Mesa baseball team sweeps, wins RMAC crown
It didn’t come easily, but the Colorado Mesa University baseball team persevered.
The Mavericks overcame a scrappy Colorado School of Mines team Friday to clinch their sixth RMAC regular season title in the past nine years with 14-10 victory at Jim Darden Field in Golden. Mesa defeated the Orediggers 8-1 in the second game of a doubleheader.
“They were locked in,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “Mines is a good little team. They put the bat on the ball and are tough to strike out. The first game was a battle. Jared (Christensen) controlled them in the second game.”
It is Mesa’s first RMAC regular season title since 2009, when the Mavs went to the NCAA Division II World Series.
Colorado Mesa (38-10, 32-6 RMAC) has won 10 straight and 26 of the past 29 games.
Nolan Snell (9-1) avenged his only loss of the season, but not without some bumps along the way. The junior gave up six runs (four earned) on eight hits in five innings, but shut out Mines in the fourth and fifth innings as the Mavericks built their lead.
“We committed two errors in the first inning,” Hanks said. “We booted a double-play ball. They had an infield hit and a swinging bunt. They put the ball in play and we didn’t handle it. I told our guys Mines is feisty, but we need to be feistier.”
Dustin Fackrell drove in three runs, Jeff Popick, Colton Little and Braden Box each went 3 for 6. Popick had three RBI.
Mesa’s defense played solid, error-free baseball behind Christensen in the second game and Christensen shined in his fifth consecutive victory.
The senior left-hander (11-2) allowed one run on four hits and struck out seven in six innings.
The Mavericks broke the game open in the fourth behind Little’s two-run home run and a three-run home run by Popick for an 8-1 lead.
Popick was 3 for 4 with four RBI, Little was 1 for 3 with two RBI and Box went 3 for 4.
Augustana (S.D.) limited Colorado Mesa to two runs on three hits in a 4-2 victory in the NCAA Central Region 2 tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The Vikings (49-10) advance to the semifinals against Winona State (Minn.). Mesa (26-23) plays Colorado Christian in an elimination game at 12:30 p.m. today.
Augustana pitcher Ashley Meyer (25-3) allowed one earned run on three hits and struck out six in six innings. Chelsey Durland set the Mavs down in order in the seventh for the save.
Colorado Mesa trailed 3-1 through five innings when the game was delayed by rain.
Augustana took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a solo home run, but Mesa’s Megan Smith hit a solo home run in the second to tie the score.
The Vikings scored twice in the third inning for a 3-1 lead.
Mesa scored in the top of the sixth inning when play resumed. Tawnee Woosley led off with a single and advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt and groundout. She scored on a fielding error.
The Vikings responded with a run in the bottom half on a bases-loaded walk after Ashley Pulido came in to pitch for Courtney Maihi, who loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter.
Maihi allowed four earned runs on four hits, three walks and struck out three in 5 1/3 innings.