Ledford Has a Birthday Bash (or Two) in UCCS Sweep of Mesa State

By Doug Fitzgerald published April 1, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS â€" The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs might find itself wishing that Savannah Ledfordâ€TMs birthday came more than once a year.

The freshman shortstop celebrated her 19th birthday Saturday by belting a pair of home runs to lead the Mountain Lions to a doubleheader sweep of the Mesa State Mavericks.

“It was nice,” said Ledford, “the best birthday present ever.”

Rachel Hancock, Lindsay Shandera, Sarah Cleland and Sarah Brisky also hit home runs as the Mountain Lions sent six balls deep in a 9-6 win in the nightcap.

Ledford went 5-of-7 on the day, extending her team-best hitting streak to 13 games. Over the past five games, Ledford is hitting .526 and has scored eight runs. She credited a drill in which the Mountain Lions hit tennis balls with a one-inch dowel for her increased concentration at the plate.

“Iâ€TMve been seeing (the ball) really well,” said Ledford. “We do this tennis ball drill and it makes me see the ball really well. Iâ€TMm picking up the spins better.”

Angie Heronema (5-1) was dominant through five innings. She had a no-hitter working without a ball leaving the infield.

“I saw (that there were no hits) on the scoreboard but itâ€TMs not like it was something I kept thinking about,” said Heronema.

Mesa State finally adjusted to the freshmanâ€TMs assortment of breaking and off-speed pitches in the sixth inning. The Mavericks tagged her for six runs, five earned, on seven hits and three UCCS errors over the final two innings creating a close game after nearly seeing it called because of the run rule.

“Iâ€TMm sure they were more aggressive because they knew they needed to hit the ball,” said Heronema. “I wasnâ€TMt making my ball jump as much as I was earlier.”

UCCS answered Mesa Stateâ€TMs four-run fifth inning with back-to-back jacks by Hancock and Ledford.

“Savannah and Ray hit those back-to-back bombs,” said Heronema. “Itâ€TMs awesome when (the offense) can come back like that. The team is behind all the pitchers.”

Cleland, Brisky and Ledford all homered in the second inning as the Mountain Lions scored five times, two off starter Brittani DeRueiter (4-4) and one off Cassie Phillips.

Amanda Ritchie (13-1) scattered eight hits in the opener as UCCS (22-3, 13-3 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) took a 3-1 decision.

Mesa State (9-13, 9-9 RMAC) opened the scoring on a solo homer by Samantha Griego. Ritchie, though, was at her best when under pressure and stranded at least one runner in each inning and eight overall.

Janine Ota doubled to open the bottom half of the inning and scored when Clelandâ€TMs single was misplayed by left fielder Kristen Silva. The Mountain Lions added two more in the third on an RBI double by Shandera and a run scoring single by Brittni Carlson, all off Mesa State starter Jessica Rayman (0-3).

Carlsonâ€TMs RBI gave her 134 for her career, tying her with Becki Leopoldus for the UCCS record.

“It was so awesome,” said Heronema.

Birthdays usually are.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Brittni CarlsonBrittni Carlson32IFFr.
Brittni CarlsonBrittni Carlson321BSo.
Brittni CarlsonBrittni Carlson32OFJr.
Brittni CarlsonBrittni Carlson32OFSR.
Lindsay ShanderaLindsay Shandera201BSo.
Lindsay ShanderaLindsay Shandera20IF/OFFr.
Lindsay ShanderaLindsay Shandera201BJr.
Lindsay ShanderaLindsay Shandera201BSr.
Amanda RitchieAmanda Ritchie17PJr.
Amanda RitchieAmanda Ritchie17PJr.
Rachel HancockRachel Hancock42BSo.
Rachel HancockRachel Hancock42BSo.
Rachel HancockRachel Hancock42BJr.
Angie HeronemaAngie Heronema1P
Savannah LedfordSavannah Ledford24SS
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