Lions Finish Rebel Games with a Flourish
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Jennifer Dykstra hit an RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs a 7-6 victory over the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs Friday.
The Mountain Lions followed with an 8-2 win over the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats to sweep Friday's play and finish their stay at the Rebel Games with a 4-3 record. UCCS rebounded from an 0-3 start at the tournament to win its final four games.
With the score tied at 6, Lindsay Shandera reached on an error and Crystal Krebs singled to give the Mountain Lions runners on first and second. One out later, Minnesota-Duluth pitcher Jessica Horne (0-1) got ahead 0-2 in the count on Dykstra, who launched the third pitch into the gap in right center field.
â€œI knew I was going to hit it because I was seeing the pitcher really well,â€ said Dykstra, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in the game. â€œThere was no doubt about it, even with two strikes. Itâ€TMs fun to hit runners in.â€
Itâ€TMs also fun to see the swagger returning to the UCCS dugout. Through the teamâ€TMs recent struggles, adversity often brought on apprehension rather than resolve. Not so on Friday.
â€œI donâ€TMt think we ever had any doubt,â€ said Dykstra. â€œWe knew we would back up our pitchers.â€
The Mountain Lions had a big opportunity for that doubt to creep back in during the top of the seventh. Brenna Pool came into the inning having retired 11 consecutive Bulldogs after relieving Amanda Ritchie, but in the seventh Minnesota-Duluth started showing the big-hitting reputation it brought to Florida. Four of the first five Bulldogs to bat in the inning reached base with three of them scoring. Amber Colton came in for Pool and promptly loaded the bases.
Then came what could have been a morale killer. Ahead in the count, Colton lost control of an inside fastball and hit Mel Johnson to tie the game with only one out.
â€œI was so mad at myself,â€ said Colton (5-2). â€œI got a little fired up. I had to make it up to my teammates.â€
She did exactly that by striking out the next two batters, leaving the go-ahead run stranded at third.
Dykstraâ€TMs game-winning shot in the bottom half of the inning not only won the game, it reenergized UCCS. The momentum carried over to Game 2, when the Mountain Lions jumped to a quick lead over West Virginia Wesleyan.
Rainey and Brianna Workman led off the game with back-to-back singles. Lindsay Shandera followed with a walk to load the bases for Crystal Krebs, who again validated her All-American status by belting a two-run single. Two outs later, Krebs scored on a passed ball and freshman Sarah Brisky delivered a two-run single that gave UCCS a 5-0 lead that forced the Bobcats out of their small-ball game.
â€œSarah Briskyâ€TMs hit was a big one,â€ said UCCS coach Scott Peterson.
Peterson was also happy with the performances of pitchers Kaleigh Beekman and Sandra Reyes, who came into the game allowing opponents to hit .384 and .333 respectively.
â€œWeâ€TMre really happy for Kaleigh and Sandra,â€ said Peterson. â€œKaleigh and Sandra threw great. They know that theyâ€TMve got opportunities and they stepped it up.â€
Beekman (1-2) allowed one run on six hits over four innings to earn her first collegiate win. Reyes pitched the final three innings for her first save.
The Mountain Lions got 21 hits over the two games. Krebs went 5-for-8, Shandera went 3-for-6 and Brittni Carlson went 3-for-7. Krebs and Carlson each had three RBIs.
But more important than the quantity of hits was the timing. Twelve of UCCSâ€TM 15 runs came with two outs.
â€œI think that weâ€TMre a lot more focused,â€ said senior second baseman Kara Rainey, who did her job as tablesetter in the leadoff spot by going a combined 5-for-8. â€œEverybody was pulling for everybody else, which was great because I donâ€TMt know if we were necessarily doing that before.â€
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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