|Posted April 4, 2008|
Pack pitching steps up, enables doubleheader sweep
By Nate Pepper
Dustin Timmins and Jesus Hernandez pitched lights out as the Thunderwolves won the first two games of the four-game series with the Colorado Christian Cougars Friday at Rawlings Field.
Timmins and Hernandez both put on a pitching clinic during the Friday doubleheader, holding the Cougars to a combined three runs on nine hits.
"Our team is changing, and it starts with the pitching staff," ThunderWolves coach Stan Sanchez said. "We really got going with Joe Proto's performance (Wednesday vs. New Mexico State), and that makes three strong pitching performances in a row for us."
Timmins earned the win in the first contest, giving up only two hits and one run on seven innings of work, striking out four and leading the Pack to a 9-2 win.
Jesus Hernandez picked up the win in the second game as he pitched a four-hit, one-run complete game as the ThunderWolves won 10-1 in a seven-inning contest.
Pitching has been a sore spot for the Pack, which has had several injuries and changes to the staff to work around.
"We haven't had consistent pitching since the beginning of the season, and we didn't have that at all during March," said Sanchez. "That turns the entire team around, both offensively and defensively."
The Pack has turned red hot in the hitting department ever since they outhit New Mexico State earlier in the week. The Thunderwolves scored a combined 19 runs and 28 hits in the two games Friday as their pitching and defense kept the Cougars quiet all day long.
Rutger Bovard and Jason Fobes led the Pack in hitting. Bovard had three singles and a triple during the first game as he went 4-for-5 from the plate. Fobes was big for the Pack in the second game of the doubleheader, jacking his first collegiate career home run and bringing in two RBIs on a bases-loaded double in the bottom of the sixth inning.
"Jason knows how to use the flag in this park to his advantage," Sanchez said. "Both in his home run and his triple in the first game, he makes it seem like there are only six guys out there instead of eight, because he knows how to find the holes in the defense."
After the Thunderwolves found themselves up by four runs in the sixth inning of game one, and they didn't stop swinging the bats. The bottom of the seventh inning was a big one for the Pack as Johnny Zepeda and Fobes hit back-to-back triples helping to score five runs.
The second game was busted open in the bottom of the fifth inning when Thomas Cordova unleashed a two-run home run to left center. A couple batters later, Fobes came up and hit his first career homer to give the Thunderwolves a five-run lead.
The Pack's sweep Friday helps the ThunderWolves in a tense playoff race in which they were tied with New Mexico Highlands for the sixth and final playoff spot before the start of Friday's games. The Pack will finish up their four-game set with Colorado Christian with another doubleheader Saturday, with the first pitch coming at 1 p.m.