Mott Thrives in Traffic Jam as UCCS Manages Split Against Fort Lewis
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - As a Californian, Jenna Mott is accustomed to long journeys in heavy traffic. That being the case, Sunday's opener should have been very familiar for the freshman.
Mott survived 14 hits over eight innings to pitch the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs to a 3-2 win in the opener of its twinbill at Bergman Field, allowing the Mountain Lions to gain a split against the Fort Lewis Skyhawks.
Stacy Ortiz threw five outstanding innings in the second game before faltering in the sixth as UCCS dropped the nightcap 5-2.
UCCS, which improved to 13-27 overall and 10-21 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play, kept itself alive in the race for the final RMAC playoff spots. The Mountain Lions will host Regis for a four-game series April 24-25 before finishing the season with four more at Nebraska-Kearney on May 1-2.
Lara Mathewson led the UCCS offense, going 4-for-8 with two RBIs.
UCCS 3, Fort Lewis 2
Mott struck out four and walked none to even her season record at 5-5. She stranded 11 Skyhawk baserunners and had just one three-up, three-down inning.
"I think I'm much more focused and determined with runners on," said Mott. "I'm trying to get out of the inning and give our batters a chance to win the game for us."
The Mountain Lions won the game despite getting just five hits, although they did draw five walks.
Center fielder Amanda Hathaway expanded her UCCS record by registering her 19th outfield assist of the season when her throw to home in the first inning nailed Jordan Willis. She has now more than doubled the previous record (nine) set by Janine Ota in 2006.
Trailing 1-0, the Mountain Lions got their first hit since the first inning when Erin Milburn drilled a sharp one-out single to left, sending Amanda Hathaway, who walked, to second. A wild pitch advanced both one base before Kailey Hernandez singled to center, bringing in Hathaway and tying the game. Mathewson followed with a single that shortstop Brooke Bails dove to field but had no shot at an out.
In a game full of outstanding defensive plays, it was ironically one that wasn't made that tied the game. With two out and a runner on first in the sixth inning, Amanda Willmon hit a line drive to center field. Hathaway made a sliding attempt that hits off her shin and rolled all the way to near the left field line. Willmon made it to third for a triple, scoring Kassie Haubert.
Fort Lewis, the home team on the scoreboard in the neutral-site game, nearly ended it in the seventh. Jordan Willis singled up the middle to start the inning. One out later, Bailes hits a comebacker that Mott got her glove on, but it came with such pace that it ripped Mott's glove off her hand for an infield single. The threat was extinguished when Natalie Janes' line drive to second has nabbed by Mathewson, who flipped it to fist to double up Bails.
The Mountain Lions regained the advantage in the first extra frame. Hernandez reached on an error, and, one out later, Jessika Anastos walked. Hernandez, now on second, scored on Christina Blanton's single up the middle.
Despite having thrown well over 100 pitches to that point, Mott stranded two more runners in the bottom of the inning to preserve the win.
"My teammates did the hitting and my job as pitcher was to get us the win," said Mott. "I needed to get those three outs."
Fort Lewis 5, UCCS 2
Through the first five frames of Game 2, Ortiz (5-13) limited the Skyhawks to just four hits while striking out five. A five-hit, three-run sixth, though, gave Fort Lewis the win.
UCCS scored in each of the first two innings. Mathewson singled home Landry Davis in the first inning and Megan McGinnis' single to center in the second drove in Traci Everett.
UCCS survived leadoff double in second. Janes started the inning with a shot to the gap in left center. Haubert sacrificed her to third, but UCCS pitcher Stacy Ortiz struck out Ashley Hibbs and got a lazy grounder to second out of Denae Benally.
In the third, though, the Skyhawks halved the lead on a Willis RBI double down the right field line. In the fifth, back-to-back doubles by Willis and Bails tied the game.
The Mountain Lions could have - should have - scored more runs. UCCS stranded seven runners in the first five innings, six of those in scoring position.
"That's the game right there, seven runners stranded and six in scoring position," said Peterson. "We pitched good enough to win.
"Whatever (Fort Lewis starter Jayme Fuller, who improved to 3-6) was doing, it worked."
Because of that failure, Benally's RBI single, Fort Lewis' sixth hit of the game on the first that was not a double, gave the Skyhawks a 3-2 lead. That play was followed by two two-out singles and a walk to load the bases, which set up Willis' two run single to right that inflated the gap to 5-2.
Willis ended the day a combined 6-for-8 with three RBIs and two doubles. Benally was 3-for-6, while Bails and Janes were each 3-for-7.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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