Bases-loaded walk lifts Mavs past ’Boys
Marty Rover was looking for a good pitch to hit.
The Mesa State College junior never got one he liked.
Instead, he drew a bases-loaded walk Saturday to bring home the winning run in the Mavericks’ 4-3 victory over New Mexico Highlands at Suplizio Field.
“I was really relaxed, surprisingly enough,” Rover said. “I felt good in the box. I’ve been feeling good this weekend. I was just looking for a pitch to hit and square up. I didn’t really get a chance, but I’ll take it.”
It was the second walk-off victory for the third-ranked Mavericks (16-4, 6-1 RMAC) in as many weeks. Mike Provencher hit a solo home run in Mesa’s last at-bat to defeat Metro State 12-11 in the third game of the series last week.
“Marty had a tough at-bat, took the kid 3-2 and you know, what the heck,” Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said. “That’s part of the game.”
Mesa State was forced to bat in the bottom of the ninth because Highlands (9-9, 3-4) put together a three-run sixth inning to tie the game.
Crespin Perez doubled home two runs to chase Mesa State starter Andy Williams, and Perez scored on a Brad Morgan single. Williams allowed two earned runs on five hits in 52/3 innings..
“It’s good to win a close ball game with good pitching,” Hanks said. “Our pitching held things down. We had the one bad inning in the sixth, Andy led off with a hit batter. That started the barrage. His pitch count was only in the 60s. It wasn’t an issue of being tired, it was his release point. Andy gave us a chance to win. (Scott) Bachman did his job and T.J. Butch obviously did his job.”
Williams and Tyler Wichmann were locked into a pitchers’ duel, leaving the game to be decided by the bullpen, and Bachman and Butch came through. They limited Highlands to five hits and didn’t walk a batter in 31/3 innings of relief.
“I’m happy with our pitchers,” Hanks said. “Our pitchers needed to step up in a game like that where we don’t have to score 10 runs to win. We’ve had some good, tough at-bats. We had some opportunities to crack it open, but didn’t do it.”
Butch (4-0) came in the seventh and stayed out of trouble until the ninth.
The senior right-hander gave up a lead-off double and a single, but he didn’t panic. Instead, he relied on his defense.
“I knew it was the middle of the order for them,” Butch said. “I was trying to make good pitches. (Kevin) Becker and Vicks (Grant Vickers) picked me up with a nice play at the plate.
I tried to stay relaxed, make my pitches and get a ground ball and I did.”
The Cowboys’ David Bustillos hit a ground ball to Becker at second, who threw home to get the first out. Butch forced Danny Brown to hit another ground ball to Becker, who started a 4-6-3 double play to get out of the jam.
“I felt like the game was in our control early, then all of a sudden in the ninth they were going to steal the game from us,” Rover said. “For Becker to make that play and Vicks to get the tag, that’s huge for us and for Butch to get a double play. You could feel the momentum swing in our favor.”