Mesa State baseball begins series Friday at No. 6 Winona
The Mesa State College baseball team did enough in the regular season to hold on to the No. 1 ranking in the Central Region.
Now, the Mavericks will get a chance on their home field to qualify for the NCAA Division II World Series.
Despite going 0-2 last week in the RMAC tournament, Mesa State (39-13) was awarded the top seed and the right to host the six-team tournament this week.
“I almost feel as though the guys have been looking forward to this for so long,” Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said. “We wrapped up the (RMAC) title and we didn’t play well down the stretch. Teams played good against us.
“It’s a new opportunity to correct the things we’ve done poorly the last two or three weeks.”
It is Mesa’s ninth NCAA tournament bid and fifth in the past six years. The Mavs last hosted a regional in 2005, when they were in the West Region.
Mesa State opens play at 7 p.m. on Thursday night against RMAC rival CSU-Pueblo
(39-20) at Suplizio Field.
Also making the field are New Mexico Highlands (39-18), Minnesota State-Mankato (38-15), Wayne State (Neb.) College (42-13) and Southwest Minnesota State (27-13).
The survivor of the double-elimination tournament advances to the World Series from May 23-30 in Cary, N.C. Mesa State has never reached the Division II World Series.
The Mavericks are looking to rebound from their worst stretch of the season, losing six of their past 10 games. Hanks believes his team is ready.
“I think the guys earned the right to host,” he said. “I’m more concerned about getting the wheels rolling straight on this machine. We had a good workout Friday and one of our best of the season Saturday. It was spirited.”