UCCS softball takes second straight series victory, wins three of four 

     Led by their offensive firepower, the UCCS softball squad improved their record to eight wins and four losses on the season, with six total wins in the conference. 

     The Mountain Lions scored five or more runs in every game during the series against the Black Hills State Yellow Jackets, a feat that they have not accomplished this season.  

March 4 vs Black Hills State: Game 1 

     To begin the first game of this four-game series, the Mountain Lions sent redshirt junior pitcher Braelyne Crenshaw on the mound, who had won her previous match against Chadron State University. 

     Redshirt junior infielder Sawyer Brewster started the first inning with a two-run shot over the left field fence, driving in sophomore outfielder Mia Perez and putting UCCS up 2-0 after only a half-inning. 

     In the third, the Mountain Lions increased their lead with a solo home run from redshirt senior catcher Courtnie Heller and a pair of RBI singles from junior infielders Solana Martinez and Peyton Reisman, taking a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the third. 

     Crenshaw never looked back on the bump, setting a new career-high in strikeouts with 13 over the course of the match, pitching all seven innings en route to a series-opening victory against the Yellow Jackets, 6-5. 

March 4 vs. Black Hills State: Game 2 

     Following their win earlier in the day, UCCS faced Black Hills State for the second half of their doubleheader, looking to sweep the day and go on their first winning streak of the season. 

     After a scoreless first inning for both teams, freshman infielder Paige White took a double into the gap to score Brewster to lead off the second inning. The extra base hit preceded a one-out RBI single from freshman catcher Cassidy Hubner, her first driven-in run this season. 

     Redshirt sophomore Morgan Hernandez-Belew took her first at-bat beyond the center field fence, starting the third inning off with her third home run of the season. White followed with a home run of her own later in the same inning, a two-run blast that put UCCS up 5-1 early in the contest. 

     A late-game home run to center field from Brewster separated the gap once again, giving UCCS a 7-3 lead going into the final inning of the day. 

     Freshman pitcher Mackenzie Rutkoff and redshirt junior pitcher Lexi Rayburn combined to pitch the first five innings, allowing just six hits on four earned runs. Crenshaw came in to begin the sixth inning, closing out the game with three strikeouts on 30 pitches, locking up another win for the Mountain Lions, 7-5. 

March 5 vs. Black Hills State: Game 3 

     Crenshaw, on just a single day of rest, started the first of two games on the day for the Mountain Lions, looking to capture another series win in their home stadium. 

     The Yellow Jackets took an early lead, however, with a 3-0 advantage after a pair of extra base hits, including a two-run home run to drive in a runner. 

     UCCS began their fight back with a leadoff second inning home run from White, followed by a two-out shot to left field from freshman outfielder Briana Mattos, cutting the lead to just one run after the second inning. 

     The Mountain Lions were shut out in the next three innings, where Black Hills State was able to drive in an extra four runs over the same span. Crenshaw was removed for Rutkoff after throwing just 56 pitches. 

     In the top of the sixth inning, White drove in Martinez from third off a one-out single, while Heller hit a pinch-hit home run for freshman infielder Brianna Jennings, taking White home and earning two more runs back for the Mountain Lions. 

     Their comeback attempt fell short, as the Yellow Jackets got three outs on only one hit in the final inning. The Mountain Lions would have to wait until the final game of the day to see if they could capture the series. 

March 5 vs. Black Hills State: Game 4 

     Rayburn headlined the closing game, starting her second game of the series after winning the day before. 

     Mattos got the scoring started for the Mountain Lions in the second inning, with a drive up the middle into center fielder to score Hubner from second base. 

     The following inning, Hernandez-Belew hit her second home run of the series and her fourth of the season, leading off the third inning with a 2-0 lead for UCCS. 

     After a few scoreless half-innings for the Mountain Lions, Brewster singled up the middle to score Hernandez-Belew, taking a 3-1 lead. 

     The Yellow Jackets would tie the game later in the bottom of the sixth inning, after a double down the right field line drove in a runner from second base, effectively knotting the game at four runs a piece going into the final inning. 

     The seventh inning saw the Mountain Lions take the lead right back, as a two-run shot from Brewster and a passed ball on a strikeout scored three more runs for the Mountain Lions, and Rayburn took down the next three batters in order to win the game and the series for UCCS, 7-4. 

     For the second time this series, UCCS had another complete game, with Rayburn going the distance on six strikeouts and four walks, throwing 131 pitches on the game. 

     The Mountain Lions will take a week off to recuperate and return to Mountain Lion Field to face off against the Regis University Raiders in another four-game series March 12-13.