GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - In a do-or-die game, Pack hurler Dillon Meaney (Jr., Westminster, Colo.) went above and beyond the call of duty, throwing a complete-game 8-hitter as the ThunderWolves scored a 13-4 win over second-seeded Minnesota State Friday in the NCAA Central Regionals.
With the win, CSU-Pueblo will play at 4 p.m. Saturday vs. Southwest Minnesota State. If the Pack wins that game, they will have to play the 7 p.m. game Saturday, as well, to advance to the final day of competition on Sunday.
Meaney turned in his second-straight complete game performance in a tournament game, striking out five while walking five and allowing just three earned runs. His biggest contribution, though, were big innings in the third and fifth frame.
Meaney faces bases loaded situations with no outs in both innings, and in both, he allowed just one run in each inning, diffusing the Mavericks' offense and keeping the lead squarely in the Pack's hands.
Offensively, the Pack got its early cushion on a two-run shot over the leftfield wall by Mark Sayas (Jr., Las Vegas, Nev.), his second homer in as many games at regionals, giving CSU-Pueblo a 3-0 lead.
Minnesota State would get as close as 4-3 before the ThunderWolves hung a five on the Mavericks in the sixth inning, doing so the old-fashioned way - playing small ball and manufacturing runs.
Entering the inning with just three hits to their credit, CSU-Pueblo recorded five hits in the sixth, all singles. The top was blown off when catcher Ryan Wager (Sr., San Bernardino, Calif.) ripped a two-run single, which was enough to make Minnesota State dead in the water.
The Pack's 13 runs in the game marks the most it had ever had in a win at regionals (CSU-Pueblo lost 19-17 to Central Oklahoma in 1994). It also marks the first time in school history that the ThunderWolves had come back to win a regional game after opening the tournament with a loss.