It was a different feeling at the park on day two of the series against Nebraska-Kearney.
A different day that brought different results. Eleven runs was good enough to win both games Friday against the Lopers, but on Saturday it was only enough for the Pack to be doubled up 25-11 in game one.
The 25 runs the Pack gave up ties for the school-record for most runs given up. Both offenses took the second game off, with the Lopers prevailing 6-3, and earning a split of the series.
After taking the first two games of the four game set against the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers, the Pack were looking to extend their three game winning streak and gain a stranglehold on the Plains Division of the RMAC on Saturday at Rawlings Field.
“We didn’t lose the series, but we lost an opportunity to get a hold of the division,” Coach Sanchez said.
The hopes of the streak died fast though as the Lopers struck first in the second inning with six runs on six hits. Blake Cover started the rally off with a homerun, followed by a triple by Trey Howell. Grif Watson followed the triple with a double of his own, scoring Howell from third. After a walk and an RBI single, left fielder Travis Lindhorst capped the rally with a double knocking in two runs.
The Pack answered back chipping away at the lead with two runs in the bottom of the second and one each in the bottom of the third and fourth innings, cutting the lead to 6-4, capped by a solo shot by junior Jon Proesl.
Pack starting pitcher, Joe Proto, was chased from the game after another multi-run inning when the Lopers put up a three spot in the top of the fifth to start the route. Proto was relieved by junior Dustin Timmins who gave up four runs before being yanked for junior Aaron Lewis who gave up five runs.
Junior Scott Harshman was the Pack’s most effective pitcher of game one making his first appearance of the season. He recorded all three outs in the sixth and finished the nine inning game.
The Thunderwolves did score in all but three innings of the first game, but the Lopers matched that with bigger and longer innings.
“We can swing it offensively and do a good job, it’s just that we have to pitch it up,” Coach Sanchez said.
The highlight of the Lopers offense, as if there was only one, was Nate Swearer who hit his fourth and fifth homeruns of the season. Swearer went 3-for-5, driving in four runs, and scoring twice.
Leadoff hitter Chris Gillaspy and eight-hole hitter Watson also each moved four runs across the plate.
Game two looked like it might get out of hand quickly as well. The Lopers wasted no time putting up a four spot in the first inning, and chasing Pack starting pitcher Jesus Hernandez after facing only five batters.
Chris Garcia, for the second day in a row, kept the Pack in the game in game two. After relieving Hernandez, Garcia only gave up two runs, while scattering six hits in 7 innings pitched.
“Garcia gave us a chance to win,” Coach Sanchez said.
The Pack put a small rally together in the bottom of the fourth due in large part to a solo homerun by Johnny Zepeda, his second of the series and the year. Following the homerun, what should have been a single was turned into a double by a hustling Jason Fobes. The inning brought three runs and pulled the Pack to within two, 5-3.
The bitter part of the whole thing was when Jon Proesl ended the rally by lining out to the shortstop. A line out, that if three feet taller, would have brought the runners in from second and third base.
“Proesl’s ball, when he hit that line drive and the guy went up and did a good job on it, if that ball gets through the gap then we’re tied,” Coach Sanchez said.
The Lopers added an insurance run in the top of the seventh to go ahead 6-3. That would be the final score as the Pack went in order in the seventh.
With the two losses, the Pack dropped to 9-5 overall, 2-2 in the RMAC. Nebraska-Kearney climbed to 6-7 overall, and 2-2 in the RMAC.
The ThunderWolves will be back in action in two games against Metro State that will not count towards their RMAC record. Those games will be on Tuesday at 3 and 6 p.m. at home on Rawlings Field.