Mavs sweep Western N.M. to run win streak to 27
When Metro State lost twice on Friday, it might have taken away the spontaneity of a celebration for the Colorado Mesa softball team on Saturday, but it didn’t diminish the whoops and hollers — and the smiles.
The Mavericks, who claimed the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference title before even taking the field Saturday, went out and did what they’ve done the past two months.
They won. And then they won again, running their school-record winning streak to 27 games with a 7-2 and 11-4 doubleheader sweep of Western New Mexico, winning the two games they needed for the title even had Metro won on Friday.
When CMU coach Ben Garcia congratulated them after the second game for being RMAC champions after the game, that’s when they let out a collective victory cry.
“I think we’re looking so much beyond RMAC. We expected to win that, now we’re looking at postseason and what we need to do to beat the West Texases and those people ahead of us in the region right now,” catcher Zoe Pakes said.
“It took some weight off. Coach just said it to us for the first time in the postgame right now. It’s nice, but (not clinching on the field) definitely doesn’t take anything off us.”
In both games, the Mavericks fell behind in the first inning, but as they’ve done all season, they responded. It took them a little longer in the first game than the second, but they broke open a 2-2 game with a five-run sixth inning.
After Baylee Boren beat out a bunt single and scored on a two-out double by Brooke Hodgson, Zoe Pakes walked. Kaila Jacobi followed with a three-run home run to left before three straight singles produced another run.
“That’s what’s great. How do you pitch to that when your 8-hole hitter is hitting bombs?” Pakes said. “It’s great. You don’t feel like two people have to carry you. I know if I get out, it’s not the end of the world because the girl behind me can get it done, too.”
After Rochelle Talamantes struggled with her control to open the second game, walking in two runs, the Mavericks left no doubt with a six-run bottom of the first.
Mesa’s speed came into play, with the Mavericks beating out four infield singles in the inning, and Sarah Phillis ripped a two-run triple to the fence in left-center. After picking up single runs in the third and fourth innings, Jessica Boruff slugged a pinch-hit home run and Pakes followed with a two-run shot.
The No. 23 Mavericks (32-7. 31-1 RMAC) had only one extra-base hit of its 11 hits in the first game, but got some power swings going in the second, with Makayla Kovac hitting a pair of doubles to go along with Phillis’ triple and the two home runs despite playing in intermittent rain and cold.
McKenzie Surface improved to 14-3 in the opener despite the rough start, allowing eight hits, but walking only one batter and striking out five. Talamantes (9-2) walked four and struck out two, but was solid after the first inning. Joslynn Lopez threw two shutout innings, allowing two hits.
“From a pitcher’s standpoint, I really think they did a good job,” Garcia said. “When your hands are frozen and you get a wet ball occasionally, I thought they did a real good job. Maybe we threw a few too many pitches, but the conditions were not ideal, so I give them tons of credit for giving us an opportunity, and then of course, the hitters came through.”
Today is Senior Day for Kovac, Niki Robinson, Talamantes and Lopez, so it’ll be an emotional day, but a day that should also bring a true celebration.
“I think we still want to win this weekend, so it’s more we won (the conference title) as opposed to we got it given to us,” Garcia said. “We want to come out and continue to work really hard this weekend and end that portion of a good note and then maybe celebrate Sunday.”