|Posted March 25, 2012|
Pack get out the brooms, completes sweep of Highlands
Pack now suddenly a game out of first place after capturing eighth straight win.
PUEBLO, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - March 25, 2012) - Following the ThunderWolves' 8-6 series sweep-clinching win over No. 18 New Mexico Highlands Sunday, CSU-Pueblo head baseball coach, Stan Sanchez, put his team's accomplishment in no uncertain terms.
It was one of the biggest series sweeps in the baseball program's history.
"Since I've been here [since 1994], I can only think of two sweeps that were bigger than what this team accomplished this weekend," Sanchez said.
The two he is referring to - CSU-Pueblo's sweep of Colorado Mesa in 1994, which helped put the Pack on the national map in just its first season of competition in NCAA Division II and the 2004 sweep of Colorado Mesa, which helped the ThunderWolves solidify its spot as the second-ranked team in the nation at that time.
"They came in to this series with so much going in their direction," Sanchez said. "Now they've lost everything they've built and we've gained so much. It's huge that all of this happened in just one weekend."
"Now the bullseye is on our backs," Sanchez said of his squad, which is now just one game out of first place in the RMAC, trailing Colorado Mesa. The ThunderWolves are now tied with New Mexico Highlands at 12-4 in RMAC play. "We need to take care of business from here on out, starting with Kearney [next weekend]."
The way the Pack accomplished the feat of downing Highlands made it all the more remarkable.
Sunday, CSU-Pueblo held the Cowboys scoreless for the first seven innings behind an excellent performance from Sean Gavin (Jr., Canyon Country, Calif.), who tossed 6-1/3 innings of two-hit, shutout ball, striking out seven Cowboys in the process.
Gavin's effort marked 15 straight innings of shutout ball that the ThunderWolves threw at New Mexico Highlands, which entered the weekend ranked 10th in the nation in hitting.
While Gavin helped hold down the mound, the Pack offense again lit up Highlands pitchers, connecting on 13 hits. Chris Schindler (Sr., San Mateo, Calif.) connected on his third home run of the weekend while Jovany Valenzuela (Jr., Tucson, Ariz.) turned in the most memorable bomb of the game, delivering a towering solo homer in the 7th inning.
CSU-Pueblo, now riding an eight-game win streak and nine-game RMAC win streak, takes its show on the road to Nebraska-Kearney, which will try to slow the ThunderWolves dead in their tracks next weekend.