May 11, 2012

Pack plays its way to RMAC Championship game

ThunderWolves outlast Mines to advance to first RMAC championship game since 2009.


PUEBLO, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - May 11, 2012) - Faced with elimination for the second straight day, CSU-Pueblo continued to post victories and claim a berth in the RMAC Championship game in the process, downing Colorado School of Mines 6-5 Friday.

The ThunderWolves relied on highly effective pitching, first on a strong start from Kyle Clemens (Jr., Colorado Springs, Colo.), who pitched 5-2/3 innings and 4-2/3 innings of no-hit ball, then by a rare 3-1/3 inning save by Jeremiah Struble (Jr., Divide, Colo.), who helped shut down the Orediggers late in the game.

CSU-Pueblo, playing as the designated road team in its own park, got its first lead after Chris Schindler (Sr., San Mateo, Calif.) singled down the leftfield line, knocking in two runs and giving the Pack a 2-0 lead in the top of the 5th inning.  Schindler's knock helped kick off a five-run inning for the ThunderWolves, which also saw a two-run single by Wade Beauvais (Jr., Pueblo, Colo.) and a sacrifice fly by Mike Knueppel (Jr., Mesa, Ariz.).

Mines nipped away at the lead little by little, drawing six walks and inching baserunners across the plate.  In the bottom of the 5th, the Orediggers scored two runs without even gathering a hit or breaking up the no-hitter at the time, using two walks, a fielder's choice and an error to cut the Pack lead to 5-2.

After the ThunderWolves scored again in the 6th on an RBI-single from Schindler, Mines continued to collect hits and dig into the lead.

Heading to the bottom of the 9th, CSU-Pueblo's lead was down to just 6-5, but Struble was able to retire the Orediggers in order to secure the win and his first collegiate save.

With the victory, CSU-Pueblo will play at noon Saturday, the final day of the RMAC Tournament, assured of facing Regis no matter the outcome of the Rangers' game with New Mexico Highlands Friday night, as it has gone 2-0 to start the tournament.

If Regis defeats Highlands, CSU-Pueblo must beat Regis twice to claim the championship - even if it doesn't defeat Regis, the early game would serve as the RMAC Championship Game.  If Regis loses, the Pack will have a chance to eliminate the Rangers and face Highlands in the championship game. 

For CSU-Pueblo, its Saturday appearance in the RMAC Championship game will be its first championship berth since 2009.