GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - CSU-Pueblo clinched a berth in the RMAC Championship game for a second straight year Friday, rallying from four runs down to beat back Regis 6-5.
CSU-Pueblo faced the daunting task of denting Regis starting pitcher, Kirby Schwein, the RMAC's win leader at 10-1 and the recently-named RMAC Freshman of the Year. But the Pack had its own ace in the hole in Mike Fabrizio (Jr., Pueblo, Colo.), who hadn't lost since coming back from an early season injury, uncorking six straight wins heading into Friday.
Early on, it seemed very evident that Schwein would win this battle. He was dealing, allowing just five hits and striking out three over the first five innings of the game as Regis built a 4-0 lead.
In the sixth, CSU-Pueblo finally made progress against Schwein as the first four batters of the inning reached base, set off by a leadoff double from Mario Sanchez (Jr., Tucson, Ariz.). Sanchez would later score on a Scott Hoyt (Jr., Longmont, Colo.) RBI-single, and Brett Montague (Sr., San Mateo, Calif.) knocked in the next run to cut the deficit to 4-2.
Later in the sixth, Regis would extend its lead to 5-2, but the ThunderWolves would finally rally in the eighth.
After getting two runners on with two out, Regis pitchers began failing to find the plate. Three straight walks were issued, followed by an RBI-single by Michael Wagner (So., Golden, Colo.), and by the time the smoke cleared, CSU-Pueblo had plated four runs and surged to a 6-5 lead.
Fabrizio then strived for the complete game, running his pitch count up past 130 as he indeed secured his seventh straight win.
With CSU-Pueblo's victory, it is assured of playing for a chance at an RMAC Championship Sunday. Meanwhile, the ThunderWolves, the only team left in the tournament to not have suffered a loss thus far, will play the winner of Saturday's Regis and Colorado School of Mines game at 7 p.m. Saturday.