Rangers, Thunderwolves Split Friday Twin Bill
Denver, Colo.: (By Dylan Docker) In an effort to avoid the inclement weather scheduled to arrive this weekend, Sunday's game between the Rangers and Thunderwolves was moved to Friday afternoon as game one of a doubleheader. Regis (17-17, 12-14 RMAC) took care of business in game one, but CSU-Pueblo (23-13, 20-6 RMAC) evened the series with effective starting pitching in the nightcap.
Game One – CSU-Pueblo 2, Regis 11
Senior right-hander Charlie Henderson took the ball for Regis in game one. CSU-Pueblo countered with sophomore righty Mike Fabrizio.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, then scored another pair of runs on a fielding error and an RBI double from junior second baseman Nick Billinger.
The Thunderwolves cracked the scoreboard with a run in the top of the fourth, but the Rangers opened up their lead in the home half when Billinger plated another pair of runs with his second double of the game. Billinger later scored on an RBI single from sophomore designated hitter Tony Piazza, followed by another RBI hit from sophomore right fielder Steven Brault.
With four runs in the inning, Regis took a commanding 7-1 lead in the fourth.
Brault picked up a sacrifice fly in the sixth, junior center fielder Ryan Eustice drove in two runs with a double in the seventh, and Piazza scored on a wild pitch in the eighth en route to the convincing victory for the home team.
Regis took game one with 11 runs on 13 hits and one error. CSU-Pueblo scored two runs on five hits and two errors in the loss. The 11 runs was more than enough for Henderson (3-3), who pitched a complete game with two earned runs allowed and nine strikeouts. Fabrizio (6-3) took the loss for the Thunderwolves after allowing eight runs (three earned) in six innings of work.
Billinger finished 3-for-5 with three RBI's and three runs scored. Piazza went 4-for-4, picking up an RBI and a run scored in the process.
Eustice and junior catcher Nano Jacobsen each collected a pair of hits. Eustice drove in a pair and scored a run in four at-bats, while Jacobsen scored two runs in five plate appearances.
Game Two – CSU-Pueblo 6, Regis 4
Right-handed senior Mike McElreath got the start for the Rangers in the nightcap. Junior right-hander Jeremiah Struble took the hill for the Thunderwolves.
Senior left-fielder Alex Haag put the Rangers on top in the first with an RBI hit. Haag later scored on another error by the Thunderwolves, giving the home team an early 2-0 lead.
Chris Schindler, who homered in game one, hit another solo shot over the left field wall to put the Thunderwolves on the board in the second inning. CSU-Pueblo would then score an unearned run with two outs to tie the game at two.
The visitors then took a 5-2 lead with three runs in the fourth inning. Sophomore righty Kevin Ross came on to pitch the sixth inning for the Rangers, relieving McElreath after five innings, five runs (four earned) allowed, and six strikeouts.
Ross yielded a run in the sixth to push the CSU-Pueblo advantage to four. Struble pitched into the seventh inning when the Rangers made their final push.
Pinch runner Jay Rollinson scored on a wild pitch, then Billinger drove in another run with his third RBI double of the day. However, Struble was able to put down the rally and preserve the win for the Thunderwolves.
CSU-Pueblo salvaged the doubleheader split with six runs on 14 hits and one error. Regis fell with four runs on five hits and two errors. Struble (5-4) was credited with the win for his complete-game effort, while McElreath (5-3) took the loss for Regis.
Junior shortstop Cody Hastings went 1-for-2 with a run scored and a walk. Eustice finished with a hit, a walk, and a run scored in four plate appearances.
The Rangers will try to beat the weather tomorrow, April 14 with a doubleheader to conclude the four-game series. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. Game two will begin at approximately 3:00 p.m.