UCCS Hits Big in Tripleheader Sweep
It took until the third inning of its eighth game, but the identity crisis that had dogged the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs so far this season was decisively swept away Saturday.
In the third inning of Saturdayâ€TMs tripleheader, the Mountain Lions finally remembered who they are; a nationally ranked softball team and the heavy favorite to win the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
â€œI donâ€TMt know what triggered it, but it felt like it did last year,â€ said shortstop Jennifer Dykstra, who was 7-for-11 with four runs and three RBIs on the day. â€œEverything fell together. We werenâ€TMt rushing anything, we didnâ€TMt have to think as much or worry as much. We just played like we know how to play.â€
Over the next 13 innings, the Mountain Lions belted 46 hits, including seven home runs and 13 doubles, to sweep the three-game set from the Adams State Grizzlies by scores of 15-13, 10-2 and 15-5. Both Games 2 and 3 were ended after five innings because of the NCAAâ€TMs eight-run mercy rule.
So dominant were the Mountain Lions that from the third inning on they had more runs (40) than outs (38).
â€œIt was great to see the bats come out,â€ said coach Scott Peterson. â€œWe hit the ball hard today. Everything we hit was hard.â€
The teams opted to play three games Saturday instead of just the two originally scheduled because of a dismal weather forecast for Sunday. The fourth game of the series will be played, weather permitting, at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
All-American catcher Crystal Krebs was the brightest of many hitting stars for UCCS. The senior from Loveland went 7-for-8 with seven RBIs and seven runs. All seven of her hits were for extra bases, with four doubles and three home runs.
â€œIâ€TMm picking up the ball really well,â€ said Krebs. â€œIâ€TMm going up there, being patient and waiting for my pitch. When I get it, I take advantage of it.â€
The only thing that could slow Krebs Saturday was Adams State coach Cari Boe, who opted to intentionally walk the 2004 Diamond Sports Division II Catcher of the Year five times.
â€œItâ€TMs frustrating because, as a player, I love to hit,â€ said Krebs. â€œ(But) I take it as a sign of respect.â€
Other hitting stars included Brittni Carlson (5-for-11, four runs, five RBIs), Lindsay Shandera (6-for-11, four runs, seven RBIs) and Sarah Cleland (6-for-9, three runs, six RBIs).
â€œWe know we can hit â€" our teamâ€TMs been built around hitting,â€ said Peterson. â€œNineteen kids (everyone on the roster) played today and it seemed like everyone did something.â€
Indeed they did. Anna Berngard pinch hit twice, drawing a bases-loaded walk the first time and belting a three-run homer the second. Kaleigh Beekman batted twice and hit a double. Sarah Brisky singled and was hit by a pitch in two at bats. Sandra Reyes drew a walk in her first at bat of the season and came around to score.
The only possible negative was that UCCSâ€TM top two pitchers, Amber Colton and Brenna Pool, were both hit hard in the opener. Colton, though, came back to pitch three strong innings of relief in Game 3 during which her pitches had a zip and movement that had been thus far lacking.
â€œShe was a little fired up after the first game,â€ said Peterson. â€œAmber knew it was time to step it up. She was throwing as hard as she throws that last couple of innings. She looked great.â€
Pool (1-2) pitched four innings of relief to earn the win in Game 1. Colton (2-0) got the win in Game 3. Sandwiched in between was a superb five-inning, two-hit effort by junior Amanda Ritchie (1-1) in her first start of the year.
The Mountain Lions improved to 5-5 on the season and 4-3 in the RMAC. Adams State fell to 4-11, 0-7.
Megan Roberts (2-2), Amy Cousin (0-4) and Jessica McLaughlin (1-3) took losses for Adams State.
Barbi Scott went 5-for-9 with five RBIs, while Mandie Roark went 5-for-8 with five RBIs to lead the Grizzlies.
â€œEverything was on â€" hitting was on, pitching was on, baserunning was on,â€ said Dykstra. â€œWe were having fun.â€
And fun is a big part of who the Mountain Lions are.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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