FORT COLLINS, COLORADO - The Brown University softball team (0-2) played two tough games on the first day of the Colorado State Tournament, opening its season with a 9-3 loss to Nebraska Omaha (15-1) before falling, 4-0, to host Colorado State (8-9).
"Those were typical early season games," said first year head coach Katie Flynn. "I thought the time of our line-up in the first game looked solid, they were just squaring up on the ball. Also in the fifth inning of that first game, Jen had a backhand, on-the-run, at-the-fence catch that saved three runs. It was really an extraordinary catch."
Nebraska Omaha got an early lead after scoring five runs on six hits and one error in the second and third innings. Brown soon countered in the top of the fourth, however, as senior co-captain Avery Silverstein (Woodbrige, CT) started the rally with a single to third base. Senior co-captain Stephanie Thompson (Chino, CA) and sophomore Kelsey Hom (Santa Monica, CA) followed that with consecutive singles to left field to load the bases. Sophomore Trista Chavez (San Pedro, CA) then hit a two-run double down the left field line to bring the Bears within three.
Brown added a third run to its total in the fifth, when freshman Janet Leung (Mississauga, Ontario) scored on a RBI single to the right side from Hom. Unfortunately, the Bears were unable to hold the Mavericks, who scored an additional four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Leung and Silverstein both went 2-for-4 at the plate, scoring a run each. Hom went 2-for-3 with an RBI single, and Thompson went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Chavez batted in two runs on a double and senior Aly Caplan (San Mateo, CA) singled in the third inning. Sophomore Jessica Cherness (Torrance, CA) received the loss for the Bears, giving up four earned runs over three innings, allowing six hits and walking four batters.
In their second game of the afternoon, the Bears immediately started on the offensive, with a single from Thompson and two walks to load the bases during the first inning. They were unable to score, however, which was an unfortunate trend for the team, as they stranded eight batters on base over the course of the game. Colorado State got the upper hand in the second inning, scoring two unearned runs on one hit and two errors during the second inning. The Rams scored another run in the fourth inning off an RBI double, and a solo homerun in the sixth would give them the 4-0 win.
Thompson went 2-for-3 against Colorado State, as junior Jen Kries (Mission Viejo, CA) and Silverstein both posted singles for Brown.
Freshman pitcher Sarah Ropiak (Acton, MA) received the loss, despite a good performance in her first start of the season. She went six innings, giving up six hits and two walks for only two earned runs.
"In game two, Sarah, with only two earned runs, had great control, command and spin," said Flynn. "I think Coach Angel had a great game plan against their hitters and it was a great pitching performance out of a rookie. Moving forward, I'd like to see us ground out at-bats, battle deeper in the count, draw walks and improve our defense. I think we are right where we are supposed to be and we are just going to keep trying to get better every day."
The Bears continue play in the Colorado State Tournament tomorrow, Saturday, March 2nd, taking on the University of Washington at 9:00 am CST before going up against Bradley University at 1:30 pm CST.