Pack edged by Cougars 8-7 in hard fought series opener

Pack edged by Cougars 8-7 in hard fought series opener

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (April 13, 2017) Colorado State University-Pueblo Baseball rallied three times to tie its game Thursday against Colorado Christian University, but the Pack could not take the lead as they fell to the Cougars 8-7.

The Pack slipped to 16-19 with a 10-11 record in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference games. Colorado Christian improved to 14-21 (8-13 RMAC) thanks to an eighth inning balk call that proved to be the difference in the game.

Leadoff hitter Zach Hoffman (Jr., South Jordan, Utah) paced the Pack's offense with a 3-for-5 day at the dish. Hoffman slugged two doubles and scored a pair of runs. He also knocked in two runs.

Jason Lighthall (Jr., Littleton, Colo.) and Chris Devery (Jr., Saugus, Calif.) both went 3-for-4 with a double. Lighthall also drove in a run for the Pack. 

David Gunther (Sr., Albuquerque, N.M.) also belted a pair of double. Gunther posted a 2-for-5 showing with a RBI.

After the Cougars got the game's first run in the second, the Pack would tie the game in third. Hoffman would score on a Brandon Castaneda (Sr., Azusa, Calif.) sacrifice fly.

The Cougars jumped out to a 4-1 lead thanks to a three-run third inning. CSU-Pueblo fought back in the sixth. Castaneda scored on a Derron Davis (Sr., Las Vegas, Nev.) groundout. Ambrose Romero (Jr., Albuquerque, N.M.) plated Gilbert Sauceda (So., Indio, Calif.) with a single. Lighthall knocked in Romero with his RBI double to knot the game at four. Sauceda finished the day 2-for-5.

In the seventh inning, the Cougars reclaimed the lead with three more runs to go up 7-4. They would chase Pack starter Kyle Lazcano (Sr., Anaheim Hills, Calif.) midway through the seventh. The reigning RMAC Pitcher of the Week allowed five earned runs, nine hits, and two walks in 6.1 innings. Lazcano struck out five in a no decision.

Once again, the Pack retaliated in the eighth. Hoffman knocked in pinch runners Jake Boyd (Jr., Salt Lake City, Utah) and Justin Willman (Sr., Falcon, Colo.) with a double. Gunther chased home Hoffman with a double of his own.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Pack turned to closer Bret Ricklefs (Jr., Topeka, Kan.) who promptly retired the first two batters he faced. However, an error and a pair of walks allowed the Cougars to load the bases. With the bases juiced, Ricklefs was called for a balk the brought in the winning run as the Cougars pulled away with an 8-7 win.

The Pack and Cougars will compete in a doubleheader Friday starting at 12 p.m. CSU-Pueblo and Colorado Christian will meet in the series finale Saturday at 1 p.m.

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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.