Getting it done

Mavs' bats wake up in sixth inning of regional win

St. Edwards third baseman Dylan Watts argues the umpire’s call that Colorado Mesa’s Sergio Valenzuela was safe Friday on a passed ball in the third inning of the Mavs’ 12-8 victory at Suplizio Field.

Colorado Mesa’s Garrett Woodward slides safely past the tag of St. Edwards’ CJ Manning to score one of the Mavs’ six runs in the sixth inning of Colorado Mesa’s win in the South Central Regional tournament.

Colorado Mesa fell behind early again, but the Mavericks didn’t need any late-inning magic this time.

Mesa rallied from an early 5-2 deficit to defeat St. Edward’s (Texas) 12-8 on Friday afternoon in the NCAA Division II South Central Region baseball tournament at Suplizio Field.

“We’re resilient, relentless, and we hate to lose,” Mesa senior Austin Kaiser said. “We support each other. We love each other. We don’t want to go home. I want to do my best for these guys. We’ll keep fighting, our bats will wake up, and we’ll figure it out.”

The fifth-ranked Mavericks (42-10) play the West Texas A&M at noon today. West Texas A&M defeated Texas A&M Kingsville 17-3 on Friday night.

St. Edward’s (39-16) was eliminated.

The 14th-ranked Hilltoppers built a 5-2 lead behind left-handed pitcher Collin Sherrod.

They took a 6-3 lead in the fifth and had the bases loaded when Cutter Runte launched a ball to deep center field, but the Mavs’ Sergio Valenzuela ran it down for the third out.

It was St. Edward’s chance to break the game open and keep its hopes of return trip to the NCAA Division II World Series alive.

“It was a hard-fought battle between two good teams,” St. Edward’s Rob Penders said. “We got the upper hand early, but they came back. With one swing we thought we had a grand slam. Then, they come back and score six runs. That’s a sign of a good team.”

Jordan Liester, Derrick Garcia and Garrett Woodward each singled to load the bases in the top of the sixth. Austin Wallingford followed with a three-run double to the left-center field gap to tie the game. Kevan Elcock hit a run-scoring double, and Garrett Carpenter singled home a run. Kaiser followed with a run-scoring triple for a 9-6 lead. It was his second triple of the game. He was 3 for 6 with two RBI.

“They brought in a new pitcher the guy before,” Kaiser said. “He threw a first-pitch fastball (to Carpenter), and he hit it. I was waiting for the fastball. He threw it a lot warming up. I missed a couple pitches earlier in the count. I was doing the best I could to stay on the pitches, and that was the result.”

The Mavs scored at least one run in each inning from the fifth inning on.

Sherrod (10-2) gave up eight runs on 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings and was saddled with the loss.

“He got a lot of swings and misses early, then they started figuring him out,” Penders said. “Good hitters figure out good pitchers.”

Garcia was 2 for 5 with one RBI. Wallingford was 2 for 4 with three RBI.

Mesa pitcher Dakota Behr
(1-2) picked up the win in relief of Matt Allen. Behr didn’t allow a hit or a run in 2 1/3 innings.

“We can use Dakota in a variety of ways,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “He can be a mid-inning stopper. He can be a closer. At that point in time, we looked at him as a transition guy. Matt got us through almost five. We thought Dakota could get us out of that, then we’d go inning to inning.”

Allen gave up six runs (five earned) on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings in his fourth start of the year.

“Our guys played well today,” Hanks said. “We made some mistakes early. We got behind. Matt Allen didn’t have his best stuff, but he did keep us in it. At the end of the day, that’s what we ask them to do.”

Ryan Reno got the final out to pick up his first collegiate save.

Tarleton State 13, N.M. Highlands 9 (10): The Texans (30-23) scored one run in the ninth to force extra innings, then added four runs in the 10th for the victory.

Noel Nevarez was 4 for 5 with three RBI and drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th. Kevin Meredith singled home the tying run in the ninth with two outs.

The Cowboys (32-22), who were eliminated, rallied from an 8-2 deficit to take a 9-8 lead in the eighth. They hit five home runs in the loss.


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