Mountain Lions Split Day Two Against Top 25 Opponents
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The University of Colorado Colorado Springs softball team (2-2) split the second day of action in the Desert Stinger Tournament as the Mountain Lions fell to No. 23 Dixie State (3-1) by a final score of 7-5, and defeated No. 22 Augustana (4-2) by a final score of 4-3.
Game One Recap
UCCS started off the first game of the day with consecutive groundouts to second base. Jessica Belsterling recorded the first hit of the game with a single to left field. Emily Jennings followed that up with a single up the middle to give the Mountain Lions runners on first and second base. The team was unable to capitalize though, as the next hit was a routine pop fly to right field which ended the top half of the inning.
Dixie State did not remain as quiet in the first inning, as the leadoff batter singled up the middle and advanced to second on passed ball soon thereafter. Consecutive hits by the Red Storm scored the runner to give Dixie State a 1-0 lead early in the game. The team added two more runs in the inning with the aid of two wild pitches and two walks.
The Mountain Lions drew two walks of their own in the top of the second inning, but were again unable to turn the runners into runs. The infield for UCCS held the Red Storm scoreless in the bottom half of the inning as the Mountain Lions trailed 3-0 going into the third.
Jen Schellenberg led off the inning with a walk and moved to second base two batters later when Emily Jennings singled to shortstop.Dani Fonseca advanced Schellenberg to third as she hit a deep fly ball to center field for the second out of the inning. Schellenberg scored on in the next at bat with a single up the middle by Nikki Hoffman.
Becca Needle continued the rally as she reached first base on a Red Storm error, which also scored Jennings for the second Mountain Lion run. UCCS scored one more run in the third, to tie the game up at 3-3 with an RBI single from Claire Nibbe.
As quickly as the Mountain Lions scored three runs to tie the game, the Red Storm answered with five hits and two homeruns, to reclaim their three run lead in the bottom of the third inning. The Mountain Lions went down in order in the fourth and also kept the Red Storm scoreless.
The heart of the lineup was up to bat for UCCS in the fifth inning, and the Mountain Lions started to rally with the second batter, as Jennings reached first base on an error. Fonseca also reached on an error to give UCCS a pair of base runners with one out. Hoffman singled to center field for her second RBI of the game, followed by a single by Needler which scored the second run of the inning. That was the final run for the Mountain Lions though, not just in the inning, but also in the game.
Game Two Recap
Jourdan Hitchings started things off for UCCS in the top of the first inning with a single to the pitcher and a stolen second base to get into scoring position. Jennifer Schellenberg hit a single to right field to move Hitchings over to third base with zero outs in the inning. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, which allowed UCCS to take a 1-0 lead in the inning. Three quick outs brought the Mountain Lions' defense to the field, where they held the Vikings scoreless in the inning.
Both teams recorded one hit in the second inning, but neither team could manufacture a run. UCCS was held scoreless again in the third inning, as they went down one-two-three. Augustana pulled ahead in the bottom of the third with two runs on two hits and two runners left on base.
The Mountain Lions remained quiet for the next three innings as they recorded just two hits and zero runs in the time. The defense for UCCS also held the Vikings scoreless in that same time and gave up just one hit, which sent the game into the seventh inning with UCCS trailing 2-1.
Becca Needler began the seventh inning rally with a double to right field. She advanced to third with a single by Nibbe, and scored on a pitcher error. Sami Meyer hit a sacrifice bunt to move the tie runner, Nibbe, into scoring position. Hitchings reached base on an error, followed by a single by Schellenberg, which loaded the bases for UCCS with one out. A two run single to left field by Jessica Belsterling gave UCCS a 4-2 lead, which it took into the bottom of the seventh inning.
The defense for UCCS did just enough in the final half inning to solidify the win as the Vikings scored one run, but fell short to the Mountain Lions by a final score of 4-3.
Stephanie Chitowski earned the win to improve to 1-1 in the tournament. She pitched seven full innings and allowed three runs on six hits and recorded seven strikeouts.
Up Next: UCCS concludes the Desert Stinger Classic against No. 8 West Texas A&M (4-0). Start time for the Mountain Lions and the Lady Buffs is 3 p.m. Mountain Time Zone.
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