Fresh players lift Mavs to split with ThunderWolves
Sometimes a tweak to the lineup can make all the difference.
Saturday at Suplizio Field, the Mesa State College baseball team inserted three new players into the second game of a doubleheader against CSU-Pueblo, and scored seven runs in the first three innings on its way to a 7-3 victory.
“(Second baseman) Petey (Arakawa), (center fielder) Austin Keiser and (designated hitter) Zac Barger all gave us a spark,” Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said. “In our first game (a 4-1 loss) we were passive, and we talked about it in the clubhouse, the kids that came into the lineup weren’t passive.”
The three players went a combined 4 for 7 with four RBI.
Arakawa batted ninth and drove in a run in his first at-bat to put Mesa (8-5, 6-1 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) ahead 3-0 in the second inning.
“It’s always nice to get a lift from the bottom of your order,” Hanks said. “Pete is a kid who started the year as our second baseman, but got off to a slow start.
“He didn’t play in the first two games this weekend so he brought freshness to the lineup.”
Mesa State had its biggest inning in the third, scoring four runs — all with two outs. Barger and Erik Nordine both singled and scored on Kaiser’s two-run single.
Arakawa and Ken Evenson both added RBI singles off of ThunderWolves pitcher Zack Richmond to take a 7-0 lead through three innings.
Mesa State’s strong start offensively was propelled by the Mavericks starting pitcher Kyle Davis throwing three hitless innings.
Davis, a junior right-hander overcoming an arm injury, got his first start of the year.
“He would have been in the rotation earlier if he had been healthy,” Hanks said. “This was the furthest we’d extended him.”
Davis ran into trouble in the fourth inning when Andrew Casaneda led off with a triple.
Jye Lanphere drove him in and J.T Greenhood followed with an RBI single to cut the Mesa lead to 7-2.
Mesa brought in reliever Ben Sawyer, who got the Mavericks out of the inning.
Sawyer gave up a run in the sixth inning, but got the Mavericks to closer Taylor Hamilton in the seventh inning.
“Kyle pitched real effective for almost four innings,” Hanks said. “Then Ben came in and was very good and Taylor closed the door.”
CSU-Pueblo 4, Mesa State 1: In the first game, the ThunderWolves turned a 2-1 lead into a 4-1 victory with an RBI single from Castaneda in the seventh inning.
The Mavericks took a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a sacrifice fly from Jeff Popick. CSU-Pueblo tied the game at 1-1 on a solo home run from Kyle Wager in the third inning.
The ThunderWolves (8-6, 5-2 RMAC) took a one-run lead in the fifth inning on a Chase Lacomb RBI single.
CSU-Pueblo pitchers Matt Cole and Tim Pomierski combined to allow only two hits.
The Mavericks’ Nolan Snell struck out eight in the loss.