|Posted April 29, 2011|
2,500-plus watch Pack down Mesa State
ThunderWolves claim second straight 'Pack the Park' win against archrival
PUEBLO, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - Apr. 29, 2011) - In front of a crowd of over 2,500-strong raucous fans, CSU-Pueblo performed well on the big stage, riding a strong pitching performance by Cole Stephens (Sr., Amarillo, Tex.) to take down archrival and divisional foe, Mesa State, 9-4 in the 7th annual "Pack the Park" game at Pueblo's Runyon Sports Complex.
Stephens shined on the synthetic turf mound at Hobbs Field, the main diamond at Runyon, striking out eight Mavericks over eight innings, scattering 10 hits but only giving up three extra-base knocks.
Most importantly, he pitched himself out of jams, stranding seven runners on base and luring the Mavericks into two inning-ending double plays.
Offensively, the Pack was wildly frustrated early, leaving the bases loaded in each of the first three innings and having only one run to show for it.
But in the fourth inning, the ThunderWolves finally broke through. Again in a two-out, bases-loaded situation, Joe Manders (Sr., Louisville, Colo.) ended the rough patch by plating three runs on a double to right centerfield, giving the Pack a 4-0 lead.
From there, the ThunderWolves were loose and casually added insurance runs. The biggest came in the 7th inning as Kyle Wager (Sr., Globe, Ariz.) blasted a two-run bomb over the centerfield fence, which gave the Pack an 8-2 lead and all but cemented the win.
The ThunderWolves' victory, its second straight "Pack the Park" win, has significant playoff implications as the ThunderWolves knock Mesa State out of first place in the RMAC Mountain Division standings and are currently 2-1/2 games behind first place Metro State. It also puts the Pack's "magic number" for clinching an RMAC playoff spot at two.
CSU-Pueblo will continue its crucial four-game set back at their familiar stomping grounds of Rawlings Field on the CSU-Pueblo campus with game time slated for 1 p.m.
About 'Pack the Park': The "Pack the Park" baseball game and "Art and Lorraine Gonzales Youth Baseball Clinic" is an annual community engagement event by the CSU-Pueblo Department of Athletics. The event includes a free youth clinic for Southern Colorado area youth baseball teams, treating the participants to baseball instruction from ThunderWolf baseball players as well as a free meal and giveaways of memorabilia every half-inning.
The event has taken place every year since 2005, with the first "Pack the Park" game breaking an NCAA Division II attendance record with 3,683 fans.
The 2011 "Art and Lorraine Gonzales Youth Baseball Clinic" attracted 650 area youngsters, making it the largest amount of participants in the clinic since the event's inception.