|Posted March 24, 2009|
ThunderWolves rebound, sweep Grand Canyon
PHOENIX, Ariz. - If last weekend's series vs. New Mexico Highlands was the Pack hitting rock bottom, Tuesday's road doubleheader sweep at Grand Canyon was the Pack brushing the dust off and getting back on the horse.
CSU-Pueblo put together one of its most complete wins of the season, claiming a 21-3 win in game one before preserving the sweep with a 14-8 win in the nightcap.
The ThunderWolves, still reeling from losing three of four to New Mexico Highlands over the weekend, and cashing much of its bullpen and starting pitchers, put together an admirable piecemeal effort as the staff bounced back to form.
Behind the first start of the season by middle reliever Nate Perlitsch (Jr., Thousand Oaks, Calif.), who allowed two runs, none earned, through four innings of work, the Pack bats teed off, helped to give its beleaguered staff the composure it needed to rebound.
CSU-Pueblo roared to a 7-0 lead after three innings, headlined by a two-run triple by Matt Wismann (Sr., Palo Alto, Calif.) during a five-run third. The advantage was widened by a base-clearing three-run double by Dan Ninomiya (Jr., Woodinville, Wash.) in the fifth, as the flood gates opened.
By the time the Pack relievers took over, allowing just one run in three combined innings, CSU-Pueblo had a 12-2 lead. Before the smoke had cleared, the Pack bats had unleashed a season-high 24 hits on the Lopes.
In game two, the pace was more that of an endurance trial. CSU-Pueblo jumped out to a 6-0 lead, thanks largely to a three-run base-clearing triple by the RMAC's current batting leader, Jason Fobes (Sr., Longmont, Colo.). But Grand Canyon kept pace, trimming the Pack's advantage to 6-5 after three innings, and remaining in contention to take the lead most of the game.
Pack relievers took over the game in the third inning, as normal Friday night starter Mario Mattivi (Sr., Pueblo, Colo.) earned his sixth win of the season after pitching 1-2/3 innings of effective ball. He was followed by Dustin Timmins (Sr., Alamosa, Colo.), the normal number-two starter, who was lights out in two inning of relief work, striking out one and not allowing any Lope hitters to reach base.
With CSU-Pueblo's sweep, the Pack will bring its 23-8 mark into the showdown of the season vs. Mesa State at Grand Junction. CSU-Pueblo, which dropped out of the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll this week but remained ranked 17th in the nation in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Assocation poll, will face down with the Mavericks, the leading team in the RMAC and ranked third in the nation in both the CBN and NCBWA polls.