The Orediggers endured a pair of hard losses Saturday, losing to the CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves 9-4 in their first game and then 10-4 in the second game of the double-header.
In the opener, the Orediggers struck first in the bottom of the third inning on a double by infielder Tyler Thornton. However, the ThunderWolves were quick to respond, scoring one in the top of the fourth and two in the fifth to capture a 3-1 lead. Mines stayed within striking distance until the sixth, when CSU-Pueblo exlpoded for six runs to jump out to a 9-1 lead. Mines tried to rally as catcher Jordan Williams hit a 2-RBI single in the bottom of the sixth and pinch-runner Shane Johnson scored on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the ninth, but it was not enough as Mines fell by the final score of 9-4.
Up until that six-run sixth-inning, the Oredigger’s starting pitcher Blake Dunham had been throwing fairly well, as he had three strikeouts and only one walk allowed through the first five innings. Chris Picket came in to relieve Dunham and allowed only two more runs that inning, then proceeded to throw clean innings in the seventh and eighth. Freshman pitcher Brady Smith came in and threw a shutout ninth inning to close the game.
In the second game of the doubleheader, CSU-Pueblo struck early and often, getting five runs off of CSM starting pitcher Ben Gilman through the first four innings. Corky Patton was called in to replace Gilman on the mound, but he was quickly pulled in favor of Brad Touhey after walking the first two batters he faced in the fifth inning. The ThunderWolves would add one more run that inning to push the score to 6-0. In the bottom of the fifth, the Orediggers would get on the board courtesy of an RBI-single by second baseman Kyle Wallace. CSU-Pueblo responded by adding three more runs in the top of the sixth and one more run in the seventh inning, racing to a 10-1 lead. The Orediggers mounted a late comeback in their half of the seventh as both Derek Skrdlant and Zach Bothwell picked up an RBI apiece to bring the score to 10-3, and then Kyle Wallace scored on a balk by CSU-Pueblo pitcher Jeremiah Struble to make the final score 10-4.
This upcoming weekend, the Orediggers travel to Metro State for a four game series March 9-11, and play at home next on March 23 against Nebraska-Kearney.