Mesa State College baseball team wins Friday night
A game-winning home run is usually cause for celebration.
It wasn’t for the Mesa State College baseball team Friday night. It was more of a relief.
Kevin Becker’s two-run blast in the sixth inning helped the 12th-ranked Mavericks salvage a split in an RMAC doubleheader with fourth-year program Colorado Christian at Suplizio Field.
Mesa State (38-10, 28-7 RMAC) won the second game 6-4 in front of 2,861 on Little League Family Night after the Cougars (14-34, 8-26 RMAC) handed Mesa a 10-5 defeat in the first game. The teams play a doubleheader at 1 p.m. today at Suplizio Field to wrap up the regular season.
“We needed that (second) game,” Becker said. “After that first game and a rough last weekend, it was good to get this win and we need to take it into (today).”
It was only the Mavericks’ fourth victory in their past nine games.
Aaron Guinn (4-2) picked up the win in relief of Jason Fronczak. Guinn limited the Cougars to one run on three hits and struck out four in two innings of relief.
Although Fronczak didn’t get the decision, the Mavericks’ undefeated record with him starting remained intact (11-0).
“We had a huge performance by Fronczak and Guinn to shut it down,” Becker said. “We needed pitching (to perform) and they did.”
Colorado Christian’s Nicholas Leader shut down the nation’s leading scorers (11.1 runs per game) in the first game for the Cougars’ second win against Mesa in their four years, both this season.
The left-hander from Steamboat Springs (5-6) limited Mesa to five runs on 12 hits and struck out seven in his second consecutive complete game performance of the season.
“(Mike) Provencher and (Matt) Bodenchuk are the best hitters in the conference,” Leader said.
“I tried to keep them off-balance with my curveball and slider. Both of them hit bombs off me (earlier this season).”
Provencher and Bodenchuk each hit home runs off Leader again Friday. Provencher hit a two-run home run off Leader in the first inning and Bodenchuk had a two-run shot in the ninth.
In between, Leader scattered seven hits, giving up no more than two singles in any inning.
Between games, Mesa State coach Chris Hanks challenged his players to respond, and they did.
“We needed that,” Becker said. “We had enough of him drilling us and the losses. We need to get going.”
Becker got it started with his eighth triple of the season, tying the Mavs’ single-season record, and scored on Provencher’s single.
“Me and Little have been talking about it,” Becker said. “It’s quite a thrill to get that. I was thinking three right out of the box. It was a good start to the second game.”
Mesa added two runs in the second, only to see the Cougars come back and even the score in the third. The Mavs regained the lead on Justin Little’s RBI triple in the fourth, but Christian tied the game again in the fifth.
Little was 5 for 8 and scored two runs in the doubleheader. He broke the Mesa State career stolen bases record in the first game and now has 65.