Mountain Lions Drop Pair to No. 9 Nebraska-Omaha

By Doug Fitzgerald published February 12, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS - When trying to shake of the sting of your worst season since 2001, starting off against the No. 9-ranked team in the country is a poor strategy.

Or is it?

While the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs dropped both ends of Saturday's doubleheader against the No. 9 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks, the Mountain Lions' performance was good enough to engender optimism rather than doubt. The Mavericks won the first game 6-2 and the second 6-4.

The Mountain Lions two new pitchers, Becca Smith and Jessica Belsterling, were each as promising as advertised. Belsterling and center fielder Amanda Hathaway each showed pop with home runs in Game 2. Lara Mathewson went 3-for-6 with two runs scored against what may well be the best 1-2 pitching tandem UCCS will face this season.

A young UCCS lineup that featured eight sophomores and a freshman among the 11 who saw action will look to build upon Saturday's start when the same two teams square off for another doubleheader on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m.

The UCCS defense was anything but sharp in the first inning of the opener. After a walk and a bunt single, a throwing error by Smith loaded the bases. A dribbler through the left side scored two, and a third crossed when Hathaway ended up chasing a wind-blown ball all the way into shallow right field. Neither right fielder Landry Davis nor Mathewson, the second baseman, gave chase.

Nebraska-Omaha made it 6-0  when Emma Wright's two-run double highlighted a three-run third.

Mathewson led off the fourth with the first of her two doubles, advanced to third on a Belsterling ground our and scored on an errant pickoff throw. UCCS made it 6-2 as Davis singled, went to third on the other Mathewson double and scored when third baseman Wright's throw hit Davis in the back during a rundown between third and home.

Five of the runs charged to Smith, the UCCS starter, were earned. Both runs charged to MIAA 2010 Pitcher of the year Beth Haley were unearned.

Belsterling surrendered six runs, two earned, in the nightcap while also powering the UCCS offense with a three-run homer.

The Mavericks scored one run in the second and then added three more in the third. UCCS answered in the fourth as Davis reached on a fielding error and Mathewson singled. Belsterling brought both home with a blast to right center. Two batters later, Hathaway delivered a solo shot to tie the game.

The game remained knotted throuth the fifth and sixth innings, but Nebraska-Omaha pushed two across in the top of the seventh with RBI singles by Wright and Sarah Elliott. Hathaway single to lead off the bottom of the inning, but the Mavericks' All-American pitcher/outfielder Lindsey Slocum stranded her there. Two of the four runs allowed by Slocum were earned and she struck out seven while walking none.

Wright was a combined 5-for-8  with four RBIs to lead UNO. Elliott was 4-for-7 and Amber Lutmer was 4-for-8.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Amanda HathawayAmanda Hathaway17OF
Amanda HathawayAmanda Hathaway17OF
Amanda HathawayAmanda Hathaway17OF
Amanda HathawayAmanda Hathaway17OF
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