|Posted April 19, 2008|
Pack gets much-needed sweep of Highlands
For the ThunderWolves, who cam, e into Saturday's doubleheader against New Mexico Highlands tied for the final playoff spot in the RMAC, each game remaining in the 2008 season will be like playoff games. Saturday, the Pack scored wins in that playoff atmosphere.
The ThunderWolves upended the Cowgirls 9-1 in the first game of the day, and scored a come-from-behind 6-4 win to secure the doubleheader sweep and earn two huge wins in the race for an RMAC playoff spot.
The Pack avoided a split by putting up four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, taking advantage of defensive miscues by the Cowgirls to advance runners and undoing a 4-2 deficit.
After Bonita Nuanez reached base on a leadoff walk in the sixth, pinch-hitter Kelsey Swanberg reached base when a sacrifice bunt bounced off the glove of Highlands first baseman Karlee Trione, giving the Pack runners on first and second with no outs.
After a sacrifice bunt by Brittany Devens, a groundball hit to the pitcher by Kelly Purcell resulted in an infield single after Cowgirl pitcher Dominique Gonzales tried to cut down the lead-runner at third but missed high. From there, it was the job of the top of the Pack's order to bring them all in.
Katie Johnson logged an RBI after getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Janine Tyler tied the game at four with a RBI single down the leftfield line. Ashley Aldrich gave the Pack the lead for good after firing a single to rightfield, scoring two more.
The Pack improved to 16-16 in conference play with the sweep, needing the wins to keep their heads above water in the playoff race.
The ThunderWolves, who came in to Saturday tied with Nebraska-Kearney for the final playoff spot, were only leading the Lopers in the playoff race by virtue of scoring a sweep earlier in the season. Saturday's sweep as Nebraska-Kearney faced one of the conference's top teams, Metro State, could provide some good padding.
"We are approaching each game like it could be our last and are playing with a sense of urgency," Pack coach Shane Showalter said. "We've been playing up and down all season long and haven't really been able to get in a groove, and hopefully this is the time we could go on a little run."
The ThunderWolves will try to repeat Saturday's exploits on Sunday when they close out the series with Highlands with another doubleheader, beginning at 11 a.m. at the Rawlings Sports Complex.