Denver, Colo.: (By Dylan Docker) The Rangers and Thunderwolves played their second doubleheader in as many days on Saturday at the Regis baseball field.
CSU-Pueblo (23-15, 20-8 RMAC) entered the weekend series as one of top teams in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, but the Regis (19-17, 14-14) bats caught fire to lift the home team to a doubleheader sweep and their third consecutive series victory.
Game One – CSU-Pueblo 4, Regis 7
Right-handed junior Aaron Harms took the ball for Regis in the morning game. He opposed CSU-Pueblo right-hander Sean Gavin.
The Rangers exploded for seven runs on seven hits in the second inning. Regis sent twelve hitters to the plate, scored six runs with two outs, and chased Gavin after 1 2/3 innings.
Harms kept the Thunderwolves off the board until the sixth inning when junior Jovany Valenzuela hit a two-run home run over the right field wall. The visitors then strung together a series of two-out singles to push across another run, forcing Regis to make a move to the bullpen.
Sophomore righty Alec Mielnicki relieved Harms after 5 2/3 innings, four runs (three earned) allowed, and six strikeouts. A passed ball following the pitching change gave CSU-Pueblo another run, trimming the Regis advantage to 7-4.
Right-handed junior Hunter Aronson came on to pitch in the eighth and recorded the final six outs, securing the victory for the Rangers in game three.
Regis scored seven runs on 11 hits and committed no defense errors. CSU-Pueblo lost with four runs on 10 hits and two errors. Harms (3-1) picked up the win for his solid effort, while Gavin (4-1) was charged with the loss for the Thunderwolves. Aronson (6) was credited with the six-out save for Regis.
Game Two – CSU-Pueblo 4, Regis 10
The Rangers turned to junior right-hander Kyle Mack in the nightcap. Right-handed junior Kyle Clemens got the game-four nod from the Thunderwolves.
CSU-Pueblo took an early lead with a run in the first inning, but Regis answered in the home half with an RBI single from senior left fielder Alex Haag. Eustice then provided a sacrifice fly in the second inning to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
The Thunderwolves went to the bullpen in the fifth inning, ending Clemens' outing after 4 1/3 innings. Junior southpaw Nick Flory entered the game but immediately struggled, walking the based loaded before giving up an RBI single to Brault.
With a late 3-1 deficit and the rain on its way, CSU-Pueblo brought in their second reliever of the inning. Junior righty Kyle Ginter entered with the bases loaded and one out to face sophomore pinch hitter John Tosches.
Tosches made the most of his opportunity by driving in two more runs with an RBI single. Brault came home on a wild pitch in the following at-bat, bringing senior third baseman Dave Holland to the plate with a chance to blow it open.
Holland came through with an RBI double and later scored on a throwing error. The Rangers picked up six total runs on only three hits in the fifth inning, capitalizing on three Thunderwolves errors to claim a permanent advantage.
The Thunderwolves scratched out some late runs, but another pair of runs on a double from sophomore first baseman Tony Piazza made sure the visitors would not come close again.
Regis won the game and the series with 10 runs on 10 hits and two errors. CSU-Pueblo dropped only their eighth RMAC contest of the year with four runs on five hits and five defensive errors. Mack (3-3) picked up the win with seven strikeouts over six innings of work. Clemens (4-2) was charged with the loss for CSU-Pueblo.
Haag was perfect at the plate in the nightcap, going 3-for-3 with a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored. Holland finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored as well.
Six different Ranger hitters collected RBI's in Saturday's evening game.
The Rangers, who trail the Cowboys by 5 ½ games for the Plains Division lead, will travel to New Mexico Highlands for a four-game series looking to pick up ground in the standings. The series begins Friday, April 20 with first pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m.