Mavs use big hits to win first game at Div. II World Series

Mesa State’s Mike Provencher (20) reacts after belting a three-run home run in the seventh inning against Belmont Abbey College

CARY, N.C. — Brent Lamaster admitted he was a little nervous taking the mound Saturday for the Mesa State College baseball team in its first NCAA Division II World Series game.

The senior right-hander, though, wasn’t fazed by his usual slow start. Lamaster settled down in Mesa State’s 7-2 victory in front of 762 fans in an opening round NCAA Division II World Series game at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.

The sixth-ranked Mavericks (44-13) play Emporia (Kan.) State at 3 p.m. (MDT) on Monday.
Lamaster (7-1) limited the 10th-ranked Crusaders (38-25) to two runs, both in the first inning, on six hits, four walks and struck out four in
52/3 innings.

“I was definitely nervous,” Lamaster said. “I took the same approach as I do in the past.  I had some moisture on my hands and tried to get them dry. I had trouble locating my pitches. After the first inning, I settled in, started throwing strikes. They hit the ball hard, but with the humidity, I guess it knocked the ball down a little bit. ”

He walked two of the first three batters and gave up a two-run single to Danny Brion, but Lamaster got out of the inning despite the Crusaders loading the bases.

“He was dealing with some moisture on his hands,” Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said.

“Obviously he found it after that first inning and put up some zeros, that’s what was big. The two spot in the first is never a great feeling, but with this club, they’ve been resilient all year. I thought our guys played well.”

Belmont Abbey’s starting pitcher, Tyler Powell, kept the Mavericks in check until the fourth inning when Craig Lanzarotta gave Mesa a 3-2 lead with a two-run home run.

“I got in there with Grant (Vickers) on base,” Lanzarotta said. “ He fell behind in the count. He threw a fastball, I sat on it and squared up.”

Lamaster got into some trouble in the sixth when he gave up a lead-off single and a two-out walk.

With Mesa State clinging to a 3-2 lead, Hanks brought in freshman Garrett Carpenter.

“We had great plans for Garrett and he hurt his back early in the year,” Hanks said. “He came in and stuffed Chico State in a series, then we lost him for a month and a half. He’s a tough sucker. I just wanted a good competitor on the mound. In the World Series in a competitive ballgame, that competitive desire is the most important thing for me.”

Carpenter was able to get a fly out to get out of the inning.

“I was excited to come in and do my job,” Carpenter said. “I felt good about it.

“All the practices, coaches push me to do my best. With coach Jeff Rodgers working with me in the bullpen, I was able to throw my pitches on the field.”

Carpenter faced another sticky situation in the seventh when he hit Daniel Kassouf, then gave up a single. Carpenter fielded a bunt attempt and was able to get the lead runner at third base, then got a fly out and a strikeout to keep a 3-2 lead intact.

Mesa put the game away with a four-run seventh.

Marty Rover reached on an error to lead off the inning, then Austin Buck walked. Kevin Becker put down a sacrifice bunt, reaching on an errant throw and allowing Rover to score from third. One out later, Mike Provencher followed with a three-run home run.

“We went into each inning, once we got to 3-2, trying to get someone on, move them over and drive them in so the solo home run doesn’t hurt you late,” Hanks said. “As a result we got a timely home run from Mikey Provencher. ”


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