Bats go silent
Mavs only get six hits in loss to Highlands at Central Regional
Colorado Mesa University got the pitching performance it needed, but not the offense.
New Mexico Highlands defeated the Mavericks 2-0 in the first round of the NCAA Division II Central Region baseball tournament Thursday at Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato, Minn.
Highlands’ pitcher Jason Sirak (7-1) limited Colorado Mesa to six hits, all singles, and one walk in a complete game.
“Their kid pitched it well,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “They beat us today.”
Colorado Mesa starter Jared Christensen (12-3) was arguably just as good. The senior left-hander, who was selected the Daktronics Central Region Pitcher of the Year earlier Thursday, allowed two runs on six hits and struck out seven in eight innings.
“Jared pitched great,” Hanks said. “They got two timely hits.”
The Cowboys (40-14) pushed one run across in the third inning with a base hit, sacrifice bunt and another base hit.
Highlands added a run in the seventh with a leadoff single, groundout and another single.
The Mavericks (39-15) had some opportunities but couldn’t come up with a timely hit. Colorado Mesa left six runners on base.
“I thought we had some success with the short game, but we couldn’t get the big hit,” Hanks said. “We tried to push bunt and drag bunt. The killer was in the seventh. We had runners at first and third (base) with one out and hit into a double play.”
The conditions weren’t the best either.
“The wind was blowing in 25 to 30 mph,” Hanks said. “Balls crushed didn’t make normal outfield depth.”
The Mavericks plays top-seeded Minnesota State-Mankato, which beat Regis 1-0 in 11 innings, at 2:30 p.m. today.
■ Junior shortstop Braden Box and senior outfielder Jeff Popick made the Daktronics Central Region first team with Christensen.
Senior first baseman Dustin Fackrell and junior pitcher Nolan Snell made the second team.
The Mavericks cut 12 strokes off their first-round score to move up to 11th after two rounds in the NCAA Division II national championship tournament at Persimmon Ridge Golf Course in Louisville, Ky.
Colorado Mesa’s Jessica Berve is tied for 41st with 168. Michelle Stripp is tied for 52nd with 172, and Jennifer Hilts is tied for 59th with 177. Alisa Lindsay has a two-round total of 184, and Afton Balling is at 187. Mesa has a score of 700.
Nova Southeastern (Fla.) University remains in first place with 614 strokes, led by Daniela Ortiz, who is first with 145. Teammate Abbey Gittings is second with 147, and North Carolina-Pembroke’s Meghan Moore is third with 150.
Florida Southern is second with 629. California (Pa.) and Grand Valley State (Mich.) are tied for third with 647.
In the final round of the men’s national tournament, Basalt High School graduate and Colorado School of Mines senior Jim Knous lost on the first playoff hole, just missing a national championship.
Knous was the clubhouse leader after his round, which began at 9 a.m., and just after 4 p.m., Josh Creel of Central Oklahoma turned in his scorecard, both at 10 under par. Creel parred the 18th hole and Knous bogeyed. Knous finished his career at Mines as a four-time first-team all-RMAC player and the 2012 conference player of the year.