Mesa baseball team plays Adams for first time since 1976
The Colorado Mesa University baseball team renews a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference rivalry this weekend when it plays Adams State University.
Adams State, which is fielding a baseball team for the first year since 1976, hosts the Mavericks in a four-game RMAC series beginning with one game at 3 p.m. today in Alamosa.
The Grizzlies (7-17, 6-8 RMAC) have enjoyed some success in their first year back on the diamond. They swept Colorado Christian in a four-game series last weekend and are in third place in the Plains Division.
“We always like going new places,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “That’s why we schedule our nonleague games like we do.”
The No. 11 Mavericks (19-5, 13-1 RMAC) usually mix up where they play nonconference games. They have played in San Diego, Phoenix, St. George, Utah, and Chico, Calif., in recent years.
“It appears they are doing a nice job with their facility and program,” Hanks said. “They’ve been competitive. We’ll have to be ready.”
Adams State’s entire field is synthetic turf. There is no grass or dirt.
“Pueblo, Kearney and Highlands all have a similar surface, except their outfield is grass,” Hanks said. “It plays true. The bounce is predictable, but you slide a little farther on dirt, so we’ll practice slides during batting practice.”
Mesa will go with the same starting rotation as last weekend, beginning with Nolan Snell in the opener at 3 p.m. today. Matt Williams and Joey Danner will start Friday’s doubleheaders. Kyle Davis will start Saturday’s series finale. There are no games Sunday because of Easter.
Snell honored, Fowler Hurt
Snell was selected the RMAC pitcher of the week after he struck out 10 batters and allowed one hit in an 11-6 victory over New Mexico Highlands last weekend.
■ Catcher Tim Fowler remains out with a broken thumb. He broke his thumb in the series at Grand Canyon when he was making a throw and his hand hit a bat.
■ Colorado Mesa returned to the national rankings last week for the first time since the preseason poll. The Mavericks moved up six spots this week to No. 11 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Division II coaches poll. They are the only RMAC team nationally ranked.
■ The Grizzlies won back-to-back RMAC Championships in 1973 and 1974 and had the best overall record in the conference from 1973 to 1976.
Colorado Mesa hosts the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in a four-game series this weekend. The teams play a doubleheader at noon Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Bergman Field.
The Mountain Lions (17-9-1, 12-5 RMAC) are on a four-game winning streak and are undefeated at home. UCCS leads the RMAC in hitting with a .379 batting average and runs scored (220). The Mountain Lions also have the best fielding team in the RMAC with a .969 fielding percentage.
The Mavericks (13-8-1, 11-4-1 RMAC) have won four of their past six games and may have the pitching to slow UCCS. Mesa is second in the RMAC with a 2.68 ERA.
Mesa pitcher Jessica Severinsen has been sharp lately, earning the RMAC pitcher of the week award. The junior (9-2) pitched a complete-game shutout last weekend against Metro State, limiting the Roadrunners to two hits and one walk, and she struck out seven.
Colorado Mesa (3-3, 1-1 WILA) lost 11-8 to Dominican (Calif.) last weekend, but goalie Brad Brandenburg played well for the Mavericks and received the Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association defensive player of the week. He had 27 saves and forced a pair of turnovers in two games last weekend.
The Mavs will try to bounce back at Adams State, a team they are 4-0 against all-time. The two play at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Adams State (1-4, 0-0 WILA) were off last week. The Grizzlies lead the nation in caused-turnovers per game (13.8).
The Mavericks (1-6, 1-2) host defending WILA champion Lindenwood (Mo.) University at 1 p.m. Saturday at Walker Field in their first game since a March 19 loss to Florida Southern.
Lindenwood (7-0, 2-0) is the preseason favorite to win the WILA title this year and is one of seven undefeated teams left in NCAA Division II. Lindenwood leads the nation in scoring defense (3 goals per game) and scoring margin (16 per game).
Track and Field
The Colorado Mesa men’s team opens its outdoor track and field season Friday at the Utah Valley University Collegiate Invitational.
CMU coach Matt Canterbury is taking 24 athletes to the meet, including 800-meter indoor national qualifier Shane Niksic and provisional qualifier Jordan Riggins. Niksic, though, will compete in the 1,500-meter run and a relay instead of the 800. Riggins will run in the 100 and 200 sprints.
Women’s coach Katrice Thomas is taking 24 athletes, including Alexis Skarda, who will compete in an official meet for the first time since the RMAC Outdoor Championships last spring.