Cleland Slam Helps UCCS Avoid Sweep
Freshman Sarah Cleland hit a walk-off grand slam to give the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs a 10-9 victory in the first game of Sundayâ€TMs doubleheader and avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Fort Hays State Tigers.
Clelandâ€TMs slam capped a six-run seventh inning and ended a four-game losing streak for the Mountain Lions.
â€œI didnâ€TMt even know (the homer) won the game,â€ said Cleland. â€œI was just so excited.â€
Fort Hays State (10-4, 7-1 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) came back to win the nightcap 8-4 as the Tigers took three of the four games played this weekend against No. 7 UCCS.
A three-run homer by Trista Leiker and two-run shots by Emily Askins and Lindsey Boyer helped stake the Tigers to a 9-4 lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 1.
Sarah Wodniak singled and Kara Rainey and Brittni Carlson walked to load the bases. Lindsey Shandera hit a two-run single to cut the deficit to 9-6. After Crystal Krebs was intentionally walked, Tigersâ€TM pitcher Kelsey Roberts (1-2) induced an infield popup from Jennifer Dykstra for the inningâ€TMs first out. With the count 1-2, Cleland fouled off a couple of pitches before finding one she liked, a fastball at the knees, and deposited it well beyond the left field fence.
â€œI was up there shaking,â€ said Cleland. â€œI kept fouling them off until I finally got my pitch.â€
Sandra Reyes (1-0) pitched one inning of scoreless relief to get the win in her first appearance at UCCS (2-5, 1-3 RMAC).
Boyer and Ashley McClellan both homered in Game 2 as Fort Hays State roughed up UCCS freshman pitcher Kaliegh Beekman (0-2) for six runs (three earned) and 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings. For the series, the Tigers scored 31 runs against Mountain Lion pitchers.
â€œThree weeks ago, the pitching seemed to be way ahead of the hitting,â€ said UCCS coach Scott Peterson. â€œThen we had a scrimmage where the hitting tore up the pitching and the pitching hasnâ€TMt come back since.
â€œWe have good pitching. They have good hitters.â€
Thatâ€TMs for sure. Askins went 6-for-14 with three home runs and seven RBIs, while leadoff batter Heather Hitschmann went 9-for-18.
â€œThatâ€TMs a good team, holy smokes,â€ said Peterson. â€œThe leadoff hitter killed us all weekend.â€
Krebs hit her third homer of the series in Game 2, a two-run shot in the first inning off Tigers starter Brittany Parker (4-2).
â€œThe series) showed us what we need to work on still and what we need to do to come together as a team,â€ said Krebs. â€œI would hate for us to peak this early.â€
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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