Mavs bound for Texas
A Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament title might not have been enough for the Colorado Mesa University baseball team to host a third NCAA regional, and the Mavericks will never know.
Colorado Mesa (44-9) received the No. 2 seed in the region and plays St. Mary’s University of San Antonio in the first round in Kingsville, Texas, at a time to be announced Thursday.
“We’re where I thought we’d be regardless if we won or lost (the RMAC championship),” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “St. Mary’s being the fifth seed surprised me a little bit. St. Mary’s is a good program. We’ll have to be on point, and we will. They will be a real test.
“It’s a tough draw. There’s a chance it’s the toughest draw in the tournament, but there are a lot of unknowns.”
St. Mary’s (37-15), ranked 13th in the nation, won its fourth consecutive Heartland Conference regular-season title this year.
St. Mary’s is led by pitcher Rene Solis, a Tino Martinez Award finalist for national player of the year last year, and pitcher Matt McClain is a semifinalist for the award this year.
“It’s an exciting challenge,” Hanks said. “We have to beat good people. We’ll respect them.”
Texas A&M-Kingsville (39-16), the Lone Star Conference tournament champion, is the top seed. The Javelinas are ranked 27th in the national coaches poll and play No. 6 seed and RMAC tournament champion CSU-Pueblo (32-20) in the first round.
“Mesa is a great club. For us to beat them here is a tribute to these guys,” CSU-Pueblo coach Stan Sanchez said of his team. “Our league is going to represent. I believe our league will do a great job.”
St. Edward’s (Texas) University (38-15) won the Heartland Conference tournament title and is the third seed. The Hilltoppers play No. 4 seed Angelo State (Texas) University (36-19). The Rams got a bid over Lone Star Conference regular-season champion Tarleton State (Texas) University (34-16-1).
St. Mary’s is making its sixth regional trip. The Rattlers reached the Division II World Series last year and won the 2001 Division II national title.
Colorado Mesa is making its 11th trip to the NCAA Division II tournament in coach Chris Hanks’ 15 seasons. The Mavericks won a Central Region title in 2009 to advance to the Division II World Series.
“We have to play fundamentally sound,” Hanks said. “We made some critical mistakes today. If we clean it up, we’ll be OK.”
The Mavericks will finalize practice and travel plans this morning.
There are eight regions with six teams in each region in the Division II tournament.
The eight region champions advance to the Division II World Series May 25–June 1 in Cary, N.C.