Homers help ASU take three from UCCS

COLORADO SPRINGS — Something clicked for Adams State University junior April Riggins, who wears No. 8, on Saturday, April 8th as she celebrated the fourth month of the year with four home runs to help her Grizzlies get a split in Saturday's Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference doubleheader at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

The Grizzlies captured the first game as they were able to hold off the Mountain Lions in the bottom of the seventh inning for the 10-8 win. In the second game, a 9-run bottom of the first inning doomed the Grizzlies as they fell 14-3 in five innings.

Three home runs for Adams State including two from senior Marissa Harmon helped the Grizzlies get a Sunday sweep as they were able to hold on for a narrow 11-10 win in the first game before taking the second game 11-3 in six innings.

On Saturday, Adams State had seven home runs with sophomore Tyler Hays, Harmon and freshman Taylor Roberts hitting the long ball.

In the opening game, the Grizzlies jumped on the score board in the top of the first inning as Riggins took an 0-1 pitch and drove it over the left field wall for a 2-run jack to score herself and Hays.

The Mountain Lions rallied back and tied the game in the bottom of the inning as two solo homers to left field made the score 2-2.

After a scoreless second inning, Riggins struck again as she took another 0-1 pitch and drove it back over the left field wall for a 3-run jack. This time Hays was joined by Kalin Johnson on the trot around the bases to makes the score 5-2.

UCCS cut the lead to one run in the bottom half of the inning on a 2-RBI single on a 3-2 pitch. Hays then nailed a home run in the top of the fifth to center field. Again UCCS tallied a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth.

Riggins then hit another three run blast down the right field line to score Johnson and Paige Reichmuth before Roberts nailed her solo homer.

The Mountain Lions battled back and scored three runs, one on a single one on a double and one a sacrifice fly.

In the game, ASU tallied 12 hits and only struck out four times as they only stranded two runners on base.
In the circle, Murphy earned her 10th win of the season as she allowed the eight runs on 10 hits and two walks. She struck out five in her 6.1 innings of work and stranded five of the 31 batters she faced. Whitney Fields closed the game and earned her first save of the season as she tossed .2 of an inning and had a strikeout and a walk.

Fields, who started the second game, then ran into a buzzsaw. She only earned two outs in the game as she gave up eight earned runs on five hits and two walks. Taylor Roberts came in for relief. She finished the game as she tossed 3.1 innings and gave up five earned runs on six hits and one strikeouts.

The Mountain Lions had two 2-run doubles and a 3-run home run in the bottom of the first inning to take the 9-0 advantage before Harmon nailed her homer, a 2-run home run, in the top of the second. Riggins finished out her day with a solo homer in the fourth to close out the scoring for the Grizzlies.

The day also had a somber feel to it as the Grizzlies all wore red ribbons to honor New Mexico Highlands University catcher Danielle Cordova, who perished in a tragic car accident earlier this week.

In Sunday's first game, a seven-run third inning helped offset a five-run fourth inning by the Mountain Lions and the Grizzlies were able to close out the win.

The Grizzlies got the offense going in the top of the first inning as Taylor Roberts hit an RBI single to right field to score Cheyenne Hamilton. April Riggins then scored as she and Roberts executed a double steal to make the score 2-0.

UCCS rallied back and took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second as a fielding error helped score a run before a sacrifice fly and a double down the left field line scored two unearned runs.

The Grizzlies then struck gold with their seven-run third inning. It started with Harmon singling to right center for an RBI before Sarah Haskins doubled her home. Paige Reichmuth then singled to the left side to score Haskins. Tyler Hays hit a double to score Whitney Fields before Hamilton had a two-run double to score Hays and Reichmuth. The final run of the inning came on a single from Roberts.

In the fourth inning, the Grizzlies took off from where they left off as Harmon hit a solo homer before Fields doubled home Jasmine Parker to help Adams State take an 11-3 lead against UCCS after the top of the fourth inning and threatened the run-rule with an eight-run advantage with an inning before the rule would take effect.

The Mountain Lions started the bottom of the fourth with three straight hits as Jordyn Cusimano's single scored Amanda Nobles and cut the Grizzly lead to 11-4. Kylie Barnard loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch, and UCCS scored two runs after Whitney Weber and Rayle Glover hit back-to-back singles for an 11-6 game. The Mountain Lions scored two more runs on sacrifice plays from Lexi Belligan and Claire Nibbe before a fly out to right field ended a five-run inning for UCCS and cut the deficit to 11-8.

Weber made it a one-run game in the fifth inning with a two-out, two-RBI triple on her first pitch. Christina Patton used 10 pitches to retire Adams State in order in the sixth and the Mountain Lions put two runners on base with one out in the bottom of the inning but couldn't score in the 11-10 game. UCCS allowed only one base runner in the top of the seventh but went down in order in the bottom of the inning to help ASU complete the 11-10 setback.

Hoffman scored three runs and Weber finished with three RBIs as four Mountain Lions recorded multiple hits and Stephanie Chitkowski took the loss in a two and two-third inning start.

Adams State scored their 11 runs on 16 hits and three walks with Harmon and Hays leading the way with three hits. Fields earned her fourth win of the season as she pitched five innings and gave up 10 runs on 11 hits and one walk while striking out four. Murphy earned the save and only gave up one hit and a walk while striking out one batter.

The Grizzlies scored six runs off four home runs in the second game for a 6-0 lead through the fourth inning. Harmon got the train rolling in the top of the second as she homered to right field to score Kaytlyn Johnson before Johnson hit a 2-run homer to left field. In the fourth inning Hays and Hamiliton went back-to-back before allowing the Mountain Lions to score.

Smith scored on a fielder's choice and Cusimano hit her first collegiate home run as the Mountain Lions broke the shutout in the bottom of the fourth with three runs.

Adams State manufactured three runs in the top of the fifth for a 9-3 advantage and expanded the lead to 11-3 with two more runs in the sixth. The three runs in the fifth came from Haskins, who doubled down the right field line to score Parker before Reichmuth singled to left field to score Haskins. Riggins then hit a sacrifice fly to score Alex Quintana.

In the sixth, Hanna Wirtjes singled through the right side to score Johnson while Reichmuth singled to score Harmon.

UCCS went down in order on seven pitches in the bottom of the sixth as the Grizzlies closed out the series with the run-rule result.

Meghan Waidler was charged with the loss in a four-inning start while Taylor Roberts earned her first win of the season on a complete game showdown.

On the weekend, April Riggins was the spark for the Grizzlies as she was 5-of-11 (.455) at the plate. Four of those five at bats were home runs and she had 10 RBI on the weekend. Riggins also drew three walks to help the Grizzlies win three of their four games.

Lauren Murphy was the top pitcher for ASU as she won one game and had a 6.72 ERA. During her two games she pitched 8.1 innings and gave up eight runs on nine hits and three walks. She also earned a save with a clutch performance on Sunday and had six strikeouts.

The Grizzlies, who are now 15-23 overall and 14-14 in RMAC play, will return home this upcoming week for a rare Friday and Saturday doubleheader with Colorado Christian University. The doubleheaders are slated to start at 12 and 2 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday. Friday's doubleheader has been dubbed as Strike-out Cancer Day.

After the weekend, the Grizzlies are sitting in seventh place in the RMAC standings.

Top: ASU catcher Marissa Harmon. Photo by Samantha Hall.