DURANGO, Colo. – The University of Colorado Colorado Springs (24-12 / 20-9 RMAC) moved into a tie for first in the RMAC standings with 6-3 and 5-2 victories on the road at Fort Lewis (21-23 / 17-15 RMAC) today at Aspen Field. The Mountain Lions are tied in the conference standings with Colorado Mesa with six games left in the regular season.
Emily Jennings went a combined three-of-seven at the plate with a home run in the first game and a double in the second game. Korey Kulpins and Jessica Belsterling picked up the wins in the first and second games, respectively, in a pair of complete games for the Mountain Lions.
UCCS took the first lead of the series in the top of second inning on an RBI double from Paige Duncan to drive in Dani Fonseca. The Mountain Lions held their 1-0 lead until the third inning, when the Skyhawks tied the game and then took the lead at 2- with another run in the fourth inning.
The Mountain Lions responded with a three-run fifth inning, started by a single by Jourdan Hitchings who advanced into scoring position on an error. Jennifer Schellenger advanced Hitchings to third with a sacrifice ground ball and Belsterling earned the walk to put runners on the corner for UCCS with one out.
Jennings tied the game at 2-2 with an RBI single to score Hitchings, and moved to second base in the next at bat when Fonseca drew a walk to load the bases. Nikki Hoffman doubled to center field to score two more runs, and Becca Needler drove in the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to give the Mountain Lions a 5-2 lead.
Fort Lewis scored one more run in the bottom half of the inning, which was matched by one more run from UCCS off a solo home run by Jennings in the seventh inning. The Mountain Lions made their only error of the day with two outs left in the bottom of the seventh, but kept the Skyhawks off the board for the 6-3 victory.
Needler went two-of-two at the plate and Schellenberg went two-of-three as the Mountain Lions finished with nine hits. Kulpins earned her 11th win of the season in her 11th complete game.
Fort Lewis kept the Mountain Lions off the board and took a 1-0 after the first inning, but UCCS started the second inning with a single by Hoffman, followed by a walk to Needler to give the Mountain Lions two runners on base with no outs in the second inning.
Paige Duncan advanced both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice hit. A walk to Kulpins loaded the bases for the Mountain Lions, who scored the their first run of the game in the next at bat with a sacrifice fly ball to center field by Hitchings. Schellenberg brought in another run with a single to center field, and an error by the shortshop on Belstering’s at-bat allowed Kulpins to score and provide a 3-1 UCCS lead.
The Skyhawks added a run in the fourth inning to narrow the gap to 3-2, but UCCS responded in the fifth with a two-run home run by Fonseca to give the Mountain Lions a 5-2 lead. UCCS allowed only two base runners for Fort Lewis in the final three innings to claim the 5-2 win against the Skyhawks.
Belsterling improved to 10-3 and surpassed 500 career innings pitched in her 45th complete game of her four-year career. Jennings went two-of-three at the plate to lead the UCCS offense.
Up Next: Both teams will be back in action tomorrow for another doubleheader, starting at noon. Colorado Mesa, the team tied with UCCS at the top of the RMAC standings and who went 2-0 today, will wrap up its weekend with Black Hills State and Chadron State in Spearfish, S.D.