Mesa State baseball team splits doubleheader with New Mexico Highlands
Mesa State was five outs from winning Saturday’s opener of an RMAC doubleheader, but an errant throw gave New Mexico Highlands’ baseball team the break it needed.
The Mavericks held a 3-0 lead despite having only three hits when, with one out and a runner on first after a walk, Thomas King grounded to short. Ken Evanson’s throw to second was off the mark, and the Cowboys made Mesa pay in a 4-3 win.
Mesa came back for an 8-5 win in the second game and will try to clinch the series at 11:30 a.m. today.
A base hit loaded the bases and Eric Maupin doubled to left, driving in two runs off Jared Christensen.
Taylor Hamilton came on and struck out AJ Alexander, but gave up a two-run single to Luis Saenz. The one-run lead was enough for Kale Sayers, who retired the Mavs in order in the sixth and wiggled out of trouble in the seventh with some relief help from Jared Bowser.
“Their kid pitched a good game, he’s been hard on everybody in the conference,” Mesa State coach Chris Hanks said. “We had a 3-0 lead and had runners at first and third with one out and a lot of different kinds of contact would have scored that run and made it 4-0.
“We had an opportunity to extend the lead and we didn’t. That’s been the story the past couple of weeks, having opportunities and not being able to extend the lead and give yourself some breathing room.”
The Mavericks erupted for six runs in the bottom of the third inning of the second game after Highlands took a 2-1 lead.
Brian Bello led off with a triple and Braden Box singled, taking second on an error. Colton Little hit an RBI single down the right-field line and Greg Anderson followed with a base hit.
Ryan Shelton singled in another run, Anderson eventually scored on a passed ball and Colton Schoelkopf hit a two-run single to right.
A three-run home run by Scott Fackrell in the fourth got Highlands within two, 7-5, but Dylan Evans (3-2) allowed only one base runner over the final three innings, and a double play took care of that.
“He keeps running into innings where he gives up three,” Hanks said. “If he can get over that and pitch with that intensity. We moved him to the seven-inning game and told him, ‘Sell out, you don’t have to pace yourself.’
“That tells me in the seventh he had plenty left in the tank.”
The Mavericks got production up and down the lineup.
“We’re working hard. It’s a matter of getting that contagious hitting going,” Hanks said. “The best time to be hot isn’t the beginning or the middle. We’re winning games, we’re in the hunt.”
Fresh off its clutch win over Metro State, the Mavericks’ women’s team handled Western New Mexico 8-1.
Mesa State swept the doubles and got tiebreaker wins at No. 3 and No. 4 singles from Kaitlan Sera and Kate Lowder after Kelleen Sera breezed to a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles.
The men’s team fell 9-0 to Western New Mexico, the top-ranked team in the Central Region. The Mustangs lost only 16 games in the six singles matches.