Split with Highlands ends regular season
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs concluded its regular-season schedule Sunday with a doubleheader split against the New Mexico Highlands Cowgirls at Las Vegas, N.M. The Mountain Lions won the first game 11-4 and lost the nightcap 7-1.
The games were inconsequential for UCCS, which had already wrapped up the second seed in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament and could not mathematically overtake Regis for the top seed. Additionally, the Mountain Lions have virtually no chance to move up to sixth (they are currently eighth) in the South Central Regional rankings, which will be announced on Wednesday. Because there are only six spots in the regional tournament, UCCS will not be able to obtain an at-large berth to regionals and must therefore win the RMAC Tournament to advance.
And that's just fine with UCCS coach Scott Peterson.
"Everybody's 0-0 now," said Peterson. "We've said all along that our primary goal is to win the conference tournament."
That's true enough. The Mountain Lions no longer have to deal with shouldas, couldas or wouldas. Now, it's simple. Win the RMAC Tournament and they advance to regionals. Win regionals and they advance to nationals. Lose anywhere along the line and their season - and for seven seniors, probably their softball careers "" are over.
That all starts on Friday at noon, when UCCS will face the winner of a play-in game that will be contested earlier that morning. And if the Mountain Lions' explosive offense starts Friday like it did Sunday, they'll be staying in the winner's bracket of the double-elimination tournament.
UCCS opened the game with six runs in the first inning, thanks to seven hits and RBIs by seven different batters. The Mountain Lions added two more in the second as Crystal Krebs and Sonia Reyes each hit RBI singles. It was also the second RBI of the game for each.
Krebs added a two-run shot in the third, her nation-leading 23rd of the year. The senior from Loveland, Colo., needs three more to match the all-time NCAA Division II record set in 1995 by Wisconsin-Parkside's Jackie Aiken.
"We came out like gangbusters in the first game," said Peterson.
Amanda Ritchie (3-4) relieved Amber Colton in the second inning and pitched six innings of effective relief to earn the win.
Jamie Ruhland and Shalece Jones each hit home runs as Highlands built a 7-0 lead off of UCCS starter Brenna Pool (7-6) in the nightcap. Highlands' Keri Evans, meanwhile, threw an outstanding game. Only Jennifer Dykstra's solo homer in the seventh inning prevented Evans from getting a shutout.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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