Softball wins opener, splits first day of tourney
HENDERSON, Nev. - The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball team had plenty to overcome in its season-opening game against the Eastern New Mexico Zias Friday at the Las Vegas RMAC/Lone Star Classic.
The Mountain Lions' starting catcher was injured, forcing some position switches. Their ace had difficulty with location, leading to 10 walks and four wild pitches. They blew a two-run lead, allowing the game to go into extra innings.
Then, thanks to a little timely hitting by Kara Rainey, CU-Colorado Springs pulled out an 8-7 victory.
"I think (the win) sets the tone for our team and lets them know we can win without (starting catcher) Crystal (Krebs)," said CU-Colorado Springs coach Scott Peterson.
CU-Colorado Springs dropped a 5-2 decision to the St. Edwards Hilltoppers later in the day to slip to 1-1.
In the first game, Eastern New Mexico scored a pair of runs in the sixth inning to tie the game. Maegan Rhoten, who was placed at second base because the game had gone extra innings, scored on a sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth to put the Zias ahead 7-6.
Charlene Berg was placed on second in the bottom of the eighth for the Mountain Lions, but stayed there as Sonia Reyes popped up to short and Stacy Oldham flew out to left. The outlook was bleak when Megan Cushman went down 1-2 in the count. But the freshman from Anchorage, Alaska, fought off several pitches and earned a walk.
"That was a great at bat," said Peterson. "She fouled three or four pitches off."
That brought up Rainey, who had been hitless in four at bats, to try to tie the game. The goal quickly became going for the win when Berg and Cushman executed a double steal. Rainey drilled the next pitch into center field, and as Cushman crossed home with the winning run she was mobbed by the entire team.
"I was on deck and I knew I was going up the middle and knew it was going to happen," said Rainey. "I knew I was going to hit it. I was in a mind frame - in my own zone."
To get to that zone, several players had to deliver in less-than-ideal circumstances. The team's top two hitters from last season, Brittni Carlson and Jennifer Dykstra, each had two hits. Dykstra's second hit was a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth that gave CU-Colorado Springs a 6-4 lead.
But with Colton struggling, others would have to come through. Newcomers Lindsay Shandera and Brenna Pool also had two hits each, and Pool pitched three innings of solid relief to earn the win.
"We have a lot of kids who worked really hard to improve this fall," said Peterson. "We told the kids there were going to be days that Amber's going to struggle. When she does and we have to win a game 9-8, we will."
Well, 8-7 also works out pretty nice.
ST. EDWARDS 5, CU-COLORADO SPRINGS 2
While the Mountain Lions negotiated numerous obstacles in the opener, they were unable to overcome a disastrous fourth inning later in the day.
With CU-Colorado Springs holding onto a 2-1 lead, four Mountain Lion errors helped St. Edwards to a four-run rally in the fourth, all of which scored with two outs.
The Mountain Lions, who outhit the Hilltoppers nine to six, put runners on base in each of the final three innings, but were unable to bring any of them home. Rainey and Sarah Wodniak each had two hits for CU-Colorado Springs.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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