Softball Completes Four-Game Sweep of Chadron State
COLORADO SPRINGS - It was the kind of day that only the combination of wind and Mountain Lion Field can produce.
With a stiff breeze blowing out to left field, 12 home runs left Mountain Lions Field Sunday as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs completed its four-game sweep of the Chadron State Eagles with 14-1 and 10-8 wins.
The final game saw nine home runs alone as the wind velocity increased. It was the second-highest number of home runs hit in a single game in UCCS history, behind only the combined 11 bombs hit by UCCS and Nebraska-Kearney on April 14, 2006.
"We know that the ball jumps out of our park," said UCCS coach Scott Peterson on Sunday. "We got into a slugfest with them (in the second game)."
Freshman catcher Tasha Pagdilao went deep twice in the opener for the Mountain Lions (12-3, 7-1 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference), while Rachel Hancock homered three times in the second game. Sarah Cleland homered once in each game.
"Rachel had a great day," said Peterson of Hancock, a sophomore second baseman. "It seems like each game we have one kid who ends up carrying us. Yesterday it was Lindsay (Shandera) and in the first game today it was (Pagdilao)."
Kristy Long earned herself a place in the record book by becoming the first Chadron State softball player to homer since the program was reinstated after a 25-year hiatus. Stephanie Hillman followed suit to give the Eagles their first back-to-back home runs and, in the sixth inning, Long became the first to hit two in a game.
Libby White (7-1) allowed just one run on three hits as the Mountain Lions recorded their ninth run-rule victory of the season in the opener, matching their total for both 2006 and 2005.
"Libby pitched great in the first game," said Peterson.
After Chadron State scored on an RBI double by Long in the first, UCCS answered with four in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run double by Lindsay Shandera and a two-run homer by Pagdilao. Cleland's three-run shot in the third made it 7-1.
In the fourth inning, UCCS added a three-run double by Stacy Haney, an RBI single by Shandera and a three-run homer by Pagdilao.
"I really thought I got under both of them. I didn't think they were going to go out," said Pagdilao of her two home runs. "I guess the wind helped me a little bit."
But while the wind might have helped Pagdilao in Game 1, it helped more folks than the Salvation Army in the nightcap.
Long's and Hillman's back-to-back blasts staked Chadron State (0-4, 0-4 RMAC) to a 3-0 lead. UCCS answered with two-run shots by Hancock and Cleland to go ahead 4-3.
The Mountain Lions increased the advantage to 9-3 when Hancock's three-run blast to left sparked a five-run fourth inning.
"I was hearing (Shandera) tell me to step it up, so I did" said Hancock. "I'm just thinking execute when I'm in the batter's box. I'm thinking "I'm a better hitter than you are a pitcher.'"
But Chadron State wasn't ready to be run-ruled again. Allison Hendrickson hit a two-run single in the fifth, and then Long, Katie Beck and Rachael Roath all hit solo homers in the sixth. Suddenly, the score was 9-8.
"They were swinging the bats that last game, there's no doubt about it," said Peterson.
Hancock hit a solo shot in the bottom half of the inning while White returned to get the save. Stacy Ortiz (5-2) survived the blitz to get the win.
Lindsay Shandera went 4-for-5 with two walks to complete a remarkable weekend. The senior from Mill Creek, Wash., went 9-for-11 with three homers, 14 RBIs and two stolen bases in the series.
Also Sunday, Hancock and Haney went 4-for-6 while Cleland was 3-for-7.
Although 10 of UCCS' 15 games have been against what many consider to be second-tier teams, the Mountain Lions' off-the-charts .436 batting average, .716 slugging percentage and .525 on base percentage can't help but raise eyebrows. Additionally, they hit .375 in the five games against top-notch teams.
"It's early and we have a long way to go but we're very, very pleased with where we're at right now," said Peterson
Perhaps the best sign is the unmistakable feeling of camaraderie that surrounds the Mountain Lions.
"We're working really well as a team," said Hancock, "but there are little things we need to work on and improve.
"Right now, we're not reaching our potential but we'll be there."
That's the message on the wind.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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