UCCS Falls to 1-4 After Doubleheader Sweep
Yogi Berra once said, â€œItâ€TMs DÃ©jÃ vu all over again.â€
Like they did in 2004, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions have limped out to a 1-4 start on the season thanks to a pair of losses Saturday to the Fort Hays State Tigers at Mountain Lion Field.
Fort Hays State won the opener 7-6 and the nightcap 7-5.
The good news in 2004 was that the Mountain Lions went on to win 13 of their next 14 games after the early swoon. The good news in 2005 was that the UCCS bats finally awoke from their nap. After managing only five hits in a pair of losses in Phoenix, the Mountain Lions pounded out 22 hits against a very good Fort Hays State pitching staff on Saturday.
â€œWeâ€TMre hitting better than we did when we left for Phoenix, thatâ€TMs for sure,â€ said UCCS coach Scott Peterson.
Unfortunately, all those hits didnâ€TMt equate to enough runs to beat the Tigers. The Mountain Lions left a staggering 21 baserunners stranded.
â€œIâ€TMm disappointed with the amount of runners we left on,â€ said Peterson. â€œWeâ€TMre hitting, weâ€TMre just not getting that hit when we need it.â€
That wasnâ€TMt the only problem. UCCS uncharacteristically struggled in the field. The Mountain Lions committed seven errors (five in Game 1, two in Game 2). They also had trouble with their decision making. Six times during the doubleheader UCCS opted to go for â€" and failed to retire â€" the lead runner instead of taking the easier out.
â€œThatâ€TMs unusual for us,â€ said Peterson. â€œInstead of just taking outs weâ€TMre being a little aggressive in trying to get the lead out. We were going for the lead out as our No. 1 option instead of looking then just taking the out.â€
There were several bright spots for UCCS. Among the teamâ€TMs 22 hits were four by second baseman Kara Rainey, three of which left the yard. It was a mystifying display of power by the senior, who came into Saturday with one career home run.
â€œI didnâ€TMt do anything different. In practice I donâ€TMt even hit anything out,â€ said Rainey. â€œI was just trying to hit the ball hard.â€
Another bright spot was pitcher Amanda Ritchie. After struggling with her control early in the season, the transfer from Division I Illinois-Chicago threw six innings in relief without allowing an earned run. She also struck out seven while giving up only one hit and walking three.
â€œ(I was) extremely confident finally, in my zone for sure,â€ said Ritchie, who prior to this season hadnâ€TMt pitched since 2002 because of injuries. â€œBeing out for a year and a half kind of does that to you, I guess.â€
The Mountain Lions blew a 6-5 seventh inning lead in the opener. In the top of the inning, Fort Hays State scored two runs on a pair of UCCS errors and two fielderâ€TMs choices in which the Mountain Lions failed to record an out.
UCCS loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning, but Sarah Cleland struck out and Brenna Pool grounded out to end the threat.
Rainey, Crystal Krebs and Cleland all went deep for the Mountain Lions, who scored all of their runs by way of the long ball.
Two more home runs by Rainey and another by Jennifer Dykstra gave the Mountain Lions a 4-0 lead in the nightcap. Fort Hays State rallied for one run in the fourth and six more in the fifth to take a 7-4 lead. All but one of the Tigersâ€TM hits came in those two innings.
A sacrifice fly off the bat of UCCSâ€TM Charlene Berg closed the gap to two in the bottom of the seventh, but the Mountain Lions left two more runners stranded.
Brittni Carlson also went 4-for-8 as UCCS outhit Fort Hays State 22-13.
Emily Askins led the Fort Hays State offense by going 3-for-8 with two home runs and four RBIs. The Tigers excelled at their small-ball style with effective bunting, baserunning and situational hitting. In fact, Fort Hays State scored 14 runs while getting only 13 hits.
â€œItâ€TMs typical Fort Hays. Theyâ€TMre going to battle like that,â€ said Peterson. â€œThey bring in all of these slappers, then (you get) a couple of crazy plays like (Rainey) running into the umpire (while chasing a popup).â€
Now that the unwelcome, but familiar, 1-4 start is behind him, Peterson is hoping that the 2005 version of the Mountain Lions responds how the 2004 version did.
â€œWeâ€TMre happy with the way we hit, so weâ€TMre going to be OK,â€ said Petrson.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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