History-making CSU softball team hits prime time Friday

There has been much to celebrate this season for the CSU softball program, including a stellar senior campaign by senior pitcher Bridgette Hutton.

Jen Fisher knew that the 2019 CSU football team was special before the season began.

They were more focused, more prepared and more determined than her previous eight Rams teams.

They bought in, and they’re invested,” said Fisher, who became CSU’s coach in 2010.

Rams hit NCAAs for just the third time

The results of that investment have been historic. The Rams (38-10) not only won just the second Mountain West title in program history, they qualified for the NCAA Tournament for just the third time since the sport was established in 1976. Their winning percentage (.791) is the best in school history, and they put together a school-record 20-game winning streak that led to the league title.

Catcher Amber Nelson was named Mountain West Player of the Year.

“I’m so happy for our kids, our coaches and our whole staff; everyone worked so hard,” said Fisher. “I’m just happy for everyone.”

First up: Auburn

The Rams open NCAA play with a program first: A live appearance on ESPN when they face No. 23 Auburn in the first game of the Tucson, Ariz., Regional. First pitch is at 7 p.m. Friday.

Auburn (37-19) plays in the powerful Southeastern Conference but is beatable. The Tigers finished just 10th in their league standings after losing 10 of their final 12 games in the regular season. They did reach the SEC Tournament semifinals but come in with a 4-11 record over their past 15 games.

Arizona (42-12), ranked No. 6, is the site host and will play Harvard (25-17) at 8 p.m. Friday in the first round of the double-elimination tournament. Winners and losers will square off Saturday.

A league of their own

The Rams are led by senior catcher Amber Nelson, who was named Mountain West player of the year this week after hitting a league-best .421 with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs. Fisher was named coach of the year, while first baseman Ashley Ruiz and outfielder Tara Shadowen joined Nelson on the all-conference first team. Lauren BuchananBridgette Hutton and Ashley Michelena were named to the second team.