Mavericks fall apart
Mesa struggles all around in loss to Mines
The Colorado Mesa University baseball team hasn’t had the offensive production it’s accustomed to this season, but the pitching and defense have been there.
The Mavericks didn’t have any of it Friday, committing a season-high four errors in a 12-8 loss to the Colorado School of Mines at Canyon View Park.
It was the first time Mesa (12-7, 6-3 RMAC) lost the first game of a four-game series this season.
“Our focus was lousy beginning with (batting practice),” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “I told them at batting practice today our focus was not good. I thought initially as we came out (in the game) we altered that, but we lost it in the fourth, fifth inning.
“We thought it was going to be easy. It comes down to respect for the game. Things we preached, but hard for young players to learn.”
Mesa starting pitcher Nolan Snell (4-1) lost for the first time this season. The junior allowed nine runs, but five were unearned, on 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He had 10 strikeouts.
The Orediggers (6-7, 5-4 RMAC) were trailing 7-3 in the top of the sixth when they began to rally.
“We’ve got to play great defense, our pitchers got to throw strikes to give us a shot and try to battle,” Mines coach Jerod Goodale said. “We’re not going to hit a bunch of doubles or home runs. We know we’ve got to compete every at-bat, compete every inning and put pressure on the other team and see what happens.”
Mines kept putting the ball in play and making things happen, scoring six runs to take a 9-7 lead.
Matthew Pullos loaded the basses with an infield single, then Derek Skrdlant hit a ground ball to third base, but reached on an errant throw, allowing one run to score. One out later, Tyler Thornton drove home two runs with a base hit to right field. Zach Bothwell followed with a two-run double to right field and Bothwell advanced to third on an errant throw. He scored on another single before Snell was pulled.
“We lost our focus and that’s my fault,” Hanks said. “We lost focus in the dugout. Mines is a pesky team. They put the bat on the ball. They’re not going to thrill you with big power numbers, but they are tough outs.”
Mesa had an opportunity to answer in the bottom of the sixth with two runners on, no outs and their three, four and five hitters up. The Mavericks failed to score.
“We continue to leave runners on base when we can extend a lead or score runs,” Hanks said. “Those are things we have to get fixed.”
In the seventh, Mines turned to a football player to close out the victory.
Sophomore Eric Shannon, a wide receiver for the Orediggers, limited Mesa to no hits in 2 1/3 innings for his first save of the season and second of his college career.
“He’s kind of turned into that back end guy for us,” Goodale said. “He did a great job the last two weekends and continued that over this weekend.
“Every time he’s on there, we feel like we’ve got a shot.”