Shandera's Blast Sparks Sweep of Regis
COLORADO SPRINGS - Lindsay Shandera hit a walk-off, two-run home run to lift the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to a 10-8 victory in the opener as the Mountain Lions scored a doubleheader sweep of the two-time defending Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Champion Regis Rangers Sunday at Mountain Lion Field.
UCCS (21-8, 11-5 RMAC) won the nightcap 4-1 thanks to a sparkling pitching performance by Stacy Ortiz (10-5).
"(These were) great wins for us," said UCCS coach Scott Peterson. "We're starting a bunch of young kids and to beat an experienced team like that feels really good."
How it happened made it feel that much more special.
The Mountain Lions trailed 8-6 going into the final inning of Game 1. With Jamey Acton pinch running at first and one out, Rachel Hancock drilled a sharp single to Regis right fielder Erica Solano, who tried to throw Acton out at third. Her toss was wide of the bag, however, allowing Acton to score and Hancock to take second. UCCS was pushed to its final out when pinch hitter Nicole Link struck out on a nasty changeup by Regis pitcher Ali Davenport.
Stacy Haney, who is hitting a robust .511 this season, tied the game with an RBI single. Shandera followed by hitting a high fly ball that barely cleared the right field fence.
"It was waist high and inside," said Shandera of the 2-1 pitch. "That's exactly what I was expecting because that's what they threw me all day.
"I though it was a just a deep fly. I'm happy it went out though."
The seventh inning rally was atypical for the Mountain Lions in Game 1. UCCS repeatedly squandered scoring opportunities early, leaving 10 runners stranded in the first four innings including twice leaving the bases loaded.
Hancock went 3-for-4 with a two-run double and a two-run homer in the opener.
Melissa Backlund went 3-for-3 with three RBIs for Regis (10-11, 1-7 RMAC).
Making Shandera's heroics all the more fun was that her parents had flown in from Washington for the weekend and were on hand as witnesses.
"It was awesome," said Shandera of having her parents there. "My dad's been sending me a lot of emails about my mental game and telling me to quit thinking about my mechanics and play for the joy of the game."
Whatever mojo Shandera tapped in the opener, she shared it with Ortiz in Game 2. The freshman from Denver had her fourth consecutive quality start, allowing one unearned run on four hits and a walk. Over the past four games, Ortiz is 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA.
UCCS pitching coach Don Pettrow has been working tirelessly with the Mountain Lions pitchers and the results have been showing.
"We've been working on our mental game," said Pettrow, "hitting locations, working ground balls and trying not to give up the big home runs."
He pointed out that it's a big adjustment for young pitchers coming to the college level. In high school, the pitching rubber is 40 feet from the plate. In college it's 43 feet, meaning that what was a great breaking pitch in high school will break three feet too soon in college. Pitchers have to learn to throw their breaking pitches all over again.
"In the beginning, it was just throwing," said Pettrow, who said that Ortiz had been working hard on her spins. "Now, she's making the ball move and keeping opponents off balance."
A Sierra Green RBI single opened the scoring in the second inning, followed by two runs in the third on a Tasha Pagdilao single and a Kelly Quinn sacrifice fly.
Pagdilao made it 4-0 in the fifth with her second RBI single of the game.
Ironically, Pagdilao's parents were also in attendance, having flown in from Maui earlier in the week. She treated them to a combined 3-for-6 performance with three RBIs.
Davenport (2-8) took the loss in both games.
Haney went a combined 4-for-6 with three walks for UCCS, which will face Regis again Monday evening. Game times are 6 and 8 p.m.
"We've got five freshmen starting and that's a good club with good coaches," said Peterson. "Those were two good wins and we'll come back tomorrow."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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