Davis pitches Mavs past Highlands
Kyle Davis gave the Colorado Mesa University baseball team another stellar pitching performance.
The junior had a personal-best 13 strikeouts and tied a career high with eight innings pitched Saturday to lead Mesa to an 11-2 victory over New Mexico Highlands in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament at Suplizio Field.
The second-ranked Mavericks (43-8) play CSU-Pueblo (31-19) at noon today, but Mesa will have to beat the ThunderWolves twice to win the RMAC tournament title.
“The focus was not coming back to win the tournament, and it still isn’t,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “The focus is playing as good as we can play and being as ready to play as we can be. They know we need good pitching performances, good defense and timely hits. We need to focus on executing the smaller points in the game.
“This is a good team regardless of what happens. I’m proud of the way they worked and the way they played together.”
Mesa has plenty of pitching left to give itself a chance after back-to-back stellar performances from Matt Williams on Friday and Davis, who improved to 8-0.
“Kyle set the tone,” Hanks said. “We put up those early runs, and that sure makes it a heck of a lot easier.
“I don’t know if he had his best fastball, but I thought he had very good stuff. I know he said he didn’t feel his best, but sometimes that’s when guys pitch their best. Nolan Ryan’s made that comment. You get through the second, and then next thing you know you have a no-hitter.”
Davis, in fact, had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning. He allowed two runs on three hits and four walks. He hit three batters, the first time he’s hit a batter all season. Davis is 16-0 in his career.
“The arm didn’t feel as good as it has actually,” Davis said. “I felt like I was a lot more wild than I usually am.
“(Catcher) Colton (Schoelkopf) called a great game. He always does. We tried to stay with what he was calling and spot up as much as I could. He did a great job.”
Davis’ only blemish was a two-run home run to Highlands’ Kyle Davis in the seventh.
“It wasn’t that bad until he put it 600 feet over the fence,” said Mesa’s Davis of facing his namesake. “That was a little embarrassing.”
Dakota Behr pitched the ninth and didn’t allow a hit.
Mesa played solid defense behind Davis, not committing an error, and the Mavericks were aggressive at the plate with 18 hits. Everyone in the lineup had at least one hit.
Braden Box and Schoelkopf each had three hits. Nate Robertson, Jordan Moore-Leister, Justin Rosales and Austin Kaiser each had two hits. Moore-Leister, who made his 10th start of the season, was 2 for 3 with one RBI. He is 5 for 7 with two RBI in two starts in the tourney.
“Skip (Hanks) always talks about staying locked in no matter what the situation is,” Moore-Leister said. “That’s all I try to do. I look at other guys’ approaches and see what’s working. I have gotten some opportunities. You try to learn and see what works. I feel like I have a good approach that’s working for me.”
Moore-Leister started this weekend at first base for the first time in four weeks.
“The kid works hard,” Hanks said of Moore-Leister. “He was one of our best hitters coming out of the fall. I can’t say clearly why we haven’t played him more, other than Kevin Mitchell got hot. The thing I’m proud about Jordan is his tenacity and work ethic. He pounds away in the (hitting) tunnel as much as anyone on the team. His attitude is excellent. It’s paying off for him, and it’s paying off for us.”
Moore-Leister got involved right away, singling home a run in the first inning. He scored on Rosales’ single.
Garrett Carpenter extended his hitting streak to 23 games with an RBI single in the second. He scored on Robertson’s double for a 5-0 lead.
CSU-Pueblo 12, Regis 1: The ThunderWolves’ offense erupted with the aid of four Regis errors to advance to the championship game. Michael Wagner was 2 for 5 with three RBI, Chase Lacomb was 2 for 3 with two RBI and Cameron Buckles was 3 for 4 with one RBI for CSU-Pueblo.
The ThunderWolves got a third complete-game pitching performance in as many games played. Loony Schoon (6-4) limited Regis (28-18) to one run on seven hits and struck out eight.
Regis 3, Colorado Mines 2: Tony Schicktanz singled with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to score Tony Piazza for the game-winning run. The Rangers (28-17), who trailed 2-0 after six innings, tied the game in the seventh on Ryan Eustice’s two-run double with two outs.
Regis starter Aaron Harms (6-3) allowed two runs on six hits and struck out 12 in a complete game.
Colorado Mines (22-27) was eliminated.