CSU-Pueblo head coach Stan Sanchez won his 900th career game Monday as the ThunderWolves moved ever closer to clinching the RMAC Plains Division title, splitting a doubleheader at Regis, losing 15-9 in the opener before winning 15-11 in the nightcap.
CSU-Pueblo, which holds a 7-1/2 game lead over Nebraska-Kearney in the Plains Division standings, finds its "magic number" (combined number of CSU-Pueblo wins and UNK losses) at just 1. The ThunderWolves are 31-14 overall and 21-10 in RMAC play.
Sanchez, who now has a career record of 564-335 in 16 seasons at CSU-Pueblo, has a combined 900 wins as a coach, including high school (104-37), and junior college (232-109).
The ThunderWolves' fortunes began on a sour note when starter Scott Harshman (Sr., Pueblo, Colo.) failed to hold a 9-2 lead as the Rangers dinged him for 10 runs, holding an 11-9 lead after six innings. CSU-Pueblo had led 9-2 after three-and-a-half innings.
But the Pack was able to get its vengeance in the nightcap, undoing a large Regis lead as they send Ranger starter Brennan Bonati to the showers. Regis lead 9-3 after three innings, but a seven-run fourth inning vaulted the Pack into the lead. The main culprit was Dan Ninomiya (Jr., Woodinville, Wash.), who launched his second grand slam of the season in the fourth, singlehandedly putting the Pack in front 10-9.
Designated hitter Matt Wismann (Sr., Palo Alto, Calif.), padded the score by ripping a pair of homers, including a two-run shot in the third inning and a three-run blast in the sixth inning, stretching the Pack lead to 13-8 after six innings. Wismann netted 5 RBI in the game.
Closer Jesus Hernandez (Sr., Tucson, Ariz.) was pushed into middle relief duty, taking over in the 3rd inning while trailing 9-3, and holding the Rangers to just two more hits over the final five innings. Hernandez improved to 2-3 on the season with the win.
CSU-Pueblo will go straight to the source this weekend in attempts to clinch the Plains Division title, heading to Nebraska-Kearney for a four-game set starting Friday. The ThunderWolves will take the division and secure at least a two-seed in the RMAC Tournament, being held in Pueblo May 6-9, with just one win.