Cleaning up: Hitting fourth, Lanzarotta has 4 RBI in Mavs’ romp
Craig Lanzarotta has played several roles for the Mesa State College baseball team.
This weekend, he surprisingly found himself in another one — cleanup hitter.
With Mike Provencher out with a sprained ankle and catcher Grant Vickers getting a rest,
Lanzarotta hit in the four hole for the first time since transferring to Mesa State his junior year. The senior responded.
Lanzarotta was 8 for 13 with nine RBI in three games in the fourth spot in the lineup, including going 3 for 5 with four RBI in Saturday’s 20-3 victory over Colorado School of Mines.
The third-ranked Mavericks (34-5, 24-2 RMAC) outscored Mines 62-11 in the four-game series sweep. Mesa is on a 16-game winning streak and has won 22 of its past 23 games.
“I was shocked,” Lanzarotta said of hitting cleanup. “There was no pressure, but it caught me off-guard. I definitely didn’t think he’d bump me up to the fourth spot.”
Lanzarotta came up to bat with two runners on in the bottom of the first inning and delivered an RBI double to score the first run. He had an RBI single in the second, a run-scoring groundout in the fourth and an RBI single in the fifth.
“He has a lot of power and is an aggressive hitter,” Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said.
“What I was happy with in his at-bats with runners on, he stayed within himself. He hit a ball to right, he moved a runner.
“He did the little things we ask of him. He is a good situational hitter, but he always possesses that threat for a double, triple and home run. He’s the fastest four-hole hitter in the country.”
Lanzarotta, though, was the only one surprised to bat in the spot, apparently.
“It’s not about the three hole, four hole,” said Mesa senior Matt Bodenchuk, who had a good weekend hitting third in the lineup. “It’s about doing your part to help the team win. We have all the confidence in the world in Craig. Nobody even thought twice about it. He was in the four hole and that was cool. You could stick just about anybody in the four hole and do fine in this lineup.”
Bodenchuk saw good pitches to hit even with Lanzarotta hitting behind him. Bodenchuk was 10 for 12 with eight RBI in the series.
Bodenchuk went 4 for 5 with three doubles Saturday, including his 53rd career double, setting the Mesa State career record.
Lanzarotta, Austin Buck and Corey Todhunter doubled for the Mavericks, who scored at least one run in each inning except the seventh.
That was more than plenty of run support for Andy Williams (3-0).
The senior right-hander limited the Orediggers to two runs on four hits and struck out four in five innings.
He was pulled so other pitchers could get some much-needed work, including Garrett Carpenter, who made his first appearance since starting Feb. 28.
The freshman left-hander allowed one hit in one inning after the long break to help heal a sore back.
Nate Towne, Kyle Davis and Chris Shea each pitched an inning, allowing one run on two hits.
“I thought all the (pitchers) that came in were sharp,” Hanks said. “You worry when there’s a spread like that. Earlier in the year we did the same thing and it started a rally.
“These kids came in, threw strikes, pitched ahead in the count and did everything we asked of them. ”