March 4, 2012

ThunderWolves split doubleheader, come away with series win

Pack takes three of four from Colorado Mines.


GOLDEN, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - March 4, 2012) - CSU-Pueblo came away with a series win Sunday as it closed its series with Colorado Mines, splitting a doubleheader and winning three of four on the weekend.  The ThunderWolves would outlast Mines in an 18-14 slugfest in the early game before a walk-off RBI walk sunk the Pack in a 4-3 loss in the nightcap.

Both games were packed with excitement for the ThunderWolves, but for two entirely different reasons.

In the early game, pitching was nearly non-existent for both clubs as the teams combined for 34 hits and 32 runs. 

The ThunderWolves were eager to shift into cruise control after it ended the top of the fourth inning with a commanding 12-4 lead.  But Mines showed that no lead is safe in RMAC baseball, putting up a "nine" in the bottom of the fourth to take a 13-12 lead.

After adding one more run to go up 14-12, CSU-Pueblo finally tied it up in the top of the 7th inning on a two-run single by Chase Lacomb (Jr., Las Vegas, Nev.) that knotted it up at 14-14.

CSU-Pueblo would go ahead for good in the eighth when Brandon Evans (Jr., Las Vegas, Nev.) knocked in Andrew Castaneda (Sr., San Jose, Calif.) on a run-scoring single that put the Pack up 15-14.  Evans would log another two RBI in the ninth as the Pack would get a four-run cushion it would ride to victory.

Despite the dreary pitching to open the game, the relief trio of Chris De Fratus (Sr., Oxnard, Calif.), Kamron Garner (Sr., Moreno Valley, Calif.) and Kyle Ginter (Jr., Chino Hills, Calif.), who got his first win of the season in his outing, held Mines to six hits over the final 5-1/3 innings. 

In the late game, pitching for both teams settled down considerably, as the teams' two starters combined to give up just 15 hits.  However, the game came down remarkably enough to an inning in which the winning run was scored without a single hit being put on the board.

In the bottom of the 7th inning and the score tied at 3-3, Evans, the Pack's starter on the mound, hit the leadoff batter, gave up a sacrifice hit, and was forced to intentionally walk a batter before giving way to Mike Knueppel (Jr., Mesa, Ariz.), who couldn't put a cherry on his 6-for-9 day at the plate.  Knueppel unfortunately uncorked a wild pitch, then walked the next batter, loading the bases and setting the stage for the most anti-climactic ending in baseball - a walk-off walk for the game-winning run, handing Mines the 4-3 win.

For CSU-Pueblo, the split put the Pack at 5-7 on the year and 3-1 in RMAC play.  It will return home for a non-conference game with Regis on Tuesday before its RMAC home opener Friday against archrival, Colorado Mesa, at Rawlings Field.