Carpenter nails down Mavs’ win
With the momentum of the game in balance, Mesa State College baseball coach Chris Hanks turned to a freshman.
That freshman, Garrett Carpenter, responded, keeping the second-best hitting team in the nation in check Friday as the 29th-ranked Mavericks rallied to defeat 30th-ranked New Mexico Highlands 15-13 in the NCAA Central Regional at Suplizio Field. Mesa State (41-13) plays Wayne State, which routed Southwest Minnesota State 28-12 on Friday, at 12:30 p.m. today.
“We have great respect for Highlands,” Hanks said. “We know they can swing the bats like we do. My biggest thing was I felt like we needed a competitor on the mound like Carp and he did exactly what I thought he would do.”
Carpenter, who was making only his eighth appearance of the season because of back problems, entered the game in the fourth inning with the game tied 8-8 and pitched out of a bases-loaded jam.
“It felt good to get back out there again,” Carpenter said. “I was nervous the whole time, so I wasn’t rally focused on my back. I was focusing on getting hitters out and getting back in the dugout.”
Although he gave up two runs in the fifth, Carpenter shut down the Cowboys into the ninth, allowing the Mavericks to rally. He allowed three earned runs on seven hits in 42/3 innings.
It was a rewarding first collegiate victory for Carpenter, who Hanks nearly decided to redshirt because of his back issues.
It looked like Mesa State would roll to another victory, scoring two runs in the first inning on Mike Provencher’s third home run of the tournament. The Mavs added six in the second to take an 8-1 lead.
Highlands (39-21), though, was fighting to stay alive .
Mesa starter Jason Fronczak suddenly lost command in the third inning, walking two batters and giving up three hits, including a two-run home run.
Highlands’s Oscar Sigala hit a solo home run to tie the game in the fourth, then went deep again in the fifth to give the Cowboys a 9-8 lead.
Highlands led 10-8 when Kevin Becker led off the sixth with a triple, setting the Mesa single-season school record. He scored on a groundout. Matt Bodenchuk and Grant Vickers singled, then Craig Lanzarotta singled home Bodenchuk to tie the game 10-10.
Mesa regained the lead in the seventh, rallying with two outs. Becker started it again with a double and scored on Andrew Martinez’s triple. Provencher followed with a RBI double and scored on Bodenchuk’s double. Vickers and Lanzarotta each drove home a run for a 15-10 lead.
Sigala hit his third home run of the game, a three-run shot in the ninth, before Aaron Guinn was able to close the game for his eighth save of the season.
CSU-PUEBLO 13, MINNESOTA ST. 4
Dillon Meaney pitched his second complete game in two weeks, keeping the ThunderWolves (40-21) alive.
Meaney (6-1) pitched out of two bases-loaded jams giving up one run in the third and fifth innings. He limited Minnesota State-Mankato (38-17) to four runs on eight hits and struck out five.
The Mavericks were eliminated.