PUEBLO, Colo. (March 5, 2017) – In a closely contested extra innings struggle, Colorado State University-Pueblo Baseball could not put away Metro State University of Denver Sunday. The Roadrunners rallied to defeat the Pack 12-9 in 11 innings at Rawlings Field.
As a result of Sunday's game, the two teams split their four-game Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opening series. CSU-Pueblo holds an 8-10 record overall, while MSU Denver stands 6-8.
Both sides had numerous missed opportunities as the Pack left 18 men on base. The Roadrunners stranded 16 runners.
Mitch Doucette (Sr., Brockville, Ontario, Canada) came through with a pair of clutch hits in three at bats. He drove in a career-high three runs. Doucette also drew a walk for the Pack.
RMAC Player of the Week Brandon Castaneda (Sr., Azusa, Calif.) collected two hits and also walked twice in his seven trips to the dish. Castaneda scored twice and drove in a run.
The bats came alive in the first inning for the Pack. Zach Hoffman (Jr., South Jordan, Utah) walked and then stole second. He would score on a Ambrose Romero(Jr., Albuquerque, N.M.) groundout to give the Pack an early 1-0 lead. Hoffman finished the day 3-for-6 with walk and two runs scored.
In the third inning, the Pack tacked on another run. Gilbert Sauceda (So., Indio, Calif.) walked. He came around to score on a Castaneda single that made it 2-0.
MSU Denver took the lead in the fourth with three runs to go up 3-2. CSU-Pueblo quickly tied it in the bottom of the fourth. Jorge Duarte (Jr., San Luis, Ariz.) led off the inning with a double. Doucette drove in Duarte with a RBI groundout to knot the game at three.
The Roadrunners chased Pack starter Colton Follett (Jr., Simi Valley, Calif.) in the fifth with a pair of runs to go up 5-3. Follett lasted 4.2 innings, surrendering 11 hits and five runs, all of which were earned.
CSU-Pueblo kept the pace in its half of the fifth. With the bases loaded, Doucette smacked a single through the left side of the infield. Jason Lighthall (Jr., Littleton, Colo.) and Castaneda came around to tie the game at five.
The Pack reclaimed the lead in the sixth. Sauceda slugged a single that brought in Hoffman. Hoffman's second run of the day gave the Pack a 6-5 edge.
In the eighth inning the Pack added a little insurance. Romero clobbered a pitch over the right field fence for his second dinger of the season. Romero finished the day 3-fo-7 with two RBIs.
Bret Ricklefs (Jr., Topeka, Kan.) had entered the game for Follett. He tried to close out the Roadrunners, but after 3.2 innings of scoreless work, could not get the final two outs. The Pack turned to Kyle Peeler (Sr., Las Vegas, Nev.) to get the save with a one-run lead and two runners aboard for MSU Denver. Peeler struck out the first Roadrunner he faced. Down to their final out, the Roadrunners walked and hit a two-run single to take an 8-7 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Two quick outs had the Pack in danger of losing the game. Doucette stepped in as the Pack's last chance. He kept the game alive with a single, before being lifted for a pinch runner. Pinch hitter, Chris Devery (Jr., Saugus, Calif.) followed with a single of his own. Hoffman delivered a knock to bring in pinch runner Jake Boyd (Jr., Salt Lake City, Utah) and force extra innings.
After MSU Denver scored one in the top of the 10th, the Pack again had to rally. Down to their final out again, Castaneda came through with a single to keep the Pack alive. Derron Davis (Jr., Las Vegas, Nev.) singled and Duarte walked to load the bases.
With the bases loaded, the Pack turned to Spencer Daniels (Sr., Saugus, Calif.). Daniels quickly faced a two strike count, but was able to battle back and work a RBI walk that tied the game nine and sent the contest to an 11th inning.
MSU Denver's Cale O'Donnell took over in the 11th. O'Donnell hit a two-run home run that gave the Roadrunners an 11-9 lead. They would add one more to carry a three-run cushion into the bottom of the 11th.
O ' Donnell moved from first base to the mound. Although the Pack would load the bases, O'Donnell got Davis to fly out and end the game. He earned the save and gave Jared Roley the win with his home run. Sean Halsey (Jr., Arvada, Colo.) took the loss for the Pack.
CSU-Pueblo will continue its eight-game homestand Friday when they face Colorado School of Mines at Rawlings Field.
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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.