Pitcher throws to contact to beat Orediggers
Matt Delay wasn’t as sharp as last week, but he was good enough.
The Colorado Mesa junior, who struck out 13 batters in his first start last week, only struck out three Friday, but he pitched seven innings to pick up his second win of the season as the Mavericks beat the Colorado School of Mines 11-1 in RMAC baseball at Suplizio Field.
“I came out ... different, but I wanted to battle,” Delay said. “I tried to throw to contact every pitch and move on to the next one.
“You can’t strike out the field every time, but I tried to go out and limit them to as little runs as possible.”
The 27th-ranked Mavericks (11-3, 6-1 RMAC) improved to 9-0 at home this season with the win.
Delay gave up one run on six hits and walked one batter in seven innings.
“He was not quite as electric, but he pitched well enough to win,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “I was really proud of Tyler Dunnington and the way he came in. He earned himself more duty today.”
Dunnington pitched two innings of relief in his first appearance of the season. He allowed one hit, one walk and struck out five.
“It felt good to get out there,” Dunnington said. “We had a good practice this week. I waited for my opportunity to get out there and wanted to make something of it.”
The senior struck out the side in the eighth.
“I was just trying to throw strikes, and it ended up that way,” he said. “I was throwing my slider for my strikeout pitch, so I’d get ahead on fastballs.”
Mesa took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Jordan Liester singled home Kyle Serrano and Nate Robertson with two outs. Serrano walked and Robertson doubled.
“Guys getting on with two outs is huge,” Liester said. “I’m just trying to help my team get rolling.
“I knew he was going after guys away early. I think he hung a slider, and I was able to turn on it into the gap.”
Mesa hit .378 (14 for 37) in the game.
“I think pitchers have an advantage early in the season,” Liester said. “Pitching doesn’t take a day off. Hitting, you’ve got to get comfortable in the box. You’ve got to get a rhythm. It looks like we’re starting to come along a bit. It’s good to see.”
Mines (5-9, 3-4 RMAC) scored one run in the top of the second on a Charlie Basil RBI single.
“That was a big two-out hit for us to get on board in the first inning,” Hanks said. “They fought back, but we were able to sustain and get runners in.”
Austin Wallingford led off the fourth with a single, stole second and scored on Tony Audino’s triple. Derrick Garcia followed with a RBI single to chase Mines starter Nick Vitulli (0-2) in his first start of the season.
Austin Kaiser beat out an infield chopper for a base hit off reliever Nathan Smythe. Two batters later, Serrano grounded up the middle for a tailor-made double play, but the Mines second baseman threw the ball away trying to get the second out, allowing Garcia and Kaiser to score for a 6-1 lead.
Mesa added another unearned run in the sixth.
“You take advantage of mistakes and make people play defense,” Hanks said. “Mines is well-coached, and they have good guys pitching tomorrow. ... We’ll be in for a battle.”
Roman Chavez led off the seventh with a double and scored on Kevin Mitchell’s single to center field. Mitchell scored on Austin Kaiser’s single to the right side for a 9-1 lead.
Kevan Elcock had a pinch-hit RBI double, then Kennedy Kinkade came through with a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth.