Fan Interference Call Leaves UCCS with Split Against Mesa State

By Doug Fitzgerald published March 21, 2008

COLORADO SPRINGS -- A fan interference call ended Friday's second game, giving the Mesa State Mavericks a 6-5 victory and a doubleheader split with the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs at Mountain Lion Field.

The Mountain Lions won Game 14-3.

UCCS (15-10, 8-6 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) had runners on first and second with two outs in the seventh inning when Katie Johnston hit a foul ball just beyond the third base dugout. Mesa State shortstop Katie Mitchell and an unidentified fan both went for the ball, with neither catching it. Mesa State coach Kris Mort argued vehemently for interference and, after several minutes of deliberation, she was rewarded when the umpires called Johnston out.

UCCS coach Scott Peterson immediately filed protest. He learned late Friday evening that the protest had been denied.

According to Rule No. 4.9 of the 2008 NCAA Softball Rule and Interpretations, "No spectator(s) shall reach out of the stands or enter the field and interfere with a play. The field belongs to the fielder, and the stands belong to the spectator. Exception: It is not interference if the fielder reaches into the stands or over the fence."

Thus, the decision came down to which side of the fence the ball was on at the time. Although there were conflicting views stated during the argument that followed, the umpire stated in his official incident report filed later Friday evening that the ball was still in the field of play.

"We shouldn't leave it in the umpires' hands," said UCCS assistant coach Tanya Ramsay, who pointed out that UCCS left nine runners stranded in each game. "We should have taken control of the game before that.

"Nine runners left on base in both games, we've got to be better than that."

Ramsay was speaking in place of Peterson, who was busy preparing the protest.

The Mountain Lions had to overcome a large deficit to get into a position in which the protest would be consequential. The Mavericks (11-7, 9-5 RMAC) belted two home runs in the first inning to plate four runs. They followed with two runs on four hits in the second off of UCCS starter Stacy Ortiz (5-4).

Down 6-0, the Mountain Lions began chipping away with Sarah Cleland's two-run homer in the fourth inning.

"We got down in the game and the kids came back and started fighting," said Ramsay.

A two-out rally in the fifth helped UCCS close the gap to one. Sierra Green tripled down the right field line and Holly Jordan followed with a walk. Stacy Haney then singled to bring in Green. Rachel Hancock and Sarah Cleland each hit RBI singles to score Jordan and Haney. Amanda Hathaway nearly kept the rally going when she hit a hard line drive off the foot of Mesa State reliever Jessica Rayman, but the ball deflected straight to Mitchell who threw to first for the out.

Libby White relieved Ortiz and had her best pitching performance of the season. The sophomore allowed no runs and two hits over five innings.

"Libby came in and did a good job for us," said Ramsay.

Haney went 3-for-4 in Game 2, while Cleland was 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Catcher Tasha Pagdilao threw out three runners attempting to steal and picked off a fourth.

Rayman got the save while starter Alicia Neuschwanger (4-4) earned the win. Rayman (7-3) took the loss in the first game.

Sarah McCauley (6-4) allowed three runs, two earned, to get the win in the opener. The freshman allowed six hits and struck out five.

"Sarah McCauley earned the ‘W' next to her name in this game," said Peterson between the two games. "This win was hers; she pitched sensational."

The Mountain Lions scored three times in the first inning, the first when Brianna Workman scored from third on a throwing error while attempting to throw out Hancock, who stole second. Cleland followed with a two-run double to center field.

Mesa State loaded the bases in the second but managed just one run as Alissa Zoelle scored on a brilliant double play by Cleland. A solo home run by Leslie Reed in the third inning cut the lead to 3-2.

Johnston ripped an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to increase the lead to two.

McCauley allowed just two baserunners combined in the fourth fifth and sixth innings before Mesa State got runners on second and third with one out in the seventh inning. Jamie Prather's sacrifice fly cut the lead to one, but also recorded the second out. Zuniga then flied out to the warning track in center field.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Sarah ClelandSarah Cleland14CJr.
Sarah ClelandSarah Cleland14IFFr.
Sarah ClelandSarah Cleland14IFFr.
Sarah ClelandSarah Cleland14IFFr.
Sarah ClelandSarah Cleland14IFFr.
Rachel HancockRachel Hancock42BSo.
Rachel HancockRachel Hancock42BSo.
Rachel HancockRachel Hancock42BJr.
Stacy HaneyStacy Haney21OFJr.
Stacy HaneyStacy Haney21OFSr.
Libby WhiteLibby White5PFr.
Libby WhiteLibby White5PSo.
Kaite JohnstonKaite Johnston93BSo.
Katie JohnstonKatie Johnston9IFFr.
Sierra GreenSierra Green15OFFr.
Sierra GreenSierra Green15OFSo.
Tasha PagdilaoTasha Pagdilao2C/IFFr.
Tasha PagdilaoTasha Pagdilao3CSo.
Tasha PagdilaoTasha Pagdilao3CJr.
Sarah McCauleySarah McCauley7P/IF
Sarah McCauleySarah McCauley7P/IF
Sarah McCauleySarah McCauley7P/IF
Brianna WorkmanBrianna Workman4OFFr.
Brianna WorkmanBrianna Workman4OFFr.
Brianna WorkmanBrianna Workman4OFFr.
Brianna WorkmanBrianna Workman4OFFr.
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