Mesa sweeps Metro: ‘The Pit’ plays big role in win

'The Pit' plays big role in win

Colorado Mesa University’s Austin Wallingford lays down a sacrifice bunt to move runners into scoring position Sunday during the Mavericks 5-2 win, and series sweep, over Metro State.

The early morning rain dampened the field, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of “The Pit.”

The group of mostly Hawaiian Colorado Mesa University students, who call themselves “The Pit” showed up again Sunday afternoon at Suplizio Field with their drum chirping throughout the game in support of the Mavericks baseball team.

The 20th-ranked Mavericks (27-8, 21-5 RMAC) rewarded them and the rest of the spectators in attendance with a 5-2 victory over Metro State. Mesa improved to 20-0 at home and are two wins shy of tying a school record of 22 consecutive home games in 2009. Mesa qualified for the NCAA Division II World Series that season.

“They’re great,” CMU junior shortstop Nate Robertson said of “The Pit.” “They bring a great atmosphere to the game. They’re pretty funny and enjoyable to listen to.

“You look at our home record. That has a lot to do with the atmosphere and the fan support we get. They’re a big part of it.”

There were a half-dozen members of “The Pit” in attendance on Sunday afternoon despite the cool weather, but they were just as boisterous as any other game when they’ve had as many as 20.

They have a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account to keep everyone up to date on games and plans.

“We showed up one game and started talking trash,” said Mana Shigematsu, a roommate of CMU Hawaiian pitcher Trent Allianic. “We just got more creative, I guess.”

After games, they greet and acknowledge the team as they head into the locker room.

“Those kids are awesome (in ‘The Pit’),” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “I hope they started a tradition here. I like the way they are enthusiastic. I believe they remain classy. There’s no vulgar language. It’s college kids having a good time. We’d like more fans to come out. I think we have a good product.”

Senior pitcher Kyle Davis appreciated their presence with him on the mound.

“Obviously, we have the home field advantage with ‘The Pit’ over there,” he said. “Those guys are crazy good for us. They help us out a lot.”

Davis pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, getting two fly outs to escape without giving up a run. The senior (4-0) limited the Roadrunners to one run on nine hits and struck out three.

“It was a weird morning,” Davis said. “I didn’t know when we were going to play or if we were going to play. The grounds crew did a great job with this field, though.

“The coaches did a good job keeping us informed. I was able to get ready like I would for a normal game time. The extra 15 minutes didn’t hurt at all.”

The Mavericks took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning when Kevin Mitchell doubled home a run and scored on a ground out.

Mesa added one run in the fifth. Derrick Garcia singled with one out and scored on Garrett Carpenter’s single to right for a 3-0 lead.

Metro State (10-21, 8-19 RMAC) came back with a run in the seventh and had the bases loaded with no outs, but Dakota Behr came in to get two strikeouts and a pop up to end the inning.

The Roadrunners added one more run in the eighth to get within a run at 3-2.

Austin Kaiser singled in the eighth inning to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. He was 1 for 4 and is hitting .519.

Two outs later, Robertson singled home two insurance runs for a 5-2 lead.

“We needed to add a couple more runs,” Robertson said. “I was looking for a fastball inside I could hit and is just blessed I found a hole.”


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