Hitting their stride: Mesa State’s bats finally beginning to wake up
The Mesa State College baseball team has a history of being a successful hitting club.
Solid at-bats have been the one thing everyone expects, but this year the Mavericks struggled at the plate in the early going.
Although they started slowly, the Mavs are heating up.
“It’s almost feels like as the weather has heated up, we have heated up,” senior co-captain Marty Rover said. “Not only because we’ve got solid practices, but we’ve had consistent games. It gets you in a rhythm as a hitter. Just getting in a practice routine has helped us a lot.”
The Mavericks (9-8, 5-4 RMAC), who won their first series of the season last weekend, are on a four-game winning streak heading into their weekend series against Regis (8-9, 5-4 RMAC). The first game is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday at Suplizio Field. The teams play a doubleheader at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and a fourth game in the series is set for noon on Sunday.
“We’ve got to get it going again,” senior co-captain Kevin Becker said. “Once we got in that groove, we got our confidence back. We’re pretty dangerous right now. I get the feeling everyone is underestimating us right now with our record. It’s good to be in the situation we are, teams will take us lightly and we’ll pounce on them very soon.”
Becker and Rover, two of seven returning position players from last season, started slowly.
Becker, an All-American last year and preseason pick this season, was hitting .227 through the first six games of 2010.
“I was a little too tight, coming back from the (NCAA Division II) World Series and my expectations,” Becker said. “I can’t really think about last year’s achievements. That’s the past. I’ve got to think about working hard now.
“I can’t try and compare anything from last year. It’s a whole new year, new mentality.”
Becker has raised his average to .343.
Rover hit .235 through the first six games, but is hitting .387 now.
“I think Becker and I knew we were going to be important parts,” Rover said of being leaders on the team, “but I think it took Becker and I to realize we weren’t going to be able to do it all ourselves. We were going to be able to rely on other players and I think that’s relaxed us.”
They were able to relax a bit with the pitching staff stringing together solid outings as well.
“The pitching has gone a long way to helping us offensively,” Rover said. “Early in the year, we didn’t know what we were getting on the mound or at the plate. As our pitching has become more consistent, that’s allowed our offense to relax.”
As a result, the team’s batting average went from .311 through the first two weeks of the season to .368 now, ahead of last year’s single-season school record .376 clip.
“I think we’ve showed it,” Rover said of the team’s hitting potential. “We had glimpses of it, but we couldn’t put it together from game to game. This (last) weekend, we showed we can put it together. If we can have consistent at-bats game in and game out, that will lead to run production all throughout the year.”