GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (May 9, 2018) – Three home runs and 17 hits led Colorado State University-Pueblo Baseball to an 11-5 win over University of Colorado Colorado Springs in the first game of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament Wednesday at Suplizio Field.
Andrew Nero (Jr., Huntington Beach, Calif.) earned the win for the Pack, improving to 2-0 on the year. Nero entered the game in the third inning with the Pack trailing 4-2. The righty would shutout the Mountain Lions for the next 5.2 innings. He allowed just three hits. Nero would not walk anyone. The ThunderWolves did not issue a walk to the Mountain Lions Wednesday.
Nero lowered his ERA to 0.96 He has not allowed a run in his last eight appearances. Nero's 5.2 innings pitched was the longest outing of his Pack career.
Zach Hoffman (Sr., Salt Lake City, Utah) had four of the Pack's 17 hits. Hoffman went 4-for-6. He also crushed his third home run of the season. This homer gave the Pack a 5-4 lead in the fourth. Hoffman scored three runs and knocked in two runs.
Gilbert Sauceda (Jr., Indio, Calif.) posted two hits in five trips. He launched a three-run shot in the eighth inning. Sauceda would finish with a team-high four RBIs.
Jorge Duarte (Sr., San Luis, Ariz.) belted three hits in five plate appearances. Duarte would also score three times. He also drove in a run.
One day after being named Second Team All-RMAC, Tanner Fuhrmann (Sr., Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Dakota Popham (Jr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) each had two hits. Fuhrmann smashed his second home run of the season. Popham had two RBIs and swatted his RMAC leading 22nd double of the year.
In the second inning, the Pack fell behind. The Mountain Lions put up four runs in the bottom of the second to take a 4-0 lead and chase Pack starter Jason Lighthall (Sr., Littleton, Colo.).
The Pack answered in the top of the third. Duarte and Hoffman reached on back-to-back singles to lead off the inning. Duarte came around on a Popham sacrifice fly. Hoffman crossed home on a Sauceda single as the Pack trimmed the lead to 4-2.
Down two, the Pack turned to Nero in the bottom of the third. He would not let a Mountain Lion touch home during his watch. In the top of the fourth, the Pack continued to fight back. Duarte drove in Mason Krueger (Jr., Draper, Utah) to make it a one-run game.
One batter later, Hoffman launched a towering home run to bring in Duarte to give the Pack its first lead of the day. Jake Boyd (Sr., Salt Lake City, Utah) singled and stole a base. He would score on a Popham single to make it 6-4 after four.
Fuhrmann slugged his solo shot in the fifth to make it 7-4. The Pack would add to its lead in the eighth when they sent 10 men to the plate. Sauceda smacked his third home run of the year to give the Pack a 10-4 lead.
Krueger drove in pinch runner Mason Telander (Sr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) to put CSU-Pueblo in front 11-4 after eight. The Mountain Lions got a solo shot in the ninth, but it would not be enough as the Pack prevailed 11-5.
The Pack will now advance to the winners bracket of the RMAC Tournament. They will play the No.2 seeded Colorado School of Mines Orediggers Thursday at 7 p.m. at Suplizio Field.
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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics