Lions let top seed escape
SAN ANTONIO - The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs had the biggest fish in the region on the hook and let it get away.
Kym Kling hit two home runs, the second a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning that keyed a seven-run rally, as the top-seeded St. Mary's Lady Rattlers defeated the No.-5 seeded University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions 11-4 in second round of the South Central Regional Softball Tournament Thursday evening.
"It turned out to be one bad inning in the whole game," said CU-Colorado Springs coach Scott Peterson. "We played real well. We knew Kling was a good hitter. She got a pitch that was just a little bit too fat and hit it out."
CU-Colorado Springs stranded nine runners, seven of those in scoring position, as the teams went into the sixth inning tied at four.
"We left a lot of runners in scoring position and a lot of them were there with less than two out," said Peterson. "We just didn't get the big hit."
The Lady Rattlers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half of the inning. An error by Mountain Lions shortstop Jennifer Dykstra allowed the first run to score. After CU-Colorado Springs pitcher Amber Colton (18-7) had recorded two outs, Kling cleared the bases with her second homer of the game. Brittney Ernst followed with a solo shot off a frustrated Colton, who had replaced Brenna Pool in the third inning and had shut down the potent Lady Rattlers up to that point.
"Amber's upset about that (inning), but that stuff's going to happen," said Peterson. "She just needs to shake it off and come back tomorrow."
St. Mary's added one more run in the inning.
"(St. Mary's is) a good team; they're a lot like we are when you look at the numbers," said Peterson. "They just got the big hit when they needed it."
The Mountain Lions let opportunities escape in the first two innings. In the first, Sonia Reyes and Brittni Carlson singled before Crystal Krebs was walked to load the bases. St. Mary's got out of the inning when Jennifer Dykstra's sharp shot to the pitcher turned into a pitcher-to-catcher-to-first base double play.
With one out in the second inning, Charlene Berg walked and Pool doubled. They were left stranded when Sarah Wodniak lined out and Kara Rainey grounded out.
St. Mary's made CU-Colorado Springs pay in the bottom of the second when Kling led off the inning by depositing her third home run of the season over the center field fence. Four batters later Pam Salinas doubled home Teri Moreno, then Tiffani Craft doubled home Salinas. After two innings, St. Mary's had three runs on the board, while the Mountain Lions had nothing but "what-ifs?"
Krebs answered that question with a long, two-run home run to left field, her 19th of the season.
St. Mary's added another run in the third against Pool, CU-Colorado Springs starter, before Peterson called for Colton, who had pitched a six-inning, complete-game victory a few hours earlier.
Pool and Colton led off the fourth inning with singles before Pool walked to load the bases. Reyes followed with a two-run single and Carlson was hit with a pitch to bring Krebs back to the plate with the bases juiced and no outs. Krebs, however, struck out, then Dykstra and Lindsay Shandera both grounded out to let the Rattlers off the hook again.
"We thought we were going to blow the game open in the fourth inning," said Peterson.
They very nearly did. Then St. Mary's wriggled off the hook. CU-Colorado Springs will face Texas Woman's at 12:30 Friday. Should the Mountain Lions win that game, they will play again at 6:30 against the other loser's bracket survivor. The goal is a Saturday rematch with St. Mary's, or whoever else happens to ride the winner's bracket to the championship game.
"We'll be all right," said Peterson. "They know we're here now. We plan on seeing (St. Mary's) again."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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