CSU softball takes weekend series against conference foe UNLV

Junior Guerrero

After their miraculous 20-game win streak came to an end, the Rams were eager to get back on the field and back to their winning ways. The next obstacle in their way was Mountain West conference foe University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The Rebels have been successful all year, coming into the series with a 26-9 record. They were looking to keep the Rams in check and take the series.

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Game one began late on a chilly Friday afternoon. Game time was set for 4 p.m. but got pushed back to 4:40 p.m. due to a temperature delay.

Once the game officially started, the Rams came out on fire. They managed to put up five runs in the third inning to take the lead 5-0. The Rams looked to be in control until their bats went cold.

“We are a little bit baffled why our offense seems a little less confident than they should be,” Head Coach Jen Fisher said in a press release. “We need to work on that, and we need to realize that we are in a tough part of the season. Everyone is going to be gunning for us. Staying confident and focused is going to be huge for our offense and putting the good kind of pressure on ourselves, not the bad.”

The Rams gave up five runs in the fourth inning and a single run in the sixth inning, giving away the lead. Unable to bounce back, the Rams dropped game one of the series 6-5.

“We really needed that. For everyone to battle and have quality at bats all the way through the game is great. I thought we really punched UNLV back every time they punched.”-Jen Fisher, head coach

In desperate need of a win, the Rams showed up on Saturday ready to get back on track. After two innings of play, the Rams spotted the Rebels three runs. Facing an early deficit, the bats came back to life for the Rams.

“I like how we kept responding even though we gave up a couple runs,” Fisher said in a press release. “We really needed that. For everyone to battle and have quality at bats all the way through the game is great. I thought we really punched UNLV back every time they punched.”

Three runs came around for the Rams, tying the game up after two innings. After a controversial base hit down the line in right field, the Rebels regained control of the lead 5-3.

Once the crowd calmed down from the controversial call, the Rams got their groove back. The Rams brought four runs in the next three innings to take the lead 7-5.

Taylor Gilmore winds up to pitch during the game against University of Nevada, Las Vegas April 13. (Ashley Potts | Collegian)

Redshirt freshman Taylor Gilmore came into the game to shut the Rebels down. It was only a matter of time before the Rams got back to playing their kind of ball and achieved a victory.

“I trust my defense 100%,” Gilmore said. “Having an amazing defense behind me and amazing catcher makes me a lot more confident.”

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In the final game of the weekend, the Rams looked to pick up a hard-fought series victory. With senior Bridgette Hutton on the mound, all the signs pointed to the game being a rubber match between the two teams’ pitchers.

The Rams brought two runs in the second inning to give them the 2-0 lead. They added two more runs in the sixth with a bomb home run from sophomore Tara Shadowen to make the game 4-0.

Bridgette Hutton celebrates after striking out the last hitter to win the game against University of Nevada, Las Vegas 4-2. The Rams took the series, beating UNLV two games to one. (Joshua Contreras | Collegian).

Hutton kept a handle on the Rebels all game. She kept the Rebels off balance and scoreless through six innings. The Rebels finally got on the board with a two-run home run in the seventh.

Hutton managed to close the game out, giving the Rams the series victory.

“Coach (Pendleton-Helm) talked before the game and told us to have fun today and get a win,” Hutton said. “And that’s exactly what we did.”

After dropping game one of the series, the Rams did what they’ve been doing all season long: battle. No game is going to be easy, and the Rams know they have to be at their best to win.

“I really like the way that we came back and battled a very tough UNLV team,” Fisher said. “We did it by having confidence in ourselves.”

The Rams head to Nevada to take on the Wolfpack on Thursday before returning home April 23 to take on the University of Northern Colorado at Ram Field at 4 p.m.

Junior Guerrero can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @juniorg45.