Mavs’ season over after regional loss to Kingsville

Whether it was the short recovery time after a tough loss or the humidity, the Colorado Mesa University baseball team failed to recover.

Texas A&M-Kingsville eliminated the sixth-ranked Mavericks 3-0 early Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Division II South Central Regional at Nolan Ryan Field in Kingsville, Texas.

Colorado Mesa (45-11) was shut out for 16 consecutive innings going back to Friday night’s extra-inning loss to St. Edward’s (Texas) University.

“That’s a tough turnaround,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said of going from Friday’s late game to Saturday’s 11 a.m. game. “I don’t know if that had an affect on us or not.

“The game last night changed the whole complexion of the tournament. Everything went to hell in a hand basket quick.”

The Mavericks led St. Edward’s 5-2 and had the bases loaded with no outs in the fifth, but they failed to score. The Hilltoppers rallied in the ninth to force extra innings and won 6-5 in 11 innings.

Texas A&M-Kingsville (41-17) didn’t need to rally against Mesa as pitcher Zachary Pettiford threw a complete-game shutout. The senior right-hander limited Mesa to eight hits and struck out six on 99 pitches.

“Their kid pitched a good game,” Hanks said. “We weren’t sharp with our bats. I was disappointed with our approach at the plate. He controlled us.

“We had a few times with a runner at second. We hit too many fly balls. We preach line drive and hard ground ball.”

Twelve of Mesa’s 27 outs were on fly balls.

Mesa had three runners reach second base, but none advanced to third. Colton Little was the only leadoff batter in an inning to reach base, doing so with a single in the fifth, but Jake Kluge grounded into a fielder’s choice. Mesa left seven runners on base.

All eight of Mesa’s hits were singles. The Mavericks had one stolen base, two sacrifice flies and no sacrifice bunts in their three regional games. They did hit four home runs.

“Our approach at the plate disappoints me the most,” Hanks said. “It was almost panic-like. We went back to a grip it and rip it.

“One of our strengths is team speed, but we couldn’t lay down a successful drag bunt all weekend.”

Colorado Mesa was fourth in the nation in hitting (.350), fourth in the nation in runs scored (467) and fifth in stolen bases (142) entering regionals.

Mesa pitcher Kyle Davis (8-1) lost for the first time in his career. The junior (16-1) allowed three runs on five hits and two walks, and he struck out six in six innings. Cody Lahman gave up one hit and one walk in two innings of relief.

“Kyle Davis and Cody Lahman pitched well enough for us to win,” Hanks said. “We needed position guys to come through.”

The Javelinas pushed two runs across in the second inning, including one on a sacrifice fly. They added an insurance run in the fourth.

Colorado Mesa tied a single-season school record for fewest losses in a season and was four wins away from tying the single-season victories mark since becoming a four-year program in 1975. There were 12 seniors on the team.

“It was a good team,” Hanks said. “They just didn’t finish. That’s the bottom line. We had a nice year. We got into the regional. We just didn’t finish.”


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