Softball grabs records, RMAC crown
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs clinched the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference regular-season softball title Wednesday with a doubleheader sweep of the Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves at Four-Diamonds Sports Complex.
CU-Colorado Springs (31-10, 23-3 RMAC) beat CSU-Pueblo (12-29, 9-20) 10-0 in five innings in the first game and 6-5 in eight innings in the nightcap. The Mountain Lions will host the RMAC championship tournament on April 30-May 1.
Crystal Krebs set a new CU-Colorado Springs record for career home runs in Game 1 when she hit her 16th of the season, a grand slam in the third inning. Krebs added a second homer in Game 2 and drove in nine runs, going 4-for-7. Despite having played in 36 games as a Mountain Lion, Krebs easily eclipsed the previous career home run record of 15, set by Becky Leopoldus from 1995-98.
Pitcher Brenna Pool added another school record in Game 2 by pitching her 16th win of the season (against five losses). Having surrendered a 5-1 lead, Pool made amends by belting a walk-off homer to left field in the first extra inning. The ironic thing about the record is that Pool was recruited primarily to play third base.
"Pool) has incredible control," said CU-Colorado Springs coach Scott Peterson. "We thought she was going to be a compliment to our staff, but when (pitcher Katrina Maestas) went down we found out how good she really is."
After blowing out CSU-Pueblo in the opener, the Mountain Lions took the lead in Game 2 on a three-run homer by Krebs in the third inning. They made it 5-1 in the fifth inning behind RBI singles by Jennifer Dykstra and Pool.
The Thunderwolves rallied for three runs in the sixth, capped by Melissa Perea's two-run homer that stayed just inside the right field foul pole. It was the second long ball of the season for Perea, who was Pool's roommate last season at Otero Junior College.
The Thunderwolves tied the game in the seventh on Lesley Belden's two-out RBI single. All five of CSU-Pueblo's runs scored with two outs.
"We were getting the first two outs but we couldn't seem to get the third out," said Peterson. "Regardless of what kind of year they're having, that Pueblo team and (coach) Shane Showalter are going to keep coming after you."
But the Mountain Lions haven't panicked in close games all season. Pool, the first batter of the eighth inning, belted a pitch by CSU-Pueblo's Breanna Hedstom (2-13) over the left field fence.
"We don't panic in that situation," said Peterson, who pointed out that CU-Colorado Springs had previously won seven one-run games this season.
Amber Colton pitched a five-inning, two-hit shutout in Game 1 to improve to 15-5 as the Mountain Lions again forced a game to end early because of the NCAA's eight-run mercy rule.
But it was the offense that stole the show.
Dykstra hit a solo homer in the second inning to put the Mountain Lions up 1-0. They added five more runs in the third on a Brittni Carlson RBI single and Krebs' grand slam.
In the fourth, Krebs singled home two more runs and Dykstra followed with a two-run shot to left center, her sixth of the season.
Dykstra went a combined 4-for-7 with four RBI, while second baseman Kara Rainey went 6-for-7. Lindsey Shandera also went 4-for-7.
CSU-Pueblo's Amy Renaldi (10-15) took the loss.
"I think the team realized we have to come out and play hard," said Peterson, talking about the wake-up call the Mountain Lions got in Sunday's loss to Fort Lewis. "The Fort Lewis game taught us that we have to come out and play our game from the beginning."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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