Mort, Mavericks fall at Central Regional
Kris Mort’s coaching career came to an end Saturday in Sioux Falls, S.D., when Colorado Mesa University’s softball team fell to Colorado Christian 5-2 in the NCAA Division II Central Region tournament.
Mesa stranded 11 runners, six in scoring position, unable to get a timely hit after Courtney Maihi hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first.
After the Cougars scored four runs in the third inning off Maihi (13-13), Mesa had runners at first and third with one out in the bottom of the inning, but Shannon McClenahan flied out to center, not deep enough to get Danni Vallie home, and Lisa Pille grounded out.
Two more runners were left stranded in the fourth, and the Mavs had a chance in the sixth, down 5-2. With one out, Lita Romero singled and Taylor Gross reached on an error. Brooke Ortale, though, grounded to third, putting two in scoring position, and Vallie grounded out to second.
With two out in the seventh, McClenahan doubled to left-center and Pille singled to the hole at short. McClenahan was thrown out at the plate to end the game.
Gross and Smith each went 2 for 4 and Maihi’s home run was her 15th of the season.
Colorado Christian was eliminated later Saturday by Winona State, 5-2. Winona plays Augustana today for the championship.
Mesa’s season ended 26-24 and Mort’s 19-year career wrapped up with a 542-353 record, six trips to the NCAA regional playoffs and one appearance in the Division II Elite Eight. Mort will become an associate athletic director at Mesa.
The Mavericks wrapped up the RMAC championship and No. 1 seed in the conference tournament on Friday.
Saturday, nothing went right.
Mesa, ranked No. 21 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 11 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers — and No. 2 in the Central Region — was swept by Colorado School of Mines, 16-11 and 6-0.
The two meet again at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday with much more at stake in the first round of the RMAC tournament in Pueblo.
The Mavs’ 10-game winning streak came to an end when Mines second baseman Kyle Wallace went 6 for 6, scored four runs and drove in four in the opener.
Colorado Mesa starter Dylan Evans didn’t make it out of the second inning, allowing six runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out two.
Jeremy Ortiz got the Mavs out of the second and pitched three innings, allowing six runs on eight hits.
Mesa (38-12, 32-8 RMAC) responded with three runs in the third inning and five in the sixth, but Mines was scoring in nearly every inning.
The day after placing fourth in the team time trial at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals in Ogden, Utah, the Mavericks crowned an individual national champion.
Patric Rostel won the men’s Division 2 criterium, with teammate Richard Geng placing fourth. Jacob Hadar was eighth for the Mavericks. Cullen Easter placed 34th.
On Friday in the team time trial, the Mavericks finished in 43 minutes. 25.59 seconds, just more than one minute behind champion Duke University (42:22.62). Fort Lewis won the men’s Division 1 team time trial.
The men’s Division 2 road race is this afternoon.