New home sweet

Mavs christen renovated Suplizio Field with big win

Colorado Mesa’s Justin Rosales soars through the air to beat the throw home Friday during the Mavs’ 19-5 victory over Metro State at Suplizio Field. Rosales scored four runs in the victory.

Colorado Mesa’s Austin Kaiser singles in the fifth inning Friday night, when the Mavs scored five runs to break open a 19-5 victory over Metro State at Suplizio Field.

The butterflies were fluttering, but they settled down quickly enough.

The Colorado Mesa University baseball team overcame early jitters Friday night playing the first game at the recently renovated Suplizio Field to defeat Metro State 19-5 in front of a crowd of 2,461.

“I felt like a little kid again,” Mesa junior Braden Box said. “I don’t remember the last time I had nerves going into a baseball game. I could feel them in class today. It was pretty intense for me to be out here again. We had a lot of memories out here.”

Colorado Mesa coach Chris Hanks wasn’t sure how his team would play early on, but was quite pleased.

“I was really proud of them,” Hanks said. “I’ve coached a lot of teams that ran real rich on nights like tonight. We told them to slow the game down, let it come to you and they did. They showed some maturity tonight.

“It was a controlled energy. They were real focused. This group wants to win. We’re starting to see leadership come through.”

Mesa starting pitcher Nolan Snell, who has developed a reputation as being wildly effective, had possibly his best outing in a Mesa uniform.

The junior had a no-hitter through five innings, the longest hitless stretch in his two seasons. He gave up a base hit to center field in the sixth.

“I definitely had some butterflies,” Snell said. “Skip was joking around telling me if I threw a first-pitch ball he was going to have a mound visit. I got the first-pitch strike. Once you get the first guy out, the weight’s lifted off your shoulders and you settle down. It was a lot of fun.”

Snell allowed five earned runs on three hits with seven walks, two hit batters and 11 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He threw 128 pitches.

“Nolan was sharp,” Hanks said. “He had a couple early walks but he countered them with strikes.”

The No. 24 Mavericks (29-10, 23-6 RMAC) benefited from a sloppy Metro defense that committed seven errors. Mesa scored five unearned runs.

Justin Rosales got Mesa going with the first hit, a double in the second inning to move Jeff Popick to third base. Colton Schoelkopf followed with a sacrifice fly to score Popick. Austin Kaiser put the ball in play and Metro kicked it, allowing Rosales to score for a 2-0 lead.

Rosales was 3 for 4 with three RBI and four runs scored in his first game at Suplizio.

“It was pretty crazy,” Rosales said. “I had butterflies all day up until the game started and to get that first knock was an honor. I felt it was more good for the fans we could put on a good show in the first game at the new stadium.”

Mesa added two runs in the third inning on two errors and one hit. Jeff Popick stole second base and scored from second on back-to-back throwing errors.

Two more Metro errors in the fourth inning led to a Mesa run without a hit and a 5-0 lead.

The Mavericks broke it open in the fifth with five runs on four consecutive singles for a 10-0 lead. Dustin Fackrell, Rosales, Schoelkopf and Kaiser each had one RBI.

Corwin had a RBI single in the sixth and scored on a groundout.

Metro (11-24, 8-21 RMAC) chased Snell in the seventh when Ty Jacobs drove home two runs with a bases-loaded single, then scored on a base hit. Mesa still had a 12-5 lead.

Rosales had a two-run single and Kaiser followed two batters later with a three-run single in the seventh. The Mavs scored six runs for an 18-5 lead.


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