24-0: Mavs impossible to beat at Suplizio
Colorado Mesa’s baseball team finished what it started.
The 17th-ranked Mavericks wrapped up the home portion of their schedule Saturday with another victory, defeating Colorado Christian 13-4 to finish 24-0 at Suplizio Field this season.
“That’s never happened before,” 15th-year CMU coach Chris Hanks said of an undefeated home record.
“I think it says a lot about this group, and it says a lot about the support we get locally. It says a lot about ‘The Pit,’ too. They’ve helped us in several games, too, their enthusiasm, they helped our energy. I think they probably got in the other teams’ heads a little bit. Hopefully we can be back here in three weeks for the conference tourney.”
“The Pit” is a group of Colorado Mesa students formed by a few students from Hawaii who bring a drum and make plenty of noise throughout the game.
Mesa (31-8, 25-5 RMAC) swept its sixth home series in front of 1,413 fans on Grand Valley Baseball Appreciation Day. Mesa recognized youth baseball players in the valley and the 12 seniors on the team prior to the game.
“They set the tone: We don’t lose at home,” sophomore Tony Audino said of the seniors. “It’s pretty exciting, definitely for the seniors. They’ll remember that their entire lives.”
All six senior position players started, and sixth-year senior Kyle Davis started on the mound.
“It was a little weird taking it for the last time here in the regular season,” Davis said. “It’s been a long six years. I love this field. It will be tough to walk away from it.”
Davis (5-0) had a rough start, giving up two runs on two hits, and he made an error in the first inning, but he settled down and pitched five innings, allowing three runs on three hits.
“The big crowd is nice,” he said. “My routine was a little different today (with the pregame events), but it worked out. Obviously I didn’t have my best stuff, but the defense played great behind me. They really picked me up.”
The Mavericks got the two runs back in the second inning in an unusual way.
With one runner on and two out, Audino hit a ball to shallow center field. Colorado Christian’s center fielder attempted to make a diving catch and came up empty, and the ball nearly rolled to the warning track. Audino beat the throw home for an inside-the-park home run, “Little League” style.
“I’m not exactly the fastest guy in the world,” Audino said. “It’s good the kid missed it, and we took advantage of it. Our bats were slow to start the game. That got us going a little bit.”
He continued hitting and driving in runs with a run-scoring double in the fifth and a pair of RBI singles in the seventh. He was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
“(My teammates) were giving me crap in the dugout for not hitting the ball harder,” Audino said of not getting the triple. “You can’t control that. You’re just trying to hit the ball hard every time.”
Austin Kaiser was also 4 for 5 at the plate with a solo home run in the sixth, a double and two bunt base hits. The senior is hitting a nation-leading .523.