The Cougars (1-2) got off to a strong start in Sunday's rubber match against CSU-Pueblo, but were unable to hold on against the ThunderWolves (4-2), losing the game 8-5 and the series 2-1.
Noah Coleman (0-1) struggled in relief, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits in three innings. The Broomfield (Colo.) native walked four and fanned one.
The Cougars took advantage of two first inning walks issued by CSU-Pueblo starting pitcher Victor Soto and had the bases loaded with one out after Noah Durkin’s infield single. Coleman’s groundout plated Jeremy Varner to give USF the 1-0 lead.
USF starter Eric Brothers walked the first batter on four pitches but got into a little trouble, putting runners on second and third with two out via a base hit and outfield error. The junior righty got out of the jam when Michael Downs caught a fly ball in foul territory to retire the side.
CSU-Pueblo opened the third inning with back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases with no outs. Brothers struck out the next hitter, but the Wolves racked up three runs on no hits and some good fortune, as a Cougar error, RBI hit by pitch and bases-loaded walk put the ThunderWolves up 3-1.
Brothers wound up going four innings, giving up six hits and four runs (one earned) with three strikeouts and four walks.
Anthony Lopez tripled home Coleman in the fourth, who drew a lead-off walk, and the Cougars tied the game at 4-4 in the fifth with Varner’s RBI double and Trevor Crow’s chopper up the middle that eluded the Pueblo shortstop
The ThunderWolves responded with three runs in the fifth off of Coleman to break a 4-4 deadlock. Pueblo went up 8-4 in the sixth when they cashed in on a throwing error by the USF shortstop.
CSU-Pueblo’s bullpen continued to shine; a half-dozen pitchers allowed just three hits and an unearned run in 4 1/3 innings of combined work. Jake Busch was credited with the win.
USF scored its final run with two outs in the ninth when Varner reached on a fielder’s choice and touched home via a Wolves’ throwing error.
CSU-Pueblo out-hit the Cougars’ 10-7, drew six walks and left 11 runners on base. Four errors also contributed to USF’s woes, as three of the Pack's runs were unearned.
Seven different Cougars collected a hit, with Crow, Coleman and Lopez each posting an RBI. Noah Durkin (1-4) extended his hitting streak to five games. Ryan Fobes and Varner each drew two walks and the Cougars finished with six strikeouts and nine men left on base.
USF travels to St. Louis (Mo.) next weekend for a four-game series with Maryville University (2-1).
Courtesy: Stephanie Pendrys, USF