Carlson Breaks UCCS RBI Record in Split with Mesa State
COLORADO SPRINGS â€" Brittni Carlson broke the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs career RBI record as the Mountain Lions earned a split with Mesa State Sunday to finish the four-game series with three wins.
UCCS won the opener 7-4 behind a 12-strikeout performance by Amanda Ritchie (14-1). The senior from Machesney Park, Ill., allowed four runs, two earned and scattered seven hits. Mesa State came back to register 18 hits, the most allowed in a game by UCCS since at least 2001, as the Mavericks grabbed a 10-2 win in the nightcap.
The loss did little to damper the spirits of the Mountain Lions, who improved to 23-4 on the season and 14-4 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
â€œIâ€TMll take the three out of four wins and be done with it,â€ said UCCS coach Scott Peterson. â€œWe had a good weekend. Weâ€TMre happy with it.â€
He was also happy with Carlson, whose solo home run in the fifth inning of the opener gave the senior 135 RBIs, the most ever by a UCCS softball player.
â€œItâ€TMs kind of exciting, I guess,â€ said Carlson. â€œI donâ€TMt set out to break any records, I just want to do the best I can for my team.â€
A big part of doing her best has been driving home runs over the past four years. The career RBI record had been previously held by Becki Leopoldus, who brought 134 runners home between 1995-98.
â€œCoach said it was a long-standing record, so thatâ€TMs pretty cool,â€ said Carlson.
Mesa State (10-15, 10-10 RMAC) loaded the bases in the first inning of the opener but were unable to score as Ritchie struck out Katie Proell, one of three Ks notched by Ritchie in the inning. Getting out of the jam helped fuel the UCCS bats.
â€œWe were fired up,â€ said first baseman Lindsay Shandera.
That energy showed. The Mountain Lions loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning and were able to get the clutch hit that eluded the Mavericks as Sarah Cleland hit a two-out, bases-clearing double to the fence in left center.
â€œThe girls picked it up and got on base,â€ said Shandera. â€œCleland does a really good job as a clutch hitter. She likes bringing in the RBIs.â€
In the top of the fifth, Rebecca McClelland recorded the first hit allowed by Ritchie since the first inning. Unfortunately for UCCS, it was a two-run homer that closed the gap to 3-2. For the Mountain Lions, who left runners in scoring position in both the second and third innings, it was important to make a statement.
â€œIf you answer back right away their morale as a team goes down,â€ said Shandera.
Shandera came to the plate with Rachel Hancock on second and Savannah Ledford on first. Shandera, who leads the RMAC in walks with 26, has missed RBI opportunities at times this season by being too patient. To correct this inclination, she enlisted the help of her teammates.
â€œI like two strikes,â€ said Shandera, â€œso I told my teammates to get on my case if I wasnâ€TMt swinging at strikes and was just watching them go by.â€
When she got down 1-2 in the count, Hancock let the junior from Mill Creek, Wash., know about it.
â€œRay was on second base and she yelled â€˜come on junior, swing at strikes,â€TMâ€ said Shandera. â€œThat put it in my mind to attack the ball.â€
She did exactly that. The next pitch cleared the fence in right center and landed somewhere in Elbert County. Carlson made it back-to-back jacks to claim the RBI record and give UCCS a 7-2 lead.
The Mavericks rallied in the sixth and the seventh innings, but managed only one run in each. Brittani DeRuiter (4-5) took the loss for Mesa State.
Mesa State scored at least one run in every inning of the nightcap as UCCS pitchers Angie Heronema (5-2), Kym Cade and Kaleigh Beekman were all unable to stop the hemorrhaging. Leslie Reed had three hits for the Mavericks and Katie Proell had one, while the other seven starters had two hits each.
Jessica Rayman (1-3) was able to keep the big-hitting Mountain Lions off balance, allowing only five hits â€" the second fewest by UCCS this season. Peterson, though, was able to keep the one bad showing in perspective.
â€œTheyâ€TMve got a good club,â€ said Peterson. â€œThey were picked second in the league (in the preseason poll). We were picked fourth; thatâ€TMs the way we were looked at and we took three of four. .
â€œI think weâ€TMre going to start to get a little bit of attention now. I think people are going to start looking at us now that weâ€TMre beating these teams that were supposed to do real well this year.â€
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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