Good vibes

Cross' big day in return to field helps Mavs sweep Mustangs

Courtney Maihi connects on a solo home run Friday in the Mavs’ 10-4 victory over Western New Mexico in the first game of a doubleheader.



Baseball and softball players each have their own walk-up song when they come to the plate.

Colorado Mesa senior Lauren Cross, though, told events manager and public address announcer Jermaine Williams to throw in another song to mix things up once in a while.

Williams spun the theme song from “Jaws” Friday afternoon in Cross’ first start at third base since a knee injury sidelined her for nearly a month.

Cross smashed the first pitch in the fifth inning over the scoreboard in left-center field for a solo home run in the Mavericks’ 11-4 victory over Western New Mexico at Bergman Field. Mesa won the first game 10-4 for the doubleheader sweep.

“He’s like, ‘If I do Jaws (her hands clasped on her head), you have to hit a home run,’ ” Cross said. “It was fun. It was a good game.

“It was perfect. It was down the middle, I got my legs into it. It was a fun day.”

Cross was 3 for 4 with three RBI in the second game and 4 for 7 with five RBI on the day.

As she came off the field Friday evening, she admitted her legs were shaking and she was tired, but she couldn’t be happier.

“It feels so good, I couldn’t take the smile off my face,” Cross said. “It feels good to be back with my team.”

Cross returned to action last weekend, but only in a designated player role. She was 1 for 3 with two RBI as the designated player (hitter) in the first game.

“The first game I struggled a little bit,” she said. “I get a little nervous when I just hit, because all I think about is hitting. When I finally got to play third, I got back in my groove.

“If you don’t do good at the plate, you can make up for it in the field. Whereas you’re just hitting, you go back to the dugout and think, ‘Crap, what do I do now?’ “

Colorado Mesa coach Kris Mort put Cross in at third base even though her knee isn’t quite 100 percent.

“She did play well first game back (in the field),” Mort said. “If she’s not a senior that’s been a two-time all-region player, I don’t know that I’d throw her back in there as quick as I did because Tawnee (Woosley) has played really, really solid third base for us. She’s made one error in the four or five weeks she’s been out there.

“(Woosley) jumped right in to a position she hasn’t played much and won that spot. I feel totally confident with Tawnee out there now. The difference is Lauren’s got the game experience that Tawnee is starting to establish and develop. Then of course, Lauren’s always had a good stick.”

Western New Mexico (13-29, 8-21 RMAC) jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first game on a Kaitlynn Barnes home run. Barnes hit a solo shot in the fifth for a 4-1 lead, but Mesa responded with a seven-run fifth and added two in the sixth.

The Mavericks (21-13, 19-11 RMAC) took advantage of a Western New Mexico error to score the tying run, then added three more runs.

Courtney Maihi (12-6) settled down after a slow start for the victory. She gave up four runs on 10 hits and struck out five.

Ashley Pulido (6-6) limited the Mustangs to four runs on nine hits in the second game.

The Mavericks gave her some cushion right away with three runs in the first on three consecutive doubles by Maihi, Lisa Pille and Cross. They added four in the second on three hits and a sacrifice fly.

Maihi and Pulido received help from the defense, which didn’t commit an error in either game and turned one double play. It was only the seventh time this season Mesa played an errorless game.

“I thought our kids hit better than we did last weekend,” Mort said. “It was a good opportunity for us to get our swings in order again.

“I was pretty pleased with our performance today.”

Western New Mexico hit two home runs in the third, including an inside-the-park home run to the right field corner. The Mustangs added two runs in the fifth on back-to-back doubles.


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