Synergetic Mavs sweep Cowboys
It may be the most popular, oft-used word in the Colorado Mesa University baseball clubhouse.
Webster’s dictionary defines synergy as a mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of distinct business participants or elements (as resources or efforts).
It’s what CMU coach Chris Hanks looks for from his team.
The No. 17 Mavericks (18-5, 12-1 RMAC) played with synergy Saturday, sweeping New Mexico Highlands 11-1 and 4-1 in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference doubleheader at Suplizio Field.
Mesa led the Cowboys 3-1 in the first game when sophomore shortstop Nate Robertson made a synergy play.
With one runner on first base, the Montrose High School graduate scooped up a line drive off the hop behind second base, tagged second, got up and threw to first for a double play in the top of the third inning.
“That was an amazing play,” CMU pitcher Matt Williams said. “That’s what motivated me to keep on going, seeing that play, that energy. Skip (Hanks) always talks about synergy. Two plus two is five. That was a synergy play right there.”
The usually shy Robertson jumped up and sprinted to the dugout, hopping over the third-base foul line where he was greeted by teammates giving him high-fives and fist bumps.
“We have signs we like to take down in the dugout, one of them is a synergy play,” Robertson said. “I guess that play counted as that. I think that sparked us a little bit.”
After making a fantastic defensive play, Robertson got the Mavs’ offense going in the bottom of the third inning, hitting an RBI single. Kevin Mitchell followed with a two-run double, and Austin Kaiser knocked in two more runs with a single. Erik Kozel added a run-scoring single, and a 3-1 lead ballooned into a 9-1 advantage.
Kaiser, who lost his rental home in a fire Tuesday, was 2 for 4 with four RBI.
Given a big lead, Williams dominated the rest of the way to get the win. The senior limited the Cowboys (14-11, 10-5) to one run on six hits in seven innings.
“Last weekend, I had a rough outing against Mines,” Williams said. “I wanted to come out with a better approach this game, especially with Highlands being as good as they are.
“Taking three from them shows no one can hang at the top with us. That’s what we need to do, keep on winning.”
Joey Danner followed Williams’ Game 1 performance with a solid outing of his own.
The junior right-hander ran his record to 5-0, limiting Highlands to one unearned run on six hits in seven innings in the second game.
“It was kind of an off day for me a bit,” Danner said. “I didn’t have my slider or my good changeup. I lived and died by the fastball. Luckily it was there.”
Danner received two early runs to work with when Kozel led off the bottom of the first inning with a double and scored on Mitch Corwin’s single to left field.
Corwin stole second base, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an errant pickoff attempt for a 2-0 lead.
Highlands left-hander Ray Torres limited the Mavericks to one hit through the next four innings, but he gave up two more runs in the sixth with two outs.
Robertson and Kennedy Kinkade singled, and Colton Little followed with his first double of the season.
Danner retired the side in order in the top of the seventh.
“Coach wants us to get out there and give it all we’ve got,” Danner said. “I think we’ve been doing it pretty well. He’s got the confidence in us, but we know we have a great bullpen behind us if we need it.”
Colorado Mesa will go for a series sweep of Highlands at noon today. The Mavericks are 14-2 against Highlands at Suplizio Field since 2009.