Mesa State baseball team earns sweep of Highlands

A series sweep didn’t elude the Mesa State College baseball team this time.

The Mavericks completed a four-game RMAC sweep of New Mexico Highlands, winning Sunday’s finale 10-3 at Suplizio Field. Mesa State is on a five-game winning streak.

“I thought the guys locked in,” Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said. “I was glad to see they finished the job. They came with the right approach. We got on them and stayed on them. We kept manufacturing runs and that’s how you win baseball games.”

The third-ranked Mavericks (17-4, 7-1 RMAC) were able to produce 10 runs without an extra base hit and got solid pitching from Feather River (Calif.) College transfer Chris Shea.

The junior right-hander limited Highlands (9-10, 3-5) to three runs on four hits, despite walking five and striking out two in his second start of the season.

“Chris Shea is a good boy,” Hanks said. “He has good stuff. His command could’ve been a shade better. He pitched behind a little too often, but he had good enough stuff to get it by them. If he gets that command down, he’ll be real hard to beat.

“If he’s pitching in 0-1, 1-1 counts, teams will struggle against him.”

Shea (2-0) set down six of the first seven hitters through two innings before running into a little trouble. By then, the Mavs built a 5-0 lead.

Andrew Martinez and Justin Little drew bases-loaded walks in the second for Mesa State and Kevin Becker, who was 3 for 3 with three RBI, made the walks sting with a two-run single.

Shea walked the lead-off batter in the third, then gave up a single and another walk to load the bases.

The Cowboys’ Danny Brown singled home a run and another scored on a sacrifice fly before Shea got out of more trouble with a double play.

“I had a hard time controlling my pitches,” Shea said. “Coach has that confidence in me, so I just went out there and competed. The whole game was shaky. In between innings they worked with me on my mechanics. It was hard to find that rhythm. It worked out pretty decently.”

Mesa added four runs in the fifth with the help of two Highlands errors. Mike Provencher, who extended his hitting streak to 16 games in the first inning, singled home a run and scored on an error. Grant Vickers drove home a run and scored on Marty Rover’s single for a 9-2 lead.

The Mavericks’ bullpen extended its scoreless streak to six innings, but not without a challenge.

Highlands loaded the bases in the seventh with one out before Scott Bachman got a pop up and a ground ball to get out of it. Nate Towne set the Cowboys down in order in the eighth and Aaron Guinn held them to one hit in the ninth.


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