Roomy new digs
Mavericks take advantage of Canyon View's expansive outfield to win home opener
The Colorado Mesa University baseball team’s hitters made themselves right at home Friday in their new ballpark.
Without so much as a practice at Canyon View Park, the Mavericks peppered four UC-San Diego pitchers for 14 runs on 18 hits in a 14-4 win in the home opener.
“The guys came ready to play and (the Tritons) just had a long bus trip; they’ll be better tomorrow,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said of the Tritons (1-4). “We got a couple of breaks early and the guys got it going and kept it going, so that was good.”
The teams play a doubleheader at Canyon View today, with the first game moved up to11:30 a.m. from its original noon start.
The Mavericks (3-2) took advantage of the spacious outfield, driving the ball in the gap on a chilly, cloudy day, and turned the defensive play of the game in right field in the third inning to protect a 2-0 lead.
After CMU starter Nolan Snell hit the leadoff man, Scott Liske, and walked Justin Rahn, he struck out Nick La Face. Richard Seigel drove the ball to right on a hit-and-run, and it appeared headed to the corner for a game-tying extra-base hit.
Mitch Corwin, though, got a great jump on the ball and made a diving catch. He scrambled to his feet and, with the Mavericks screaming for him to get the ball in, threw a strike to first baseman Dustin Fackrell, who relayed to shortstop Braden Box for the double play, getting Liske, who had already rounded third on the hit-and-run.
“Luckily the sun wasn’t too much of a factor today. I felt like I tracked it pretty decently and then it was kind of necessary to dive for it,” Corwin said. “I could see the runners were on the move off the bat so I knew I needed to pop up and make a quick throw.”
Hanks compared the outfield at Canyon View to their Bergman Field practice complex. It was the first game the Mavericks have played at Canyon View for several years, and only the second time they’ve played there since the field opened.
With Suplizio Field under construction, the Mavs will have plenty of games to get used to the spacious outfield this spring.
“As I’m looking at the outfield, I’m trying to judge if we’re deep enough, how do we position them,” Hanks said. “It’s deeper, it’s bigger, there’s more room. It is like playing at Bergman.”
Corwin, a junior transfer from Dodge City (Kan.) Community College, has never played at Suplizio Field, so playing at Canyon View wasn’t foreign.
“There’s no problem with this field,” he said. “Its (the outfield) is huge, but Coach has us positioned pretty well so we feel we can cover the areas. On days like this it’s hard to really drive the ball so much, so we can play to keep the ball in front.”
The Mavericks didn’t use the defensive boost to put any runs on the board in the bottom of the third, but the play seemed to deflate the Tritons (1-4), who didn’t score until the sixth inning off Snell (2-0).
“The diving catch and the double-up, if that falls in, they’re scoring and we’ve got a mess going. That’s how delicate baseball is and we tell the guys you have to play inning by inning,” Hanks said.
In the fifth though, the Mavericks put eight runs on the board, sending 12 men to the plate and rattling off six straight base hits after two Triton errors. Sophomore catcher Colton Schoelkopf drove a two-run double to the left-field corner to help the Mavericks take a 10-0 lead.
Snell threw 120 pitches, walked five batters, hit five more and struck out six, allowing four runs on three hits through 5 1/3 innings.
Tim Moore threw 3 2/3 innings of effective relief for a save, giving up only one hit, walking two and striking out four.
“He still needs to throw better strikes and not pitch himself into so much trouble,” Hanks said of Snell. “That’s what we’ve lived with for two years. We’ve seen him not do that so much in intrasquad games, so I don’t know what element of the game changes for him, but he’s a competitive kid.”