Regis sweeps UCCS Sunday, salvages series split
During the 2005 season, there have been good Mountain Lions and bad Mountain Lions. Sunday, the bad Mountain Lions made an appearance.
The Regis Rangers swept the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs 7-4 and 6-2 at Mountai9n Lion Field to salvage a split this past weekend's four-game series between the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference's two best teams.
"We know we're going to see (Regis) down the road," said UCCS coach Scott Peterson. "I don't think the season's going to end without meeting them again."
That's not to say that Regis is an opponent that anyone would come in expecting to beat. Twenty-seven time this season teams have lost to the Rangers. Only eight times were they successful.
The point is that it's not that the Mountain Lions were beaten, but rather how it happened.
UCCS faithful had hoped that the bad Mountain Lions were gone for good. UCCS (22-14, 16-9 RMAC) came into Sunday sporting a 10-game winning streak and having won 16 of its past 17 games. During that span, UCCS had hit .376, committed only eight errors and combined to post a 2.13 earned run average.
Sunday, the Mountain Lions combined to walk 13 batters and even walked home three runs. They were also sloppy in the field, committing five errors and making three costly botched fielder's choices. And while they hit the ball, they were unable to hit in the clutch aside from Brittni Carlson's Game 1 grand slam.
"They know us. We've played them six times this year," said Peterson, acknowledging that it's very difficult to beat a good team six times in a row (UCCS is now 4-2 against the Rangers). "We know who they are; they know who we are. We know what each team has to do to stop each other."
While Sunday it was Regis that did the stopping, UCCS began the day looking like it was going to continue Saturday's pounding of Regis pitching and run away with the series.
In the first inning of Game 1, Kara Rainey and Brianna Workman hit back-to-back singles before Lindsey Shandera hit into a fielder's choice that left runners on the corners with one out. After Regis coach Dana Lillard opted to intentionally walk UCCS All-American Crystal Krebs, who homered three times Saturday, to load the bases, Carlson hit a grand slam well beyond the left field fence.
"When I got up to the plate I was just thinking we needed a base hit and everybody else would follow me," said Carlson. "I guess I hit it hard enough."
Regis came back in the third, scoring five runs on a solo home run, two singles, three walks and an error. Regis added runs in the sixth and seventh innings, while starter Nicole Breeding (13-3) held UCCS to three hits the rest of the way with the savvy use of her formidable changeup.
Carlson also opened the scoring in the first inning of in Game 2 with an RBI single. From that point, though, the Mountain Lions couldn't find a clutch hit against Rangers starter Kaitlyn Gentert (14-5). UCCS had at least one baserunner in every inning, but could not score again until Charlene Berg's solo home run in the seventh inning.
Regis, meanwhile, kept a parade of baserunners circling thanks to 10 hits, six walks, two errors and three fielder's choices that did not yield an out.
Amber Colton (13-3) took the loss in Game 1, while Amanda Ritchie (2-4) dropped the Game 2 decision.
Lindzy Molinaro hit a home run in each game for Regis (27-7, 23-4 RMAC). Mariah Piper drew five walks.
It was a rude, but perhaps needed, jolt for the confident Mountain Lions.
"We really didn't know how to feel," said Carlson afterwards. "We're upset about the losses, but we're OK. Right now, we just have to work hard and get back into gear."
That gear begins with Wednesday's doubleheader against Colorado State-Pueblo at Mountain Lion Field. UCCS is currently alone in second place in the RMAC behind Regis. Maintaining that position is important because it would give the Mountain Lions a bye in the first round of the RMAC tournament.
"The whole goal is to win the conference tournament," said Peterson.
And to do that, the good Mountain Lions need to show up.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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