Lamaster outpitches best RMAC pitcher in Mavs’ win
Brent Lamaster made his first start at home for the Mesa State College baseball team and it couldn’t have come in a more nerve-racking spot.
The Mavericks faced a CSU-Pueblo team hot on their tails in the RMAC and the senior right-hander was going against possibly the best pitcher in the conference in CSU-Pueblo’s Mario Mattivi.
Lamaster hung with Mattivi and emerged as the winning pitcher in the Mavericks’ 6-3 victory over CSU-Pueblo in a matchup of RMAC frontrunners Friday at Suplizio Field.
“It was a big change for me,” Lamaster said. “Overall, I didn’t have it today. I had some trouble locating my pitches, but I battled through it.”
The third-ranked Mavericks (25-5, 15-2 RMAC) moved three games ahead of CSU-Pueblo (23-9, 12-5 RMAC) with three games left in the series. The teams meet for a doubleheader at
1:30 p.m. today at Suplizio Field.
“We know Pueblo has good pitching and we knew the Mattivi kid would be tough,” Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said. “That’s the best kid we’ve seen. I was impressed.”
The Mavericks expected runs to be a little tougher to score, but they still managed to grab an early lead.
“We wanted to come out and be aggressive against him,” said Mesa leadoff hitter Justin Little, who was 3 for 4 with one run and two RBI. “He attacks the zone and doesn’t walk a lot of people. It is good to get a win against that caliber guy for later in the season.”
Mesa got to Mattivi (6-3) in the third. Corey Todhunter led off with a single, advanced to third on Marty Rover’s single and scored on a balk. Andrew Martinez singled Rover to third and Kevin Becker’s sacrifice fly scored Rover for a 2-1 lead. Matt Bodenchuk singled home Martinez for the third run.
Mattivi (6-3), a preseason All-RMAC pick, gave up four earned runs on nine hits in seven innings.
The Mavericks added a run in the fourth on Justin Little’s double to right-center field, but the ThunderWolves rallied in the sixth.
Rutger Bovard led off with a single and scored on Dan Ninomiya single. Lamaster (4-0) hit the next batter to load the bases, then walked McLaughlin to bring home a run, cutting Mesa’s lead to 4-3.
Scott Bachman came in relief of Lamaster and got the Mavericks out of trouble. Lamaster (4-0) limited the ThunderWolves to three runs on five hits, but surrendered four walks to one strikeout.
“Brent really set us up well,” Bachman said. “He was throwing good and got in a little trouble there, but that’s what having a deep staff is all about, being able to turn to somebody and get the job done. I know I have a good defense and just need to let them get the job done.”
Bachman struck out Matt Wismann for the second out, then got a fly ball for the third out.
“I normally throw a lot of off-speed,” Bachman said. “I caught (Wismann) looking on the last one. Look for a ground ball and let infield make a play.”
From there, Bachman limited the ThunderWolves to two hits and two walks in 31/3 innings of relief.
“Scott gave us a lift,” Hanks said. “Brent didn’t have his best stuff. He didn’t have the velocity. I think he was trying to locate too much. Bachman put out a potential fire.”
Mesa added a run in the seventh when Mike Provencher singled home Justin Little and one in the eighth on a Little RBI single to left.
Aaron Guinn picked up his fifth save when catcher Grant Vickers picked off Bovard at first base for the final out.