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Pack baseball crowned RMAC champs, advance to NCAA tournament

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Photo courtesy of gothunderwolves.com
The CSU-Pueblo baseball team won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference on May 12, and qualified for the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship. Photo courtesy of gothunderwolves.com

The CSU-Pueblo baseball team won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference on May 12, and qualified for the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship.

The ThunderWolves advance to the tournament for the ninth time in school history after defeating Colorado Mesa University in the RMAC Championship.

The ThunderWolves were undefeated in the double elimination tournament heading into the championship game, meaning the Mavericks, from CMU, would have to defeat them twice in order to earn the title.

CSU-Pueblo dropped the first game 6-1, leading to a winner-take-all scenario in game two on Colorado Mesa’s home field in Grand Junction, Colo.

Colorado Mesa came out strong in the second game, jumping out to a 2-0 lead early on, but the ThunderWolves battled back, scoring five runs in the second inning and went on to win the game and the automatic NCAA tournament berth by a score of 7-5.

Mario Sanchez led the way for the ThunderWolves, driving in two runs, including a solo homerun in the bottom of the seventh inning to add to CSU-Pueblo’s lead, which they would not relinquish.

Jeremiah Struble gave up three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings on his way to his ninth victory of the year. Mike Fabrizio, a starter for most of the year, came in and earned his first save of the season, despite giving up two hits.

Struble was named the MVP of the tournament after also throwing a complete game victory against Metro State to begin the tournament.

CSU-Pueblo will now play as the No. 6 seed in the South Central Region of the Division II tournament, beginning on May 16.

The ThunderWolves will begin play against the top-seeded host Texas A&M-Kingsville at Nolan Ryan Field in Kingsville, Tex.

Each of the eight regionals will be a double-elimination tournament between six teams, with the winners of each region advancing to the double-elimination championship finals May 25-June 1.