Softball lets lead slip away in loss at Colorado State
FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Northern Colorado softball took a five-run lead into the fifth inning against Colorado State on Wednesday, but the Rams scored three runs apiece in their final two turns at the plate to claim a 6-5 victory at Ram Field.
Sophomore Melisa Ryba hit a pair of home runs for Northern Colorado (8-23) in the loss, and Erin Wilkinson finished 3-for-4, including a pair of doubles.
Ryba (4-3) also pitched a complete game in the circle for the Bears, allowing six runs (five earned) on 11 hits with a pair of strikeouts and just one walk. She gave up just five hits to Colorado State (22-11) in the first four innings before things came unraveld down the stretch.
"Things just kind of got away from us there at the end," Northern Colorado coach Jen Schunke said. "We tapered off and they took advantage."
The Bears will now take a couple days off before beginning their inaugural Pacific Coast Softball Conference season Saturday afternoon at Portland State. Northern Colorado will face the Viks four times before returning home late Sunday night.
With Northern Colorado up 5-0, Colorado State roared back in the fifth inning with a two-run homer from Christine Thomsen and a solo shot from Allison Majam to pull within 5-3.
The Rams pulled a run closer in the sixth with a single from Robyn Mask and a RBI double from Sarah Sullivan and then tied it up, 5-5, on an RBI single from Caitlan Stem. They took the lead for good when Thomsen reached on McNabb’s fielding error, scoring Stem all the way from second.
Sophomore Alex Neely’s second-inning double to left-center field put the Bears up 1-0, plating senior Jessica McNabb, who reached with a single to left.
The Rams threatened in their half of the second, loading the bases with two outs, but Ryba wiggled out of the game by getting the final out on a comebacker from Brianna Donahue.
It could have been worse, though. With one out in the inning, Majam smacked a double to right-center, but NC's Kaylyn James started a perfect rally from the fence, through McNabb, nabbing Majam at third by a wide margin.
Ryba’s home run in the third, her third of the season, put the Bears up 2-0. Wilkinson followed with a double down the left field line, but McNabb later ended the inning with a swinging strikeout.
Colorado State nearly put together a rally again in the fourth inning with Majam’s second double of the day, but Northern Colorado third baseman Melanie Buol cut her down a batter later, when Buol fielded a sharp grounder and caught Buol too far off the bag at second for the second out.
The Rams followed with a single, putting runners on first and second, but Ryba again got Donahue to ground out quietly to first.
Ryba’s second homer, her fourth in 2010, in the fifth inning put the Bears up 4-0, and McNabb’s RBI double to left-center plated Erin Wilkinson to give Northern Colorado its 5-0 bulge.