Mavs pile on runs in rout of Mines
The day began with a players-only meeting.
It ended with a Colorado Mesa University RMAC doubleheader sweep of the Colorado School of Mines on Saturday at Canyon View Park.
One day after the Mavericks’ humiliating loss to the Colorado School of Mines, Mesa swept the Orediggers 20-9 and 8-6.
“We came together as a team this morning and had a talk,” CMU junior Braden Box said. “We had a common goal — we needed to play to our potential rather than to the level of other teams we are playing.
“We decided to put it on them a little bit. Our goal was 20 runs and we reached our goal.”
Mesa coach Chris Hanks shook up the lineup for good measure.
One of the changes was starting Austin Kaiser for the first time in his career.
The sophomore from Colorado Springs answered, going 4 for 7 with four runs and one RBI.
“It takes a lot of mental energy to maintain focus for a long season,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “That’s where a couple fresh guys might help. Kaiser gave us a big boost today. Here’s a third-year guy that hasn’t been on a trip. We tell the guys, the game finds you; make sure it finds you ready.”
Kaiser started both games of the doubleheader in place of senior Jeff Popick, who was home with the flu.
It was the second and third games of Kaiser’s career. He came in as a defensive replacement against Dixie State on Tuesday in his first college game.
“I see it as a blessing,” Kaiser said. “I work hard every day. To have this opportunity was special.”
Kaiser made an immediate impact.
With the Mavericks trailing 2-1, Kaiser led off the bottom of the second inning with a triple. He scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.
“I wasn’t thinking triple,” Kaiser said. “I was looking for a base hit to get some runs going. I was just looking for something to square up.”
Mesa (14-7, 8-3 RMAC) added three more runs in the inning, including two off a Colton Little home run, for a 5-2 lead.
The Mavericks blew it open in the third, scoring seven runs to lead 12-4. Dustin Fackrell had a two-run single and Colton Schoelkopf had a three-run double.
Little was 3 for 3 with a home run and four RBI. Schoelkopf was 3 for 5 with a home run four RBI. Box was 4 for 5 with three runs scored and two RBI.
There were five home runs hit in the windy conditions at the spacious ballpark.
Senior left-hander Jared Christensen (5-1) allowed six runs on 11 hits and struck out four in 4 1/3 innings for the victory.
Senior right-hander Dylan Evans (2-0) picked up the win in the second game. He allowed three earned runs on eight hits and struck out five in six innings.
He fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first with the aid of two errors from the defense, but the Mavs didn’t let it keep them down.
The first four Mesa batters reached and scored in the bottom of the first with two coming home on Fackrell’s single.
Both starting pitchers settled down in the windy conditions, pitching a shutout until the sixth when the Mavs added four runs for an 8-3 lead. Nate Robertson, Little and Box had RBI singles.
Mines pushed three across in the top of the seventh before closer Derek Benham struck out a pinch hitter to end the game.