Mavs sweep past Tritons
Jared Christensen and Dylan Evans know all they have to do is keep their team in it.
The Colorado Mesa University senior pitchers did just that, before the No. 29 Mavericks rallied to sweep the University of California-San Diego 6-4 and 3-2 on Saturday afternoon at Canyon View Park. Both games were scheduled to be seven innings, but each went nine.
Mesa and UC-San Diego are scheduled to play the fourth and final game of the series at 11:30 a.m. today, pending weather.
“They got that early lead, after that I tried to maintain and keep us in it to give us a chance,” Evans said. “I knew eventually we’d put it together. That’s the way this team is built. We have a lot fight in us, especially in the late innings. I knew if I kept us in it, eventually we’d get it.”
Evans gave up a triple and a run in the sixth inning that tied the second game of the doubleheader 2-2, pushing the game to extra innings. Evans allowed two runs on five hits and struck out seven in 7 2/3 innings.
Mesa’s Tim Fowler led off the bottom of the ninth with a double and advanced to third on Colton Little’s groundout. With runners on the corners, Braden Box put down a squeeze bunt, but Fowler was thrown out at home. Eric Kozel was hit by a pitch to lead the bases, then Jeff Popick beat out a line drive that ricocheted off the pitcher to score Bobby Cozine.
Derek Benham picked up the win in relief after picking up the save in the first game of the doubleheader.
“Dylan was solid,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “We really didn’t want to go to Denham when we did, but we decided to use him up today. I’m proud of our guys. We can grow from this. We still have some things to clean up, but it’s a good start.”
Christensen was pitching a shutout in the first game until the top of the sixth, when the Tritons scored four runs to break open a scoreless game.
The first run scored on a balk and the second scored on a sacrifice fly. Two more scored on a double to right.
“If you can hold them there, we have a good enough teams, the guys will score runs for you,” Christensen said. “That inning they strung a couple hits together. A bobble here or an error there. The balk kind of opened the flood gates, but when that happens you’ve got to focus.”
Christensen (1-1) allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings.
Mesa responded with five runs in the bottom half.
It started with Mitch Corwin’s single up the middle off the pitcher.
“Mitch Corwin doing that gave us the spirit (to come back),” Little said. “Skip always says, once you get one hit, then the second one will come, then the third and the fourth.”
Justin Rosales reached on an error and Colton Schoelkopf singled to load the bases with one out. Little followed with a bases-clearing double to left-center field.
“(UC-San Diego starter Ryan Goodbrand) started off really good,” Little said. “Toward the middle innings you could see the wear and tear in his arm. He started leaving his curveball and fastball up.”
Little gave Mesa an insurance run in the seventh when he reached on an error, stole second and scored on Tamatoa Demello’s double.
“The four spot happened early enough in the game, my mentality going into that inning was let’s get one on the board and go from there,” Hanks said. “Playing for one turned into more.”