In complete control
Delay pitches Mavs past Mines
Colorado Mesa pitcher Matt Delay was sneezing and coughing when he woke up Thursday morning, but he still wanted to pitch in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament opener.
He drank tea and took some medicine, but he said the adrenaline of pitching helped him.
“Being sick was something I had to put out of my head rather than use it,” Delay said. “I really wanted to get this game for us and set us up to keep going.”
Delay had enough strength to pitch a complete game in the seventh-ranked Mavericks’ 6-0 victory over the Colorado School of Mines on Thursday night at Suplizio Field.
“I wanted to go out there and battle,” Delay said. “They fought with me twice this year. They don’t like to strike out, and they put the ball in play. Luckily the defense played well tonight, and everything fell into place.”
The right-hander improve to 8-0 by limiting the Orediggers (24-22) to six hits, and he struck out three batters in nine innings.
“He was outstanding,” Hanks said. “Matt pitched ahead. We talked about that a lot. Tonight, he was as good as he’s been all year since the Regis start probably. He didn’t let them string things together, and we got some good defense.
“Nate (Robertson) made a couple good plays behind him. That’s what you’ve got to do this time of year. Everyone is deserving of being here.”
Mines’ starter Nate Olinger matched Delay through the first four innings with a shutout.
“It was a great game for the first four innings,” Mines coach Jerod Goodale said. “Nate pitched great. I thought our guys were ready to play. We had a few chances with runners on early. We hit some balls hard, but they didn’t find a hole. I’m proud of our guys and our effort. Unfortunately we came up a little short.”
Mesa (38-10) finally pushed a run across in the fifth. Kevan Elcock reached second base when the Orediggers’ first baseman dropped a towering popup. Sergio Valenzuela walked, then Elcock and Valenzuela advanced on an errant pickoff attempt.
“That got it rolling, then I think guys loosened, and we took advantage of some mistakes they made,” Hanks said.
Garrett Carpenter and Austin Kaiser followed with sacrifice flies for a 2-0 lead, and Nate Robertson extended the lead to 3-0 with a solo home run to left field.
“It’s been a struggle all season,” Robertson said. “Hopefully this gets me rolling.
“I was looking for an inside pitch. He threw me a slider. I was able to stay through it and get good extension on it.”
Austin Wallingford lifted a fly ball over the left-field wall in the sixth for a 4-0 lead.
Carpenter doubled to lead off the seventh and scored when Mines attempted to pick off Kaiser at first base.
Olinger (7-3) was pulled later in the inning. He allowed two earned runs on 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Wallingford led off the eighth with a triple to right center and scored on Elcock’s sacrifice fly.
The Mavericks play CSU-Pueblo (28-22) in the winners’ bracket game at 3:30 p.m. today. The winner advances to the championship game Saturday.
“I think they’ll have (Mike) Fabrizio go,” Hanks said. “That’s a heck of a challenge. We’ll get to see the (RMAC) pitcher of the year. That’s who I’d expect. I’d be disappointed if it’s not.”
Hanks said he’s starting Matt Allen on the mound today. Allen has started two games this season, but he is 6-1 with a 1.93 ERA in 12 appearances.
Allen is starting in Joey Danner’s spot after Danner injured his arm last weekend against Mines.
“Joey Danner got a cortisone shot (Wednesday),” Hanks said. “He hurt himself against Mines. He may not pitch this week.
“This provides an opportunity for Matt. He’s a competitive kid. He deserves the opportunity, and I think we’ll play well behind him.”
CSU-Pueblo 15, New Mexico Highlands 9: Lonny Schoon hit two home runs and drove in four runs to lead the ThunderWolves to victory.
CSU-Pueblo scored six runs in the fourth inning to break the game open and added four more in the sixth for a 13-4 lead.
The win came with a price. The ThunderWolves didn’t throw RMAC pitcher of the year Mike Fabrizio, and they used seven pitchers who combined to walk 12 batters.
The Cowboys (31-19) left 17 runners on base and committed four errors in the loss.