Familiar challenge faces Mountain Lions
DENVER - Well, this looks familiar.
Despite Crystal Krebs' nation-leading 25th home run of the season, the top-seeded Regis Rangers defeated the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs 4-2 Friday afternoon at Regis Field.
The loss dropped the Mountain Lions into the loser's bracket of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament, facing the daunting task of winning three games Saturday to become conference champion and earn a berth to the regional tournament.
UCCS faced the same challenge a year ago. The Mountain Lions responded by beating Mesa State in an elimination game, then topping Regis twice to win the RMAC title. Saturday, UCCS will first face the winner of the Mesa State - New Mexico Highlands game. A win there would give the Mountain Lions a rematch against Regis.
"It's dÃ©jÃ vu all over again," said UCCS coach Scott Peterson, borrowing from our old buddy Yogi Berra. "It's the same spot we were in last year."
Regis got on the board first in the third inning, when Erica Solano scored on a Sonia Reyes throwing error.
Krebs tied the game in the fourth inning with a mammoth 350-foot blast to left field off of Regis starter Kaitlyn Gentert (18-5). Krebs needs only one more homer to match the all-time NCAA Division II record of 26, set by Wisconsin-Parkside's Jackie Aiken in 1996.
"I got all of it," said Krebs. "It was gone."
The Rangers added three more runs in the fifth on an RBI single by Michelle Johnston and a two-run throwing error by Krebs. The Mountain Lions committed three errors against Regis and seven in their two games Friday.
"We have to come out and play better defensively," said Peterson. "The defense didn't play real well today."
Amanda Ritchie relieved starter Brenna Pool (7-7) and retired all five batters she faced, three by strikeout.
"Amber (Colton) threw great, Brenna threw great, Amanda threw great," said Peterson. "Offense wins games, defense wins championships. We didn't have the defense today."
Kara Rainey had an RBI double in the seventh inning, but UCCS (29-17) was unable to get any closer. The Mountain Lions had runners on base in six of the seven innings, but failed to string hits together.
"We hit the ball hard," said Peterson, "we just didn't get it where we needed to get it."
And that failure, along with the offensive defense, is what put UCCS in the hole it's in.
"Hopefully, it will be like last year," said Peterson. "We've got to win the first one. We can't afford to look past that right now."
After the game, Krebs called her teammates together. She said that what was discussed will remain private, but she did outline what the Mountain Lions need to do.
"We need to come out tomorrow, lay everything out on the line and get three W's," said Krebs.
That, too, would be familiar.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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