Return of lefty Carpenter bolsters Mavs’ pitching staff

Return of lefty Carpenter bolsters Mavs' pitching staff

Garrett Carpenter missed all of last season with an elbow injury, but the lefty gives the Mavs a quality starter for the final game of a series.

By the fourth game of a weekend series, many NCAA Division II baseball programs must string together pitchers hoping to score enough runs to win.

Colorado Mesa, ranked 34th in the Collegiate Baseball preseason poll, may not need to this season.

With the return of left-hander Garrett Carpenter from a torn elbow ligament in his pitching arm, the Mavericks have a staff that may not need a ton of runs to win games.

The Colorado Mesa junior will likely pitch in the fourth game of the season-opening series this weekend at Grand Canyon (Ariz.) University. The first game is scheduled for 7 tonight in Phoenix.

“Carpenter is a No. 1 quality pitcher,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “A first spot in the rotation guy. He would’ve been in rotation the last two years if healthy. It’s a shot in the arm to get him back.”

The laid back and quiet Californian is simply happy to be healthy again.

“I’m just glad to be a part of it and hopefully help them out,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter made nine appearances, including eight in relief, as a true freshman in the 2009 World Series season. That summer he pitched in the National Baseball Congress World Series and was chosen the most outstanding pitcher. He injured his left pitching arm and didn’t pitch in the fall for Mesa. “We thought he was OK,” Hanks said. “He threw first game at Dixie (in 2010) and shut them out for 5 innings. We got home and he was tender, so we shut him down. He rehabbed for 4 to 6 weeks. He pitched out of the pen against Regis. He got an MRI and needed Tommy John (surgery).”

Carpenter missed last season resting the elbow from the surgery and got a medical redshirt. He started throwing again in the summer of 2011.

“I’ve been throwing good,” Carpenter said. “I’ve had no pain so far. I’m happy about that.”

The rest of the pitching staff is glad to have him in the mix as well.

“It’s nice having another lefty back (in the rotation),” senior left-hander Jared Christensen said. “It’s a little competition between us. It drives us to be stronger.”

“Most years, you have three or four good starters and a bullpen to back them up,” senior right-hander Dylan Evans said. “I feel like we have four really good starters plus we have guys that could start in the bullpen. That will set us apart from other teams, along with our offense and defense.”

Carpenter will start the fourth game of the series at noon Sunday, Hanks said.

“I feel I’m well conditioned and my arm’s in good shape right now,” Carpenter said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

RMAC preseason pitcher of the year Nolan Snell will start the opener today. Jared Christensen and Dylan Evans will start Games 2 and 3 on Saturday.

“I was really happy with my performance coming in as a sophomore last year,” Snell said. “This year I want to follow in those footsteps. I’d like to get my walks down, keep my strikeouts up and keep a low ERA.”

Tim Moore, who was fourth on the team in innings pitched with 56, returns and will pitch in long relief. He could make some spot starts.

Left-hander Jeremy Ortiz is expected to pitch several innings for the Mavericks after being ineligible last spring.

“Our maturity and experience on the team is on the mound,” Hanks said. “We need these guys to step forward. Provide leadership more than ever have with pitching. Obviously, we’ll have to score runs and play defense.”

Chris Carlson and Derek Benham will begin the season pitching in late relief.

Luke Anderson and Cody Lahman will pitch in relief.

Matt Williams is waiting on a NCAA transfer clearance from the University of Tampa (Fla.). He played on the Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College team in the 2009 Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.

Kyle Davis, who pitched on the 2009 World Series team, had labrum surgery and won’t be ready until midseason and may get a medical redshirt.


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