ALAMOSA—Even though the weather may have been playable on Saturday, the early decision to move the Adams State University softball four-game series to Sunday and Monday was a smart one as the Grizzlies used the extra day and put their confidence to work as they defeated the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers in the opening game 7-5 before the Orediggers rebounded and earned a 9-2 win in the second game.
On Monday, the Grizzlies pulled out a 3-2 win to open the doubleheader before falling 9-2 in the series finale. With the wins, Adams State improved to 11-15 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and 12-22 overall to leapfrog the CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves and move into seventh place in the team standings.
The clouds that moved in and out of the San Luis Valley didn’t faze the Grizzlies as they jumped up and took an early lead in the first game.
The Grizzlies opened the game by scoring the opening run in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs, a line by Makenzie Villarreal was dropped by the right fielder allowing Marissa Harmon and Gabrielle Griego to nail solid singles and move Villarreal around the bases and across the plate.
A solo home run in the top of the second inning tied the game at one.
Adams State rallied back and scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning as Tyler Hays nailed a two-run double to center field to score Paige Reichmuth and Alexandria Quintana, all with two outs.
The lead was short-lived again, however, as the Orediggers rallied back and scored two runs on a two-run single with one of the runs being unearned.
Once again, the Grizzlies scored two runs on a Reichmuth single to score Quintana and April Riggins with the lead 5-3 entering the fourth inning. The pitchers finally had a clean inning as a scoreless fourth inning made way to the game being tied at five on a two-run homer.
The Grizzlies recaptured the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning as Kaytlynn Johnson, who had one hit entering Sunday’s games, notched a double to right center to score Sheridan VanHoose for the eventual game-winner.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Kalin Johnson electrified the crowd as she nailed a hard ball down the right field line. Her speed caught the Orediggers off guard and she was able to race around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
Lauren Murphy, who pitched the complete game and allowed four earned runs on nine hits and struck out eight of the 31 batters she faced, closed out the game with two solid innings. She evened her win loss record at 8-8 while Maddie Rogers was tagged with the loss for the Orediggers.
Offensively, Adams State had eight hits including two doubles, a triple and home run.
In the second game, the Orediggers struck first as they scored three runs in the second and fourth innings while scoring two runs in the top of the third.
Adams State, who forced the game to be a complete seven innings, scored a solo run in the bottom of the second as Riggins took an 0-1 pick and nailed it to deep centerfield for a solo jack.
The Grizzlies scored another solo run in the bottom of the seventh inning as Kalin Johnson grounded out to score Jasmine Parker.
The Orediggers (19-11, 16-8 RMAC) took advantage of eight Grizzly errors on Monday and received solid starts from Maddie Rogers and Hallie Smith to halve the series.
Adams State earned a close win over Mines in the morning game, edging the Orediggers 3-2.
Both teams held leads in the game, but Kaytlynn Johnson's first career home run in the sixth put the Grizzlies ahead for good.
Katie Leiker got Mines on the board in the first, scoring Kara Walling with a single, but Kalin Johnson tied it up in the third with a fielder's choice that scored Sheridan VanHoose. ASU took the lead for the first time in the fifth when Taylor Roberts reached on an error, allowing Johnson to score, but Boston Ludlow's double in the sixth plated Leiker and made it a new ballgame at 2-2.
Johnson put the hosts ahead in the sixth with a lead-off home run, and Mines couldn't get anything going in the top of the seventh as ASU held on to win.
Lauren Murphy (9-8) struck out six in the win and only allowed one earned run. Maddie Rogers (3-4) was the hard-luck loser, allowing only two earned and striking out five over six innings.
Mines went ahead with a big first inning and never trailed, beating Adams State 9-2 in the series finale.
Hallie Smith (9-5) won her second game of the weekend, working a two-run complete game backed by nine runs off seven hits. Mines took advantage of five ASU errors in the game.
Mines plated three in the first off three Grizzly errors as Paige Noehring and Kara Walling scored on miscues, and Katie Leiker came across as Kara Jones reached on a dropped fly.
April Riggins' two-run inside-the-park home run in the first made it 3-2, but that would be ASU's only runs of the game. Dani Valerio singled in Pua Fujinaga in the fourth, and Jones drove in Leiker in the fifth to make it 5-2. Another ASU error in the sixth, off Clara Larson's single, allowed Walling and Noehring to score, and a pinch-hit appearance by Maddie Rogers produced a run as she plated Stefanie Brunello on a groundout in the seventh.
Adams State saw Whitney Fields get her second loss of the weekend as she gave up four runs, only one that was earned, on three hits and four walks. She had two strikeouts. Madison Vrabel pitched four innings as she gave up five runs, only three that were earned on four hits and three walks.
Adams State will return to action on Saturday when they travel to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs for a four-game series.
Photo by Samantha Hall.