Mountain Lions Drop Pair of One-Run Games

By Doug Fitzgerald published March 13, 2011

DENVER - The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs got all the pitching it needed but was let down by its hitting, particularly in clutch situations, as the Mountain Lions dropped a pair of one-run games Sunday to the Rangers at Regis Softball Field.

UCCS (7-14, 4-8 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) got a four-hit performance by starting pitcher Becca Smith (2-4) in the opener but lost 2-1. Smith allowed just four hits and a walk while striking out six.

As good as she was, Regis' Bianca Holley was a hair better. She improved to 8-3 with the four-hitter.

The Mountain Lions had 14 baserunners in the second game, 11 of whom advanced into scoring position, but only three scored as UCCS fell 4-3.

Jessica Belsterling (4-6) took the Game 2 loss for UCCS. Only one of the four runs she allowed in her 2 1/3 innings was earned. Jenna Mott pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

"We're excited about our pitching," said UCCS coach Scott Peterson. "There were four games played here this weekend - all one-run ballgames."

Regis (12-9, 6-4 RMAC) won three of those, dropping the Mountain Lions to 2-3 in one-run games this season. Since Peterson became the coach in 2001, UCCS has had a losing record in one-run games only twice (2001 and 2009).

"The history of our program over the last 11 years is that we win one-run ballgames," said Peterson. "That's sort of been our thing."

With one out in the third inning of the opener, Marissa Wallace split the gap between the left fielder and the center fielder. Both were playing very shallow as a part of Regis' slap hitter defense, which allowed the ball to roll all the way to the fence and Wallace to motor all the way to third. She scored on a fielding error a batter later.

Regis took the lead in the fourth on Natalie Adami's two run homer to right. Her blast scored Shannon Massine, who led off the inning with a single up the middle.

While the Rangers committed two errors in the game, it was a pair of spectacular defensive plays that made the difference. In the first inning, second baseman Alisa Heronema ranged deep in the hole to backhand a Jessica Belsterling grounder that would have scored Lara Mathewson from second if not for the play.

In the fifth, Mathewson send a fly ball deep into right center that Regis right fielder Cassie Long snared on a dead run. UCCS baserunner Landry Davis was running on contact and was doubled off of first.

After being shut down in each of the first three innings of the nightcap, the Mountain Lions scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth.

"We had a shot in the fourth, the fifth, the sixth and the seventh," said Peterson. "We had the winning run and the tying run on every inning. We just came up one hit short.

"If we keep pitching like this, we'll be OK, but we've got to hit and we've got to execute."

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