.

Gamboa’s performance against Fresno State also got her mentioned in Softball America’s top performances of the week list. 

Hot streak continues in sweep of New Mexico

The Rams traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, March 22-24 to continue conference play. They took on the University of New Mexico in another three-game series.

The Rams got off to a hot start in the first matchup. They were up 6-2 before the Lobos racked up 5 runs in the fifth inning. The Rams stayed consistent, though, scoring three more runs in the final innings to end the game up 9-7. Gamboa was hot again, tallying a 3-for-4 performance with two more home runs.

The next day was more one sided. Neither team scored through the first three innings. Once the bats finally got going, it was all Rams. They scored two runs in the fourth and seven in the fifth. New Mexico was only able to get one run through in their final go at bat before the game concluded 9-1 after five innings, giving the Rams their second run-rule win in as many weeks.

CSU put on a full on hitting clinic in the final game of the series. They scored 16 runs, tying their season high from March 28 against Idaho State. Seven different Rams recorded hits in the performance, including an impressive three doubles in three at-bats from Amber Nelson.

“Our offense did a nice job keeping their foot on the gas which is something we have been working on,” Fisher said in a press release. “Not taking AB’s off. We continue to enjoy production from everyone in the lineup and that is something our team takes great pride in. By no means should we get complacent, and I don’t expect that from this team.”

With the two sweeps, the Rams continue their 14 game win streak. They are 23-4 overall, now 6-0 in conference play and sit atop the Mountain West standings.

The Rams will take a break from conference play to travel to Greeley for a one-off meeting with the University of Northern Colorado March 26 at 4 p.m. They will return to Ram Field for a series against Utah State this weekend, beginning March 29 at 4 p.m.

Ashley Potts can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ashleypotts09.