Kaiser is A-Oh!-K
Outfielder continues hot hitting for Mavs
Austin Kaiser isn’t trying to be a hero.
The Colorado Mesa senior outfielder is simply trying to be a team player, but he is putting up hero-like numbers for the Mavericks’ baseball team.
Kaiser went 5 for 6 with a home run and five RBI in the Mavericks’ doubleheader sweep of Adams State on Saturday at Suplizio Field. The 25th-ranked Mavericks won 12-3 and 6-0 and will go for the series sweep at noon today.
Mesa (20-6, 14-3 RMAC) is 15-0 at home this season.
Kaiser was a triple away from hitting for the cycle in the first game with a home run, two doubles and a single.
“I’m just squaring something up again, and it turned out well,” Kaiser said of missing the cycle. “I wasn’t any way thinking that. I was just trying to get another hit and extend the inning.”
He drove in the first run of the game with a double to left-center, beating the throw to second base by hustling out of the batter’s box.
With a runner on third base and one out in the third inning, he hit a fly deep to left-center field that cleared the fence just to the right of the double-decker wall to give Mesa a 3-0 lead.
“That’s just another situation, runner on third, less than two outs,” Kaiser said of the home run. “My job is to hit a fly ball, score him and get a sac fly. That’s honestly all I was trying to do. I didn’t think it went out. I thought, ‘Perfect, sac fly, just what we need,’ then it cleared the fence.”
Kaiser has 11 RBI in 12 plate appearances with a runner on third and less than one out this season.
In the fourth, he delivered a run-scoring single for a 6-0 lead. The Mavericks added five more runs in the inning, including two on a Kevin Mitchell double.
Kaiser leads the RMAC in hitting (.505), slugging percentage (.789), on-base percentage (.533), runs scored (29), hits (48), RBI (32) and stolen bases (12).
“Honestly, what goes through my head every single game is I just pray I can be the best team player, the most selfless player I can be,” Kaiser said. “It’s not about me, it’s about the team. I ask God to give me a selfless attitude.
“I’m aware I’m hitting well, but like I said, I’m not trying to do any of this for myself. If that means hitting a sac fly to score a run, awesome. That’s all my approach is every at-bat.”
Kaiser’s offensive production was enough for Mesa starter Ryan Reno.
The junior left-hander (3-0) limited the Grizzlies to three hits in six innings for the victory in his second start of the season.
“They weren’t really looking for a curveball on the first pitch, so I was able to get ahead with my curveball and finish them off with a changeup or fastball,” Reno said.
The Grizzlies (10-18, 8-10 RMAC) avoided the shutout with three runs in the seventh off the versatile Garrett Woodward, who made his first appearance on the mound. Woodward played third base and pitched in junior college, but he has mostly played first base this season.
Joey Danner (4-2) threw his first complete game of the season to shut out the Grizzlies in the second game. The senior limited the Grizzlies to three hits in the seven-inning game.
“It took long enough,” Danner said of the complete game. “It’s only seven innings, so it should happen more often than that. It was a good effort today. Me and Walli (catcher Austin Wallingford) were on the same page all day. It was a good all-around game.”
Adams State limited Kaiser to an RBI single in the second game, but the Mavs got offense from other sources.
Nate Robertson gave Mesa a 2-0 lead with a two-run home run over the left-field wall in the fourth.
Sergio Valenzuela drove home a run and scored on Kaiser’s single in the fifth. Tony Audino had a run-scoring double and scored on Derrick Garcia’s single in the sixth.
“This is a special team because of our depth,” Kaiser said. “On top of that, our pitching staff is incredible. We run out there and were one inning from a shutout, then get a shutout in the second game.
“As a position player, it helps with our nerves. We’re confident our pitchers are going to go out there and throw strikes. We have so much trust in each other.”