Mavericks clinch RMAC West title
Mitch Corwin proved Friday night’s big hit wasn’t a fluke.
One day after he came through with the game-winning hit, the Colorado Mesa University junior outfielder hit a walk-off single up the middle Saturday to give the No. 23 Mavericks a doubleheader sweep of RMAC rival CSU-Pueblo at Suplizio Field.
Colorado Mesa (35-10, 29-6 RMAC) won 8-2 and 5-4 to win the season series against CSU-Pueblo with one game left at noon today. Mesa clinched the RMAC West Division title and remains four games ahead of New Mexico Highlands (32-12, 25-10 RMAC) for the RMAC regular-season title with five games left.
“It’s huge, but we don’t want to be lackadaisical now,” Corwin said. “We still need to do our business and get the job done. We’ve been doing a great job of closing games out.
“To have this happen in our favor now is great. It’s great to have it happen in the beginning of the season, but at the end to have that confidence to close games out is big-time.”
Corwin singled home the winning run with two on and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning of the second game.
“Today was an ideal situation,” he said. “You want to be the hero when the game’s on the line. If you don’t want to be the hero, you don’t need to be playing baseball.
“With one out, it makes it easier. You’re looking for something up and he happened to leave it up a little bit. I was able to hit it up the middle.”
Corwin is 5 for 10 with five RBI in the weekend series.
Mesa built a 3-0 lead with a delayed steal and back-to-back singles from Nate Robertson and Braden Box.
The ThunderWolves (25-20, 22-13 RMAC) came back to tie the score and take a 4-3 lead in the sixth with the aid of a Mesa error.
Mesa first baseman Dustin Fackrell evened the score with a home run over the 365-foot sign in left-center field to lead off the bottom of the sixth.
Redshirt freshman Dakota Behr (3-0) picked up the victory in relief. Starter Dylan Evans allowed three runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.
“Dylan would’ve stayed longer,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “The only reason we took him out was we were trying to get the left-left matchup. He kept us in the game.
“They had chances to take the lead, but our bullpen didn’t allow it. That’s what gave us a chance. A lot of people contributed.”
Jared Christensen (10-2) pitched a complete game for the win in the first game. The senior left-hander allowed two runs on eight hits and struck out six in seven innings.
“I felt good about it,” Christensen said. “I had some control issues a little bit in the first couple innings, but I had (Colton) Schoelkopf behind the plate. He’s great about getting you to focus.
“Having those guys put up runs early in the game was so great. Then you can relax and throw.”
He received run support.
“Jared was sharp,” Hanks said. “He was changing speeds, pitching on the edges. He did a wonderful job. We’ve seen that a lot from Jared. He gave us a chance to win. Everybody was on point.”
Jeff Popick doubled home two runs in the first inning and scored on Justin Rosales’ double for a 3-0 lead.
Corwin hit a two-run single in the second inning for a 5-0 lead. Rosales hit his sixth home run of the season in the fifth for a 6-0 lead.
Popick added a two-run single in the sixth.