Strong start, slow finish for CSU softball in tournament

Tyler Meguire

The Colorado State team celebrates after a home run
The Colorado State team celebrates after a home run during their second game against Purdue University at the Colorado State Classic softball tournament on March 8, 2020. CSU won 4-3. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

The Colorado State University softball team played their first games in Colorado of the season this past weekend. Sharing hosting responsibilities with the University of Northern Colorado, the Rams went 3-2 in their third tournament of the year.

Friday

A clash between the Front Range schools kicked off the tournament as the Rams played the Bears in Greeley.

The Bears struck first, capitalizing on a Rams’ fielding error in the bottom of the first. The top of the second saw CSU march back, bringing five runs across the plate.

UNC would score their last run of the game in the bottom of the second, bringing the game to 5-2 in favor of the Rams. Scoring did not resume until freshman Maya Matsubara knocked in some insurance runs with a two-run home run in the seventh inning. The Rams would start the tournament with a 7-2 win in a game that was largely decided in the second inning. Redshirt junior Taylor Gilmore pitched a complete game only allowing one earned run. Gilmore struck-out two and gave up seven hits.

The Rams made easy work of the Oregon State University Beavers in game two of the tournament. The Rams would take an early lead as Peyton Allen and Jalyn McGuffin brought in two runs to round out the second inning. The Beavers scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth after a CSU error.

Allen opened the game at the seams after knocking in a three-run home run to increase the lead 5-1. Still not satisfied, the Rams put up five more runs in the top of the seventh and would win the game 10-1

Pitching a complete game, Jessica Jarecki allowed zero earned runs and struck out nine. Jarecki only gave up two walks and four hits on 104 pitches.

Saturday 

Traveling back to Fort Collins, the Rams finally got to break in their home field for the first time this season. Game three of the tournament saw another clash against the Beavers. Although a much tighter game, CSU would come out victorious winning 4-3 and rising rise to 3-0 on the tournament. 

Danielle Serna was certainly one of the most valuable players for the Rams in game three. The pitcher/hitter had a crucial double in the third and went 2-3 with three RBIs. Serna also pitched 5.2 innings and struck out four.

The Rams offense seemed to have used all their juice early in the tournament as the next two games would see a departure from their initial high-scoring affairs. 

CSU hosted the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits for the second game of day two. The Rams would get shutout on the game, but the Jackrabbits scored in four out of seven innings. Allen, responsible for half of CSU’s hits, went 2-3 with two singles. McGuffin and Brooke Polenz each went 1-3, grabbing the other two hits.

The Rams’ momentum from the previous games was stopped in its tracks, as they lost their first game of the tournament 6-0.

Sunday

Unfortunately, Sunday’s game against the Jackrabbits followed a similar narrative as their loss the day prior. Back in Greeley, the Rams were punished early and found themselves on the wrong side of a 7-0 game after giving up a grand slam in the bottom of the second. 

CSU scored their sole run in the top of the fourth and would fall victim to an issue that plagued them earlier in the season: leaving runners on base. CSU left 14 runners on base in Sunday’s game. Ashley York, Corina Gamboa and Tyler Trott were all stranded three times.

Overall, CSU hit well but was unable to transfer those hits to runs. The Rams had seven hits, and the Jackrabbits had nine, but their massive home run early put the game out of reach.

It was not Jarecki’s day on the mound. The graduate student had a quick day, pitching just 2.1 innings and giving up seven earned runs. Serna took over pitching duties and prevented any more damage through the rest of the game. 

CSU sits with a record of 5-8 after the weekend. On March 13, the Rams will play UNC again in a double-header before moving onto conference play. 

Tyler Meguire can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TMeguire.