Mavs earn first series win of softball season

Mesa State College catcher Meagan Hennessy, left, stretches for the tag as Ft. Lewis’ Stevie Benedict tries to go around her to score during the top of the second inning of the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader at Bergman Field.

Regaining confidence takes time.

So does climbing up the standings when you go 0-4 to start the season and have done nothing but split four-game series since.

The Mesa State College softball made strides in the cold, wind and rain Wednesday night at
Bergman Field, sweeping Fort Lewis 5-3 and 7-5 to claim its first series victory of the season.

And despite a sloppy first game and a hang-onto-your-hats finish in the nightcap, the Mavericks (13-13, 9-11 RMAC) will take a series sweep any way they can get one. The Mavs split the first half of the home-and-home series at Durango two weeks ago.

“We’re getting better,” Mesa State coach Kris Mort said. “We’ve won six of our last eight games.

We’re climbing.

“Any time you lose a series early in the year, it’s a long climb back to a winning record. You’ll never get there splitting, and it’s three weeks winning three of four. You’ve got to go 4-0 just to even the table. It’s taken us all of four weeks just to kind of climb back in.”

Three three-run home runs take a team a long way toward climbing back into a race.

Sara Jordan crushed a no-doubt home run to left to break a 2-2 tie in the first game and picked up the complete-game victory, allowing three runs on 11 hits. She struck out six and walked one.

The Mavs, who committed four errors in the first game, came up with a big play at the plate to prevent the Skyhawks (9-17, 6-14) from rallying in the top of the seventh inning.

With no outs and two on, Jordan Willis singled to left, scoring one run. The ball was bobbled by Gabi Parra, but she quickly recovered and got the ball in as Amanda Willmon was rounding third.

The relay from Stacy Ball to Meagan Hennessy at the plate was perfect. Jordan got ground balls to first and third to end the game.

Jordan and Lauren Cross hit back-to-back doubles and Ashlee Duffy singled up the middle to produce two runs in the second for the Mavericks. In the fifth, Jamie Prather and Parra singled ahead of Jordan, who delivered her sixth home run of the season.

Mesa State got another solid pitching performance in the second game from Jessica Rayman, who was working on a shutout until she tired in the seventh inning, loading the bases and then walking home a run. She ended up allowing four runs on eight hits. She walked three and struck out four to up her record to 4-4.

In came Jordan, who gave up two infield singles and a sacrifice fly to get the Skyhawks within two, but she struck out the 10th batter of the inning to secure the win.

The Mavs got Rayman off to a good start when Cross hit a three-run home run to center, her eighth of the season. Parra hit a three-run shot to right-center, her fourth, in the Mavs’ four-run fourth inning.

The Mavs, who play at CSU-Pueblo this weekend, were one run away from ending the game on the run rule after a pair of base hits, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly gave them a 7-0 lead in the fourth.

Despite having runners in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, they couldn’t get the base hit they needed.

“When you’ve got somebody staggering and on the ropes, you’ve got to keep them there and deliver the knockout punch,” Mort said. “We need to get better at that.”


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