Significant recovery: Mielock pitches seven strong innings in Mavs’ victory
Mielock goes 7 strong in Mavs' win over Mines
Jake Mielock was in the mix to make the starting rotation last season for Colorado Mesa’s baseball team.
But the junior right-hander, who transferred to CMU after being part of the University of Tampa’s 2015 national championship team — and the team that lost to CMU in the national semifinals the year before — injured his right elbow during the Mavericks’ fall series and needed Tommy John surgery.
He’s pitched out of the bullpen this season, an inning or two here and there, with his longest stint three innings.
With the three-team “pod” setup and a Thursday-Friday-Saturday series this week because of the Easter holiday, CMU coach Chris Hanks shuffled his rotation, and Mielock was told he’d be starting the final game of the weekend.
“Sometimes going into a weekend the uncertainty is a little mind-boggling, but to know when you’re going to pitch so you know how to prepare is good,” Mielock said.
Mielock was unhittable to all but one Colorado School of Mines hitter Sunday, throwing seven shutout innings in the Mavericks’ 3-0 victory. Cody Marvel singled twice, up the middle to lead off the second, and an infield single to third in the seventh, ending a string of 14 straight batters to take a seat against the big red-head.
“When you’re going that well, you don’t think about those things, you just keep pitching,” Mielock said of the 14 straight outs. “The results speak for themselves.”
Coming off arm surgery, Mielock has been on a short leash. He hadn’t thrown more than 58 pitches in any game this season, and even through he threw seven on Sunday, he still only needed 87 pitches (57 strikes) to record his first victory for CMU. Mielock struck out seven, walked two and only Marvel reached second base for Mines (17-16, 9-10 RMAC), which went 0-4 on the weekend.
Tyler Day, who has become a Friday night closer and a Sunday starter, threw two perfect innings of relief, striking out four of the six batters he faced, for his first save of the season.
Day has had four terrific relief appearances, allowing one hit, no walks and striking out nine. He’s started six games, with a 3-2 record, 32 strikeouts and six walks. Now, Hanks might have a decision to make.
“I don’t know, it might be better to pitch Day out of the pen,” he said. “He is good, he can really bring it,” Hanks said. “What you do is you pitch Day out of the pen on Friday, and if he throws too many pitches, then Jake gets the start, or you make that decision.
“Jake’s been in the pen, they’re interchangeable in those roles. We might mix it up so (both) are getting some starts and some in relief so they can do either role down at the end.”
The Mavericks (26-8, 18-2) scratched out one run in the first inning, but couldn’t do much after that against freshman Tyler Blomster, who scattered seven hits. The big hit he gave up was Kyle Serrano’s two-run home run deep over the left-field wall in the seventh.
Serrano correctly guessed Blomster would throw him something off-speed.
“You just have to make adjustments in this game and Skip preaches it every day,” Serrano said. “The best hitters make adjustments pitch to pitch, at-bat to at-bat, and he was throwing a lot of off-speed in hitter’s counts, so I decided to sit on off-speed and I got a pitch I could handle.”
Serrano said Mielock, who threw mainly fastballs, with some change-ups to left-handers and sliders to right-handers, was in total command.
“He did awesome. He came out with the right mindset, wasn’t trying to do too much and it’s great to see him do that,” the senior catcher said. “He’s gone through so much with his arm and everything; he owned the moment.”
The win over Mines allowed the No. 15 Mavericks to sweep the pod and run their winning streak to 13 games. In their first game Sunday, the Mavericks outlasted Colorado Christian 12-10.
AJ Landis (1-1), another spot-starter, threw five solid innings, striking out six and allowing four runs on four hits, but the middle innings were ragged. The Cougars (13-21, 7-13) scored in every other inning, including five in the eighth.
Lefty Jett Wodiuk came out of the bullpen and retired all five batters he faced for his first save.
Mesa’s big inning was the fifth, when Keenan Eaton hit a two-run single, Kevan Elcock drove in two with a triple to the wall in right-center and scored on a double by PJ Gonzalez.
Gonzales hit a two-run home run in the fourth and Trevin Reynolds a solo shot two-thirds of the way up in the bleachers in left-center in the sixth.
The players liked the pod format, saying it added a tournament feel, which should come in handy next month.
“It’s kind of cool to switch it up a little bit, get out of the normal routine,” Serrano said. “It brings a different kind of strategy with pitching rotations. I think it’s good for the whole RMAC, gives teams a little tournament-type feel. Any time you can mix up the daily routine, it’s good.”