Hail gives Mavs a chance to win series

Mesa State’s Blake Carlquist, No. 11, is embraced by the team as Grant Vickers, No. 7, is greeted by another group after Vickers scored in the bottom of the ninth inning for the win in Saturday’s first game of a double header at Suplizio Field

Mesa State got a reprieve.

The Mavericks were trailing Colorado Christian 3-2 in the top of the seventh inning Saturday when a hail storm hit at Suplizio Field. Ten minutes after it ended, the field was covered with hail and puddles gathered around the infield.

After discussions among the administration, coaches and the city of Grand Junction grounds crew, the decision was made to resume the game at 1 p.m. today.

The Cougars have two runners on with one out and their leadoff hitter, Chad Barnhill, at the plate.

“I can’t tell you whether this (suspended game) is good or bad,” Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said. “These type of situations have occurred in regionals and nationals. It’s an opportunity to see how we handle it. Our first concern is their runners on first and second with one out, then we’ll need to try to execute a way to score at least one run.

“We’ll run scenarios tonight and do an arm check in the morning. We’ve got to look at it as a challenge. I don’t know this if this game has any bearing on the end result.

“We’re fighting to host a regional. It might be wrong to look at it that way. We’ve got to play the game and not worry about things out of our control.”

The 12th-ranked Mavericks (39-10, 29-7 RMAC), who entered the weekend leading the nation in scoring (11.1 runs per game), are having trouble scoring against Colorado Christian. Mesa State has left 35 runners on base, including nine in the suspended game.

The Mavs stranded 10 base runners in a 7-6 come-from-behind victory in Saturday’s first game of a scheduled doubleheader.

“We’ve had plenty of opportunities to take a lead and haven’t cashed in,” Hanks said. “We aren’t firing on all cylinders right now. I don’t think that’s necessarily bad because if we allow it too, it can sharpen us and get us back to more mid-season.

“We’re fighting some demons right now. Guys are pressing a little bit. Too many guys are trying to do too much themselves and Colorado Christian is playing really well.

“They are in a position they aren’t playing with any pressure and I think our guys are, but I don’t think we should be. Over the last three weeks our approach hasn’t been consistent.

We need to get through tomorrow, freshen up, not only our bodies, but our attitudes, our outlook. I think our guys are carrying around some pressure they don’t need to be carrying.

The important thing is we get our minds straight. We haven’t executed the situational baseball this weekend like we have the majority of the season.”

The Mavericks had to rally in Saturday’s first game, winning on a double steal in the bottom of the ninth.

Grant Vickers reached on an error with two outs and advanced to third on Marty Rover’s single. Rover stole second, drawing a throw from the Cougars’ catcher, but no one was covering second, allowing Vickers to walk home with the winning run.

Andy Williams (4-0) picked up the victory in relief of Scott Bachman, who limited the Cougars to two runs on five hits through six innings.

Colorado Christian (14-35, 8-27 RMAC) got off to a good start in the second game, scoring three runs in the first inning on back to back doubles.

Mesa State starting pitcher Brent Lamaster shut the Cougars down after that, not allowing a hit. He pitched into the seventh but was lifted after experiencing an irregular heart beat.

The Mavericks were able to scratch out two runs in the third on a two-run double by Matt Bodenchuk, who will get an opportunity to hit in the bottom of the seventh in the completion of the final game of the regular season today.


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