Mountain Lions' Offense Catches Fire for 27 Runs in Sweep of Chadron State

By Doug Fitzgerald published April 2, 2010

COLORADO SPRINGS - Lara Mathewson's walk-off single lifted the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to a 12-11 win in Friday's opener as the Mountain Lions went on to sweep a doubleheader against the Chadron State Eagles at Mountain Lion Field.

UCCS exploded for 18 hits to win the day's second game, 15-7, in six innings. The Mountain Lions improved to 10-18, 7-12 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play.

Chadron State (13-18, 9-11 RMAC) scored twice in the top of the seventh to take an 11-10 lead in Game 1. Amanda Hathaway led off the home half of the inning with a double and scored when Eagles second baseman Melissa Lohr, who was covering first on Erin Milburn's sacrifice bunt attempt, could not handle the throw from first baseman Stephanie Hillman. One out later, Mathewson singled home Sarah McCauley, who pinch ran for Milburn.

It was the third walk-off hit of the season for the Mountain Lions and the second by Mathewson. The freshman from Westminster also beat Oklahoma Panhandle State with a walk-off single on March 3. Christina Blanton owns the third walk-off winner, a three-run homer to beat Colorado State-Pueblo on March 28.

Blanton hit two more home runs on Friday, giving her 10 for the season. The sophomore from Aurora went 3-for-7 with a team-best six RBIs during a doubleheader resplendent with remarkable hitting performances. Jessika Anastos went 3-for-3 with two walks, three RBIs and scored five runs before leaving the second game after being nailed by a bad hop in the field.

Hathaway and Landry Davis were nearly perfect. Hathaway was 7-for-8 with two doubles, a home run, five runs scored and four RBIs. Davis, the Mountain Lions' leadoff hitter, was 2-for-3 with five (yes, five) walks.

"I had a lot of confidence today," said Hathaway. "I was focusing on watching the ball from the pitcher's hand and keeping our team up because we were doing well and I didn't want to kill what we had going."

The performance was another illustration of the growth of the freshman from Chandler, Ariz., who has hit .545 with an amazing .737 on base percentage over the past six games. Making that more impressive is that Davis isn't a natural leadoff hitter.

"Landry's used to being a No. 2-type hitter, which is a different role than a leadoff hitter," said UCCS coach Scott Peterson. "She's seeing six, seven, eight pitches every single at bat which is helping the entire dugout."

"It's a lot different," said Davis. Being No. 2 is mostly about moving the runner and trying to get them into scoring position. No. 1, you've got to get on base. On base percentage is what matters for a slapper. The adjustment is going well; I'm getting used to it."

Junior shortstop Traci Everett increased her team-best hitting streak to eight games, going a combined 5-for-8, while Megan McGinnis came off the bench to go 3-for-4 with a double and a walk.

The Mountain Lions took a 4-0 lead through three innings in the opener as Anastos belted a two-run homer in the first and a throwing error and an RBI single by Hathaway brought home two more in the third. Through three innings, UCCS starter Stacy Ortiz had allowed just one hit.

Chadron State got to Ortiz afterward, scoring three runs each in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. UCCS countered with three in the fourth and Blanton's three-run homer in the sixth to retain a 10-9 edge. The Eagles regained the lead with two runs in the top of the seventh off reliever Jenna Mott (3-2), who failed to get the save but instead got the win thanks to her teammates' rally in the bottom half of the inning.

"Well, 12-11's not the way we want it to go but right now we're just saying we need to win any way we can," said Peterson. "We got great production out of our two, three and four hole today. Jess (Anastos) had the big home run to start it, Christina (Blanton) has the big home run to tie it and Lara (Mathewson) had the big base hit to win it."

In a one-run game, every defensive play is huge and UCCS got two big ones in the opener. In the first inning, center fielder Hathaway threw out Lohr at home for the third out and her 12th outfield assist of the season.

Milburn, the catcher, pulled off another in the fourth with Lohr batting. Chadron State's Katelyn Moore was on second and was signaling the location of UCCS pitches to Lohr by throwing out her left or right hand prior to the pitch. Seeing this, Milburn set up inside and, after Moore's signal, quietly slide to the outer half of the plate. Lohr, expecting the ball in, was frozen by the unexpected outside pitch for a called third strike.

Game 2 lacked the drama of the opener as the Mountain Lions scored two or more runs in five of the six innings played. Blanto's two-run shot in the first gave UCCS a 2-1 lead that grew to 6-3 after a second inning that saw a two-run Mathewson single, a sacrifice fly by Anastos and an RBI single by McGinnis.

McGinnis single in another run in the third following a Milburn sacrifice fly. After a scoreless fourth, Hathaway belted a three-run homer to give UCCS an 11-5 advantage after five.

The Eagles added two in the sixth, but the Mountain Lions brought the NCAA's run rule into play in the bottom half of the inning as an Everett single turned into a two-run hit thanks to a fielding error in the outfield. With two outs, McGinnis struck again with a two-run double down the left field line to end the game.

The teams will complete their four-game series with another doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Sarah McCauleySarah McCauley7P/IF
Sarah McCauleySarah McCauley7P/IF
Sarah McCauleySarah McCauley7P/IF
Amanda HathawayAmanda Hathaway17OF
Amanda HathawayAmanda Hathaway17OF
Amanda HathawayAmanda Hathaway17OF
Amanda HathawayAmanda Hathaway17OF
Jessika AnastosJessika Anastos41BJr.
Jessika AnastosJessika Anastos41BJr.
Megan McGinnisMegan McGinnis9LFFr.
Megan McGinnisMegan McGinnis9LFFr.
Lara MathewsonLara Mathewson44IFFr
Lara MathewsonLara Mathewson44IFFr
Lara MathewsonLara Mathewson44IFFr
Lara MathewsonLara Mathewson44IFSr
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