Change is good
Mavs' depth delivers sweep
For a while Sunday, the Adams State baseball team hung with Colorado Mesa in the final game of a four-game series.
Adams State limited the 25th-ranked Mavericks to one run on four hits through six innings in a 1-1 game when CMU coach Chris Hanks started making some changes in the lineup.
Those changes sparked Colorado Mesa to a 5-2 victory at Suplizio Field. It was Mesa’s fourth home series sweep of the season.
“Coach (Jeff) Rodgers made the comment we have good depth,” Hanks said. “We have a deal in our program called ‘Team of the Moment.’ We felt we had a good chance to change our team of the moment in terms of bringing in new people.
“It wasn’t necessarily that anyone was doing poorly. We just need to change momentum, a spark and I think it helped us.”
With one out and one on in the bottom of the seventh, Hanks started putting in pinch hitters. Kevin Mitchell drew a walk, then stole second on a double steal with Nate Robertson.
Garrett Woodward walked to load the bases. Another pinch-hitter, Jake Druce, came through with the clutch hit Mesa needed. With two strikes, the freshman singled to left field to score Robertson and Joey Samuels, who was running for Mitchell, to give Mesa a 3-1 lead.
“Skip came to me with a few minutes of warning,” Druce said. “I saw the pitch and managed to hit it where it’s pitched.
“It feels good, real good. It feels good to help the team out and that’s the main focus.”
Hanks had many options, but was most confident in Druce in that situation.
“Jake is a good hitter,” Hanks said. “The primary reason I hit him, I didn’t think there was much of a chance he’d strike out. I thought he’d battle and we’d get contact at the very least.
“He went to two strikes and I still felt they weren’t going to strike him out.”
Druce’s hit was even more significant because the Mavericks (21-6, 15-3 RMAC) were 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position up to that point. Mesa’s only run scored on a sacrifice fly and the Mavs didn’t get their first hit until the fourth inning.
“If you look back, we squared up some balls early in those first couple innings that didn’t produce anything,” Hanks said. “Roman Chavez lined out.
“We had some good contact that just didn’t find their way down. Then the game starts moving fast and before you know it you’re in the sixth or seventh inning.”
The Mavericks did give themselves chances, stealing eight bases. They stole 22 bases on 23 attempts in the series.
“The hits weren’t coming,” Hanks said. “We had to make things happen in some other ways and we did that.”
The Grizzlies came back with a wind-blown home run in the top of the eighth and had a runner on third base with two outs when Hanks went to Garrett Carpenter to get the last out. Carpenter responded with a strikeout.
“That’s a luxury to bring him in like that,” Hanks said. “Then bounce him right back to the outfield.
“We had (Dakota) Behr ready and Trent Allianic, but the hitter was a lefty, so we decided to go left on left.”
Mesa added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. Austin Kaiser singled home a run and scored on a double steal. He was 2 for 4 with one RBI and four stolen bases.
Matt Allen (4-1) limited Adams State to one run on three hits in 1 2/3 innings in relief for the victory. Behr picked up his sixth save.