Berg's clutch hit lifts Lions
Charlene Berg belted a two-run, game-winning double to left center in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the lethargic University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions to a 4-3 victory over Nebraska-Kearney in the second round of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament Friday.
Down 3-2 with one out, Sarah Cleland and Sonia Reyes drew walks, the first two free passes given by Lopers starter Kristy Roethemeyer (7-13). With the count 0-2, Berg drilled a shot to the fence in left center. Cleland scored easily but the game winner was provided by Sarah Wodniak, who had been inserted as a pinch runner for Reyes, who is still recovering from a leg injury. Wodniak never hesitated, rounded third and beat shortstop Cody Pettibone's throw with a head-first slide.
"Just seconds before the hit, (assistant coach Tanya Ramsay) told me to check my zones. That means I need to check the outfield to see where they're positioned," said Wodniak. "As soon as (Berg) hit the ball, I knew it was in the gap."
It was two big-time plays by a pair of seniors who have seen sporadic playing time this season.
"That was a big-time clutch hit by (Berg)," said UCCS coach Scott Peterson, "and great baserunning by Sarah Wodniak."
The Mountain Lions (29-16) had been down 3-0 for much of the game. With a runner on second and two out, Crystal Krebs wristed a Roethemeyer pitch beyond the center field fence for her nation-leading 24th home run of the season.
The hits by Berg and Krebs were two of what proved to be very few mistakes by Roethemeyer, who allowed six hits and struck out four.
But in the end, she was outdone by UCCS starter Amber Colton (18-3) who not only overcame her own errors, but also those of her teammates.
The first two innings were defined more by Mountain Lion mistakes than anything else. The game's first batter, Michelle Gaunt, nubbed a slow roller that dribbled through third baseman Reyes' legs. The next batter, Jesse Drabek, blooped a single to the second base bag. Shortstop Jennifer Dykstra's throw to third was high, allowing Drabek to advance to second. Amanda Hitt followed with a sharp single to score both.
The second inning wasn't much better. Two Colton walks and a passed ball charged to catcher Crystal Krebs put runners on second and third with two out. Dykstra booted what should have been the third out as the Lopers (18-25) increased the lead to 3-0 without the benefit of a hit.
With that play, though, Colton found a new gear. The senior from Loveland, Clo., retired the next six batters, three by strikeout. When Brandi Greenwood ended the streak with a single, Krebs promptly picked her off at first to end the fourth inning.
Colton allowed five hits in her seven innings. All three runs she allowed were unearned.
The Mountain Lions, who earned a bye in the first round of the tournament by virtue of their No. 2 seed, will play top-seeded Regis at 5 p.m. Friday
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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