March 6, 2010

Hot Pack arms complete sweep of Kearney

Game 1: CSU-Pueblo 10, Nebraska-Kearney 4
Game 2: CSU-Pueblo 4, Nebraska-Kearney 0

PUEBLO, Colo. - In the game of baseball, strong pitching cures any number of ills.

Saturday, the ThunderWolf arms became the best pain-killer for a Pack team seeking to put together its first three-game win streak of the 2010 season, only allowing a total of eight hits across both ends of a doubleheader, securing a sweep with 10-4 and 4-0 wins.

The doubleheader sweep gave all three games of the weekend series against the Lopers to the ThunderWolves.

The sweep served as a day of renewal for two Pack pitchers that both were yanked from losses last weekend with infinity ERAs while not securing one out.

The day started with an outstanding performance from embattled pitcher Kevin McDonald (Sr., Northglenn, Colo.).  McDonald, who entered Saturday with a 12.60 ERA, fresh off last weekend's relief outing where he unceremoniously allowed one run without even recording an out, out-dueled arguably the RMAC's top pitcher in current conference win-leader, Jared Loschen, in an inspiring bounceback performance. 

McDonald went 6-1/3 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out seven Loper batters.  Additionally, coming into the Saturday allowing nearly one walk per inning, McDonald allowed no free passes to the Lopers. 

Offensively, McDonald was helped out by an outstanding day by the meat of the Pack's lineup, led by Jon Proesl (Sr., California City, Calif.), who went 3-for-5 for a career-high 5 RBI.  Mark Sayas (Sr., Las Vegas, Nev.) lended a hand with a 3-for-4 day, falling a home run shy of the cycle, while Zach Hoffman (Sr., Pueblo West, Colo.) went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI.

As impressive as McDonald's outing was in the 10-4 win, the follow-up performance by Joaquin Montano (Jr., Pueblo, Colo.) in the nightcap.  Montano, who allowed five runs during his start against Regis last inning without getting a single out, rectified his poor outing with a gem Saturday.  Montano tossed six innings of two-hit ball, striking out seven Loper batters.  The only two hits he allowed were singles.

Both McDonald and Montano had the luxury of handing the ball to the Pack's new closer, Cole Stephens (Sr., Amarillo, Tex.).  Stephens, a transfer from Division-I Texas Tech who joined the ThunderWolves last season, but was unable to find his way to the mound because of injuries, lived up the billing in his first ThunderWolf outing.  Stephens closed out both games, earning the save in the Pack's 10-4 win, getting four one-pitch outs in a pair of perfect appearances. 

The doubleheader sweep puts the Pack at 9-7 on the season and 3-2 in RMAC play while Nebraska-Kearney falls to 9-7 with a 2-3 RMAC record. 

CSU-Pueblo will continue its home stand next weekend when it hosts Colorado School of Mines for a three-game set.