UCCS softball splits opening day doubleheader, mercy-rules Lumberjacks in Game 1

     The UCCS Mountain Lions softball squad made their 2022 debut on the field on Feb. 4, starting the season off with a mercy rule victory over the Humboldt State Lumberjacks, only to follow with a close loss to even out the doubleheader. 

     In the first game, the Mountain Lions led off with four consecutive baserunners without an out committed, behind singles from sophomore outfielder Mia Perez, junior shortstop Solana Martinez and junior corner infielder Sawyer Brewster. 

     Brewster’s single with the bases loaded scored Perez, and a sacrifice fly from freshman Paige White preceded two run-scoring singles from junior infielder Payton Reisman and junior outfielder Bryn Horton. The Mountain Lions led 5-0 at the end of the first inning, batting around in their first offensive opportunity. 

     After allowing a two-run home run to the Lumberjacks in the top of the second, Reisman followed her two-RBI single with a homer of her own, erasing the ground Humboldt State made up in the previous inning, and bringing the score to 7-2 to end the third inning. 

     The Lumberjacks got their only hit of the fourth inning via a three-run home run from second baseman Tessa Pourier, cutting the Mountain Lions’ lead to just two in the middle of the fourth. 

     However, in the first collegiate softball game of her career, freshman catcher Paige White took a fastball over the fence, scoring three runs back for the Mountain Lions and increasing their lead to 10-5. 

     Reisman took a walk two batters later, which led to sophomore infielder Morgan Hernandez-Belew hitting a third home run for UCCS, a dead-center blast that grew the Mountain Lions’ lead to seven, 12-5. 

     Then, after a couple half-innings with no runs scored, Hernandez-Belew and Horton hit back-to-back doubles to score the 13th and final run of the game, as the Mountain Lions mercy-ruled the Lumberjacks 13-5 in their first of two games apart of a season opening doubleheader. 

     White and Reisman led the Mountain Lions in runs batted in, with four a piece. Brewster got a hit every single time she was at the plate, a perfect 4-for-4 solely on singles. 

     “Honestly, I was a little bit nervous for my first college game ever. 4 RBIs was great, and you can’t complain when you [go] out there and score some runs,” White said. 

     In their second game, the Mountain Lions started off matching their offensive firepower from their previous outing, with freshman outfielder Briana Mattos roping a triple to score Henandez-Belew in the second inning after a one-run first, making the game 2-0 going into the third inning. 

     However, after nearly two scoreless innings from freshman pitcher Mackenzie Rutkoff, the Mountain Lions relieved her with junior pitcher Lexi Rayburn. Rayburn allowed three walks and back-to-back home runs in the third to the Lumberjacks, who took a 4-2 lead. 

     After a Perez double into the gap cut the lead to just one run, the Lumberjacks scored two runs in the fourth and fifth innings off an error from the Mountain Lions’ fielders, followed by a single from infielder Joana Mullins. 

     Freshman Brianna Jennings pinch-ran for Reisman after a fielder’s choice, and eventually scored after a pair of errors from the Lumberjacks’ defense. 

     A sacrifice fly and a single in the sixth inning would see Humboldt State with their largest lead of the afternoon, 8-4. The Mountain Lions left four extra runners on base in the final two innings, dropping their second of two games and pulling their record back even at 1-1 

     UCCS corralled just five hits in their loss, with Mattos accounting for two of them with a pair of singles. Brewster remains the leader in on-base percentage for the Mountain Lions, going 1-2 with two additional walks to follow her perfect performance in the first game. 

     The Mountain Lions will travel to Lubbock, Texas, to participate in the LCU Softball Classic, a four-game invitational tournament from Feb. 12-13, with two doubleheaders against four separate softball teams spanning over the two days of gameplay. 

#32 Braelyne Crenshaw pitching. Photo by Megan Moen.