Coach’s talk lights a fire under the Mavericks
After Friday loss, CMU rebounds to win series at Grand Canyon
Chris Hanks’ talk after Friday night’s 9-0 loss to Grand Canyon University must have stirred something in the Colorado Mesa University baseball team.
“We were trying to think when we had our butts kicked like that,” Hanks said Sunday after the Mavericks knocked off the Lopes 7-3 in Phoenix to win the three-game series two games to one. “We told the guys after the game (Friday) if this was football, it was a 56-0 game.
“But, we told them, the good news is this isn’t like football where you don’t get to play them until next year. We get to play them again tomorrow and some guys cowboy’d up.”
Kennedy Kinkade, vying to be the Mavs’ starting first baseman, was one of those players, going 3 for 3, scoring twice and driving in one run.
“He made a very good case for himself today,” Hanks said. “They were timely (hits).”
Kinkade opened the Mavs’ third inning with a double to left and took third on a ground ball. Tamatoa Demello bunted, with Kinkade breaking for the plate, and the throw from the pitcher was wild, allowing him to score and Demello to reach first.
Demello scored when Braden Box reached on a fielder’s choice to tie the game at 2-2.
Kinkade drove in the go-ahead run in the fourth, Box hit a sacrifice fly to get another run home in the fifth and Kinkade led off the seventh with another double, scoring on a base hit by Erik Kozel, who went 3 for 4.
Austin Kaiser doubled home two more runs in the inning, and the Mavericks got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth.
“They really threatened in the eighth, had the bases loaded and Cody Lahman came in and really sucked it up. He was tough,” Hanks said. “It was tough to get some calls so we told them hey, force contact and let us play D.”
The blizzard that hit Denver on Sunday morning moved down the I-25 corridor to Las Vegas, N.M., where the CMU softball team was playing New Mexico Highlands.
The Mavericks won the opener 11-6 behind six RBI from freshman shortstop Makayla Kovac. The second game was called because of snow with the teams tied 5-5. The Mavs spent the night in Las Vegas instead of trying to test the roads.
“It’s too dangerous to risk anybody’s life,” coach Candace Abrams said. “We’ll head back out in the morning once it clears out. I just talked to a man in the (hotel) lobby who came in from Denver and he said there were times he didn’t think he was going to make it.”
Kovac had an RBI single in the first inning, brought home another run when she reached on an error in the second, added an RBI double in the fifth and a three-run home run in the sixth.
Lisa Pille hit a two-run home run in the Mavs’ five-run first inning in the opener. CMU (5-4, 3-0 RMAC) scored 11 runs on 11 hits in the first game.
Colorado Mesa had to scramble to find a place to play Pace (N.Y.) University when the snow hit Denver, and ended up driving to Colorado Springs to play at the Air Force Academy’s indoor facility.
The Mavericks lost 9-8, getting two goals each from Steven Brandenburg, Reese Dunn and Kade Robinson. Goalie Brad Brandenburg made 16 saves.
“This morning we thought we could play outside but it kept coming down and didn’t stop,” CMU coach A.J. Stevens said.
The indoor facility was at least clear of snow, but was a new experience for most of the players.
“It was really hard to see the ball,” Stevens said. “It’s meant for football so it was a challenge with the shadows. We had some passes right where they were supposed to be and missed them because we lost the ball.”