Cleland, Ritchie Lead UCCS to 10th Straight Win
COLORADO SPRINGS â€" Sarah Cleland had five RBIs and Amanda Ritchie was â€œwildly effectiveâ€ Sunday as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball team won its 10th straight game, 7-1 over the Montana State-Billings Yellowjackets at Mountain Lion Field.
Sundayâ€TMs scheduled second game was called because of snow and lightning.
Clelandâ€TMs three-run homer highlighted a four-run third inning that gave UCCS (16-1) the lead. Cleland and Brittni Carlson added RBI singles in the fourth. Cleland drove in another run in the sixth when her combacker deflected off MSU-Billings pitcher Lisa Moore (4-8).
Ritchie, meanwhile, allowed only three hits and three walks while striking out five. The only run she allowed came on a two-out solo homer by Jessica Frank.
â€œI was wildly effective,â€ said Ritchie, who improved to 8-1 on the season. â€œMy ball was breaking, but it wasnâ€TMt breaking in the spots I wanted it to. I was off today.â€
While Ritchie was seeing spots, UCCS coach Scott Peterson was basking in the continued improvement shown by his young team.
â€œAmanda threw great,â€ said Peterson. â€œOur outfield defense has been great and weâ€TMre hitting all the way through the lineup.â€
Peterson also singled out pitching, Clelandâ€TMs defense at catcher and the play of the freshmen double play combo of shortstop Savannah Ledford and second baseman Rachel Hancock at the biggest sources of improvement. Much of the credit, he said, belongs to assistant coaches Don Pettrow and Tanya Ramsay.
â€œDon has done a great job with the pitchers and (Ramsay) had done a great job with these two young kids in the middle,â€ said Peterson.
Ritchie was aided by some outstanding defensive plays. Right fielder Janine Ota made a clutch grab with two on and two out in the second inning. In the fifth inning, Brittni Carlson robbed the Yellowjacketsâ€TM Cari Dunlap of a two-run homer by reaching over the left field fence to make the catch. Catcher Cleland then picked Megan Moeller off at second to end the inning. Carlson added a backhanded stab of a line drive in the sixth and center fielder Brianna Workman added a warning-track grab at a full sprint.
â€œI have to give it up to my outfield because they saved my butt today,â€ said Ritchie. â€œThey were dancing on the fence to keep (the ball) from going out. I owe them big.â€
Carlson was 3-for-3 with three runs and an RBI. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferenceâ€TMs leading hitter improved her season average to .640.
For Cleland, it was her second game-winning three-run homer in as many days. She produced the game-winning RBI in all three games against MSU-Billings (7-17).
â€œ(Cleland) stepped it up at the right time,â€ said Ritchie.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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