May 5, 2010

ThunderWolves fall to UNK, head to losers' bracket

RMAC Quarterfinal: #2 Nebraska-Kearney 5, #5 CSU-Pueblo 1

KEARNEY, Neb. - For the second consecutive season, Nebraska-Kearney has sent CSU-Pueblo to the losers' bracket in the RMAC Tournament as the Pack fell 5-1 to the Lopers in Kearney Wednesday.

Looking at the bright side, CSU-Pueblo is hoping to turn the loss around and go on the same path it took to last season's RMAC Tournament championship - sweeping through the losers' bracket to the RMAC title.

However, the Pack will need to improve on their performance Wednesday, in which they mustered just four hits and plated one run as Loper ace Jared Loschen stymied the Pack.

The Lopers got all the insurance they needed in the first two innings, as they rocked Pack starter Cole Stephens (Jr., Amarillo, Tex.) for four runs in just 1-1/3 innings, jumping out to a 4-0 lead before the Pack got a chance to get comfortable.

The ThunderWolves languished until the 6th inning, when it got two runners on with only one out.  CSU-Pueblo was greeted with a gift when a passed ball scored Jake Orr (Jr., Eagle Mountain, Utah), but soon ended up in another good situation when, after a strikeout,  and a walk to Jon Proesl (Sr., California City, Calif.) that put runners on first and third with two out, CSU-Pueblo had a chance to cut the lead to one with a big hit.  But a ground out by Kyle Wager (Jr., Globe, Ariz.) ended the ThunderWolves' threat and undid the Pack's only legitimate chance to score runs in bunches.

The Pack's loss will send them to face Regis at 11 a.m. CST tomorrow in an elimination game.  CSU-Pueblo is hoping history is on its side, as they have only been ejected from the RMAC Tournament without a win once since 1994, when it lost two straight in 2007.  A win would send the Pack to an RMAC semifinal game in the double-elimination tournament.

If CSU-Pueblo and top-seeded New Mexico Highlands both win tomorrow, the Pack will face the loser of the Mesa State/Nebraska-Kearney game at 3 p.m. CST Friday.  If the Pack win along with a Metro State upset of Highlands, the ThunderWolves will battle Metro State at 3 p.m. CST Friday.