Staying confident: Mavs erase early deficit in sweep of Metro State
Mesa State committed a rare mistake early in the second game of an RMAC baseball doubleheader against the team predicted to challenge the Mavs for the conference title.
The Mavericks made their second error of the season, leading to three unearned Metro State runs and a 3-0 lead before Mesa had its first at-bat.
Mesa State erased the mistake quickly, putting up seven runs in the bottom of the first inning en route to a 13-5 victory to complete a doubleheader sweep Saturday afternoon at Suplizio Field. The Mavericks (5-4, 3-0 RMAC) won 2-1 in the first game and go for the series sweep at noon today.
“Baseball is a game where you’ve got to be able to flush everything,” Mesa State junior Ian McKnight said. “You can’t keep it in the back of your mind.”
McKnight did his part.
One at-bat after Jeff Popick drove home two runs on a single up the middle, McKnight came through with a single on a full-count to drive in the tying run. He was 3 for 3 with two RBI and three runs scored.
“I went up 3-0 (in the count),” McKnight said. “At that point I’m looking to make contact with the runners moving and put a ball in play.”
He scored the go-ahead run when Metro third baseman Jacob Trimble overthrew catcher Robbie Nickels trying to get McKnight at home.
Three more runs scored before the Roadrunners (3-4, 0-3 RMAC) got out of the inning.
“That’s a sign of a good team,” McKnight said. “Some teams may get down from that and lose confidence, but it fires us up.”
The Mavericks added two runs in the second, one in the third, one in the fourth and two in the fifth to blow the game open, a refreshing change to the one-run nail-biters in the first two games of the series.
“All those emotional wins like that can drain you,” McKnight said. “It’s good to have something like the second game, it’s a little more relaxing.”
Tim Moore settled down after giving up two home runs in the first inning to pick up the win. He allowed two earned runs on five hits and struck out three in four innings.
“That 7-spot in the first didn’t hurt,” McKnight said. “At that point, I’m just telling him, ‘pitch with a lead, work ahead. Don’t allow any free bases. Make them earn everything they got.’ “
Nolan Snell was even better in the first game, limiting the Roadrunners to one run on three hits in a complete game.
“Nolan has been like that all year,” McKnight said. “He’s been what you call wildly effective. He seems to make the big pitch in a big situation.”
The Mavericks scored a run on a fielder’s choice in the second for a 1-0 lead and got one run across the plate on a double play in the fourth. Neither team had an extra-base hit in the first game.
Mesa State split a pair of duals, defeating Dixie State (Utah) College 7-2, but losing to Academy of Arts (Calif.) College 8-1 in St. George.
The Mavs won five of six singles matches against Dixie State and won the top two doubles matches. They couldn’t match up against Academy of Arts, though, losing all six doubles matches. Alison Grush and Skyler Nelson won their No. 3 doubles match.