Mesa opens RMAC with win over Mines
Colton Little said the Colorado Mesa University baseball team had something to prove in the RMAC tournament, and it did.
The No. 22 Mavericks dominated from the start, defeating Colorado School of Mines 13-5 in the first round of the RMAC tournament Wednesday at Rawlings Field in Pueblo. CMU (39-12), which remained No. 2 in the all-important NCAA Central Region rankings, plays CSU-Pueblo at 3:30 p.m. today in the double-elimination tournament.
“We were a little sharper today,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “Our energy level was a lot better than at any point last weekend at Mines. Concentrating that hard is hard work. We were solid with that focus. Now the challenge is to maintain it.”
Senior pitcher Jared Christensen answered the call to get Mesa back on track after dropping the final two games of the season to Mines last weekend. The left-hander (12-2), who was selected the RMAC pitcher of the year Wednesday, limited Mines to four earned runs on nine hits in 8 1/3 innings for the victory.
“Jared was outstanding on the mound,” Hanks said. “He didn’t give them a chance. We tried to get him to finish, but they put together a couple hits in the ninth.”
Cody Lahman picked up the last two outs for Christensen.
Little provided a lot of energy in the leadoff spot, going 3 for 6 with four RBI. He had a three-run home run in the sixth.
Mesa put the Orediggers in a hole early, scoring seven runs in the third inning for an 8-0 lead. Five of its seven runs in the third inning came with two out.
“We had some guys with good at-bats with two outs,” Hanks said, “a couple cases with two strikes.”
Little’s three-run home run in the sixth gave Mesa a 13-1 lead.
“The home run was a real back-breaker,” Hanks said. “That put it out of reach.”
CMU placed 12th in the NCAA Division II Central/West Super Regional at Wigwam Golf Resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz.
Mesa’s Brandon Bingaman placed 29th with a three-round score of 224. Sean Robbins was one shot behind him with 225. Matt Weiss carded a 230 and Eric Farmer shot 232 for the Mavericks.
The top three teams and the top three individual not on one of those team advance to the NCAA Division II national championships May 16-19 in Louisville, Ky.
California State-Stanislaus won the regional team title by four strokes over Chico State, 865-869. Colorado School of Mines took third place with 871 to qualify for the national championships.
Basalt graduate Jim Knous of Colorado School of Mines took first place with a 7-under-par 209. Chico State’s Kyle Souza took second at 211.