|Posted May 9, 2009|
ThunderWolves within reach of Central Region title
Pack knocks out Mines, will take on Mesa State Sunday
DENVER, Colo. (May 9, 2009) - The ThunderWolves' unlikely run at the NCAA Division II Central Regional tournament continued Saturday as the Pack move to within one game of the NCAA Division II Central Regional championship game after rebounding from an early 8-3 loss to Mesa State before eliminating Colorado School of Mines with a 3-1 win in the day's late game.
The Pack gave up nine hits to Mesa State in the early game, only holding a lead into the third-inning until the hot Mavericks took over. They put up three runs in the fourth inning to take a 4-2 lead over the ThunderWolves and never looked back.
But the Pack, facing elimination in a rematch of Friday's game with Colorado School of Mines, wrested victory from the jaws of defeat.
In a pitchers' dual between Mines' Dani Murphy and CSU-Pueblo's Justine Bosio (Fr., Santa Barbara, Calif.), both teams combined for just nine hits through five innings as Mines held a slim 1-0 lead.
But in the 6th inning, the Pack began a rally. Ashley Aldrich (Sr., Sahuarita, Ariz.) and Kayla Dionese (Fr., Pueblo, Colo.) started the inning off right with back-to-back singles, putting two runners on with none out, prompting Mines' Murphy to be yanked from the circle in favor of Katie Kocman. Kocman promptly walked Bo Nuanez (Jr., Lafayette, Colo.), loading the bases with none out.
Kocman initally made progress, prompting a strikeout and infield fly out to the pitcher. But she fumbled again, walking Kelsey Swanberg (Sr., Arvada, Colo.) with the bases loaded, tying the game at 1-1.
But the Pack's senior leadership eventually prevailed in the person of Katie Johnson (Sr., Bonney Lake, Wash.), who laced a bloom a single to rightfield, scoring two runs and launching the Pack into a 3-1 lead heading to the bottom of the 7th. Bosio closed out the Orediggers by shrugging off two Mines singles with two outs to ice the victory.
CSU-Pueblo will face Mesa State Sunday at noon at Regis University in what could be a possible Central Region championship game. Mesa State has not lost in the four-game double-elimination regional, while CSU-Pueblo has lost once. The region's second seed, Metro State, was bounced out Saturday morning, while third-seeded Colorado School of Mines became the second team eliminated.
The Central Region was split into two sites, the first being hosted by top-seeded Winona State and the second hosted by Metro State. Winona State and fourth-seeded Wayne State are remaining in that sub-region.
The winner of each split region will face off in a best-of-three "super regional" May 15 and 16. The winners of each "super regional" will advance to the NCAA Division II Softball World Series in Salem, Va. May 21-25.