When ThunderWolves’ ace Juan Gomez gave up two homers in the first inning in his first start ever in the thin Colorado air, the San Bernardino, Calif. native didn’t panic. Nor did his teammates.
Down 3-0, the Pack came through with a six-run first inning, setting the tone for a sweep of the University of Mary Saturday by scores of 18-3 and 6-5.
Gomez settled right down following that rocky start, only allowing two more hits the rest of the day in a stellar seven-inning performance.
“They just buried two of Gomez’s fastballs,” Pack skipper Stan Sanchez said of Mary’s first inning. “But he finally got loose in his first time pitching in altitude and colder conditions. He found his breaking ball, then he was lights out.”
The Pack hitters played their part to help Gomez relax. Five ThunderWolves put together multi-hit games in the 18-3 romp, including a banner game by shortstop Mark Sayas, who went 4-for-5 with three RBIs in the game. The top six spots in the Pack’s lineup combined to go an outstanding 13-for-26 in the game.
“Up front, our top six guys put some swings on it and really took advantage of our park,” Sanchez said. “The ball was jumping, and it was just fantastic that we were able to that against their number-one guy.”
In the second game, Mary’s pitchers fared much better. After giving up four runs to the Pack in the first inning, the Marauders managed to hold the ThunderWolves largely in check for the rest of the game.
“It was Colorado baseball,” Sanchez said. “The wind changed and it was blowing 15 to 20 miles per hour right in the batters’ faces. I give Mary credit because they really pitched well.”
In a game originally scheduled for seven innings, Mary managed to tie the game in the top of the seventh as Pack closer Jesus Hernandez blew the save by allowing a run on two hits.
Unfazed, Hernandez remained on the mound and struck out the side in the top of the eighth, setting the stage for a Pack winner.
“Jesus found his breaking ball, and he found a way to get it done,” Sanchez said. “Then we were able to build the inning in the bottom half of the eight and we just executed.”
Playing small ball, the Pack got a few hits and managed to turn a two fielder’s choice outs into runners at first and third with two outs. With two on, Mary pitchers Tim Long and Michael Feldman uncorked back-to-back wild pitches, which allowed Kyle Hanson to score from third and take the victory.
The two wins improves the Pack’s record to 5-1 on the young season, setting the stage for another two games tomorrow, starting at 11 a.m. Scheduled to start for the Pack are Joe Proto and Dustin Timmins.