Mountain Lions Utilize Green Power to Salvage Split with Regis
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Sierra Green hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning to lift the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to a 7-6 victory in Saturday's nightcap and a doubleheader split with the Regis Rangers at Mountain Lion Field.
An eight-run sixth inning erased what had been a strong Mountain Lion effort in the opener as the Rangers won 9-5.
Green hit two homers, one in each game, while going 4-for-6 with six RBIs. Sarah Brisky was 3-for-4 before having to leave the second game after being hit in the face with a pitch.
As has been the trend during the Mountain Lions' recent streak of frustration, they fell behind early in Game 2. Brisky's two-run homer kept it close, but Regis scored three times in the first and once in the third to forge a 4-2 lead.
Unlike other games during the Mountain Lions 3-12 stretch, during which they would often rally but come up agonizingly short, UCCS (20-23, 13-19 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) was able to come all the way back Saturday. In the fifth, Green hit an RBI single and Julie Jenkins, who pinch ran for the injured Brisky, scored on a wild pitch to tie the score.
It looked like the jinx might continue in the sixth when shortstop Sarah Cleland's throwing error with the bases loaded and two out allowed Regis to regain the lead at 5-4.
But Green had different ideas.
"I'm sick of losing; I just wanted to win so badly," said Green. "That last at bat, I had so much aggression."
Aggression apparently works. With two on and one out, the sophomore drilled a 1-2 pitch on a line over the fence in left center to put UCCS up 7-5.
"(The pitch) was high and outside," said Green. "I usually don't swing at high pitches but in that at bat I was just so focused."
Jackie Martinez led off the seventh with a solo homer to cut the lead to one. An out later, Amber Sivetts singled. She advanced to second on a ground out.
With the runner in scoring position, UCCS starter Stacy Ortiz (6-7) found a little something extra. She struck out Maureen McDaniel on four pitches to end the game.
"Stacy had the intensity," said UCCS coach Scott Peterson. "That last out, Stacy had the intensity we wanted."
Ortiz scattered 11 hits and struck out seven.
Game 1 was an opposite of what UCCS has been struggling with lately. Instead of falling behind early, the Mountain Lions were the ones jumping to the advantage.
The Mountain Lions got an RBI single from Stacy Haney in the first, plus a solo homer by Katie Johnston and a two-run shot by Green in the third to take a 4-1 lead. Cleland added an RBI single in the fifth to make it 5-1.
UCCS starter Sarah McCauley (6-8), meanwhile, had allowed just one hit through five innings and had retired 13 consecutive batters when the wheels came off to begin the sixth. Alisa Heronema reached on an error and Amber Aragon-Autobee doubled. Both were brought home by Martinez's home run. After a Chelsea Rademacher single, Sivetts gave Regis a 6-5 lead with a long homer to left center.
But the Rangers weren't done. Tasha Garza walked and Lindsey Witty beat out a slow roller before Heronema hit her first career home run. Just that quickly, the Mountain Lions were down 9-5. They never recovered.
"I thought Sarah pitched great," said Peterson. "One inning got away from us."
It was the fifth time this season that UCCS had carried a lead into the sixth inning and lost.
Kaitlyn Gentert (13-7) earned the win for Regis (24-21, 17-15 RMAC) in the opener. Sara Baumberger (5-7) was saddled with the loss in the nightcap.
The teams will meet again on Sunday, with the doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.
With Brisky now questionable, the Mountain Lions are looking like a triage unit. Also out are second baseman Rachel Hancock and first baseman Lindsay Zastrow, both of whom were starters at the beginning of the season. Since Brisky was the infield reserve, UCCS finished Saturday's play with right fielder Brianna Workman at second, a position she hasn't played since her junior year of high school.
"That's definitely not the defense we drew up before the season started, having to bring Workman up to second base," said Peterson, who pointed out that Regis is also minus two starters. "They're in the same boat. (Regis coach Dana Lillard) has kids in positions she didn't expect to have them in either.
"It's going to come down to who can survive it tomorrow. It's going to be tough."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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