GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (May 10, 2017) – A see-saw battle tilted away from the No. 4 seed Colorado State University-Pueblo Baseball as the Pack dropped a 12-11 final in 10 innings to No. 3 seed Metro State University Denver in the opening round of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament.
With the Pack down to their final out and trailing by three in the ninth inning, Zach Hoffman (Jr., South Jordan, Utah.) crushed a three-run home run to tie the game and eventually force extra innings. Hoffman finished the day 3-for-5 with a walk. He scored three times and drove in four runs. All three of Hoffman's hits went for extra bases as he hit his second home run and added two doubled.
Senior David Gunther (Albuquerque, N.M) went 2-for-6 with a pair of doubles. Gunther plated two runs and scored three times.
First Baseman, Gilbert Sauceda (So., Indio, Calif.) slugged four hits, going 4-for-5 with a walk. Sauceda also knocked in a pair of runs.
Brandon Castaneda (Sr., Azusa, Calif.) collected three hits in five trips. He scored a run and tied the team lead for RBIs at 39.
Spencer Daniels (Sr., Saugus, Calif.) Derron Davis (Sr., Las Vegas, Nev.), Chris Devery (Jr., Saugus, Calif.) each had two hits. Davis and Devery each collected a RBI, while Daniels and Davis scored a run each. Davis also stole base.
The Pack jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the top of the third. MSU Denver got on the board in the bottom half with run to cut the Pack's lead to 3-1 after three.
Three more runs came across for the Pack in the fourth. Hoffman drove in Ambrose Romero (Jr., Albuquerque, N.M.) with a double. Gunther followed with a double of his own. He would score on a Sauceda single to make it 6-1.
The bottom of the fourth turned into a nightmare for the Pack. MSU Denver scored six runs and sent 12 men to the plate. A grand slam from Jake Ekman tied the game at six and would force Kyle Lazcano (Sr., Anaheim Hills, Calif.) to exit the contest. The Roadrunners would hold a 7-6 advantage after four. Lazcano finished with five strikeouts and seven runs allowed in 3.2 innings of work.
CSU-Pueblo tied it in its half of the fifth. Castaneda came home on a Davis base hit to even the game at seven.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Pack reclaimed the lead. Devery drove in Gunther with a fly ball to center field to make it 8-7.
CSU-Pueblo's lead did not last long. The Roadrunners scored two in their half of the sixth to vault in front 9-8. Another Ekman homer in the seventh made it 10-8. They would add an insurance run in the eighth to hold an 11-8 lead heading into the ninth.
Down to their final three outs, the Pack answered. Davis lead off the inning with a single. Two batters later Jorge Duarte (Jr., San Luis, Ariz.) drew a walk. Roadrunner closer, Cale O' Donnell would get the next out. Facing his team's final out and two strikes, Hoffman unloaded on an O'Donnell pitch and blasted it over the right-center field fence to tie the game at 11.
Colton Follett (Jr., Simi Valley, Calif.) worked out of trouble in the bottom of the ninth. Castaneda turned a double play to give the Pack another chance.
Sauceda led off the 10th with his fourth hit of the game. However, the ThunderWolves could not get the go-ahead run in scoring position.
In the bottom of the 10th, the Roadrunners got a leadoff single from Joe Thurston. O'Donnell, who started the game at first base, came through with a one-out single to score Thurston and give the Roadrunners a 12-11 walk off win.
O'Donnell earned the win to move to 2-1. Follett took the loss going to 0-3.
With their loss, the ThunderWolves slipped to 23-25 overall. They will play the winner of the No.1 Colorado Mesa University vs. No. 6 Regis University matchup at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the second round of this double elimination Tournament.
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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.