Carpenter’s one-hit relief saves Mesa win over Chico

Mike Provencher, left is congratulated at Home by Matt Bodenchuk after Mike hit a HR

Garrett Carpenter knew he was coming into the game at a critical spot.

The Mesa State College freshman admitted to catcher Grant Vickers that he was nervous when he went to the mound, but he overcame the butterflies in a big situation.

“Garrett has the personality and competitiveness to be successful and we know that,” Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said. “He really stepped up today against a great college baseball team in Chico State.”

With No. 23 Mesa State (3-1) clinging to a one-run lead, Carpenter shut down the No. 3 Wildcats (3-2) to save the Mavericks’ 7-4 victory Thursday afternoon at Suplizio Field.

The teams play a doubleheader at noon today and again at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, weather permitting. Upper Iowa (0-0) is not coming for games Saturday and Sunday because of weather and travel concerns.

“I was so nervous,” Carpenter said. “My back and stomach ached. I guess I was able to calm down. My teammates helped me.”

The left-hander limited Chico to one hit and two walks in four innings of relief.

“He came in this fall with an attitude,” Mesa State senior Mike Provencher said. “He throws strikes and is always battling and making guys swing it. It’s good to see him get out there and get in their stuff. It’s uplifting to see him do that in a big situation.”

Carpenter was able to set down the Wildcats’ three left-handed hitters who had four hits, including three home runs, and drove in all four runs against Mesa State starter Jason Fronczak. The senior (1-0) allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.

“It was his first outing of the year,” Hanks said. “I thought he looked tired. He wanted to go one more. We said, ‘No, you’re done.’ He did a good job. He kept us in the ballgame. He responded after the home runs. He made a couple mistakes, but I don’t know if they were mistakes. Chico is a good hitting ballclub.”

Fronczak hit a batter with two outs in the second, then Chico catcher Cody Dee hit a 3-1 pitch for a home run and a 2-1 lead.

Chico first baseman Josh Meagher hit a solo home run in the third for a 3-1 lead.

Mesa tied the game with a two-run home run by Provencher to left-center field with two outs in the bottom of the third off Chico starter Pete Mickartz (0-1).

“I was trying to square something up,” Provencher said. “I got my pitch I was looking for. We faced him last year at Chico. He has good stuff.”

Mesa’s Andrew Martinez put the ball in play into short right field to score Grant Vickers in the fourth for a 4-3 lead.

Meagher took Fronczak deep again in the fifth to tie the game, then Provencher hit his second home run of the game for a 5-4 lead in the bottom half of the inning.

The Mavericks added two runs in the eighth for insurance. With runners on second and third and one out, Craig Lanzarotta dropped a bunt, allowing Matt Bodenchuk to score from third.

Marty Rover followed with a RBI single.


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