Mavs lose to Pueblo in 10 innings
Colorado Mesa’s baseball team had its chances, but it was CSU-Pueblo that came up with the clutch hit.
Dominick Bregar led off the 10th inning with a home run to lift the ThunderWolves to a 5-4 victory over Colorado Mesa on Friday night at Rawlings Field in the first game of a four-game series for first place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
CSU-Pueblo (16-14, 12-7 RMAC) is three games behind in the overall standings with three games left in the series.
The 22nd-ranked Mavericks (21-7, 15-4 RMAC) gave up a two-run lead in the eighth inning, then forced extra innings, but they hurt themselves by leaving 16 runners on base.
“We left a small village on the bases,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “We had our chances to blow that open, then we made that critical error and threw the ball away on the bunt play. We showed resilience and had another opportunity to take the lead, but we couldn’t get a tough at-bat.
“I felt that could’ve been a 7-1 or 8-1 type game. We beat ourselves tonight.”
Garrett Woodward gave Mesa a 1-0 lead with a solo home run in the second inning, but CSU-Pueblo’s Mario Sanchez tied the game with a solo home run in the fourth.
Mesa’s Austin Kaiser, who is third in the nation in hitting, hit a two-run home run to left field in the fifth. It was his sixth home run of the season.
Mesa starting pitcher Matt Delay avoided trouble in the seventh when he induced a groundout to get out of a bases-loaded jam, but he was pulled in the eighth. The junior limited the ThunderWolves to one earned run on five hits, three walks and struck out three in seven innings.
Dakota Behr (0-2) relieved Delay with one runner on in the eighth, but he made a critical throwing error with two runners on base when he tried to get the lead runner at third base on a bunt. Instead, two runners scored to tie the game 3-3.
“Behr did everything right,” Hanks said. “The call was to (go to) third base. The ball beat the runner, but it was a low throw. Tony (Audino) had to stretch and missed it.”
Scott Hoyt followed with a run-scoring single to give the ThunderWolves a 4-3 lead.
Kaiser, who was 4 for 5 with two RBI, gave Mesa another chance. The senior led off the ninth with a double off CSU-Pueblo starter and RMAC preseason pitcher of the year Mike Fabrizio. Nate Robertson followed with a single to put runners on the corners.
Woodward followed with a RBI single to score Kaiser and tie the game 4-4. Austin Wallingford put down a successful sacrifice bunt to move Robertson and Woodward into scoring position.
“(Kaiser) is a warrior,” Hanks said. “He started everything. He fights at the plate. We need two, three or four more fighters like him.”
CSU-Pueblo pulled Fabrizio after an intentional walk. The senior allowed four runs on 11 hits, eight walks and struck out eight in 8 1/3 innings. He threw 148 pitches.
Doug Finley (2-1) came in and struck out Audino and pinch-hitter Jake Druce to force extra innings.
The teams play a doubleheader at 1 p.m. today at Rawlings Field in Pueblo.
The Colorado Mesa women began RMAC play with two victories, defeating Colorado Christian 8-1 and Western New Mexico 6-3 in Silver City, N.M.
The Mavericks (12-8, 2-0 RMAC) swept the doubles against Christian and won two of the three doubles matches against Western New Mexico.
Shannen McNamara, Rachel McLaughlin, Katie Kirby and Emily Dodson won singles matches in both duals.
The CMU men (9-8, 1-1 RMAC) defeated Colorado Christian 9-0, but lost 7-2 to Western New Mexico. Spencer Weinberg won the only singles match for Mesa against the Mustangs with a 6-1, 6-3 victory at No. 2 singles. He won 6-0, 6-1 against CCU.