Timely hits elude Mesa in losses
It took nine innings for the Colorado Mesa University softball team to finally get a timely hit.
But not much else went right for the Mavericks after that Saturday in an 8-4 loss to CSU-Pueblo at Bergman Field.
The timely hit was the biggest of all hits, a grand slam by Sarah Phillis in the bottom of the third.
With CSU-Pueblo leading 2-0, the Mavs loaded the bases when Megan Brown singled, Nicole Robinson walked and Makayla Kovac reached on an error. Then, Phillis came up, took a first-pitch strike and turned on the next pitch, sending it high and deep over the left-field fence.
CMU (14-10, 13-7 RMAC) lost both of its games Saturday, falling 6-1 to Regis in its first game of the day. CSU-Pueblo, meanwhile, picked up two key RMAC wins, beating Regis 8-6 in its first game, which was played between the two CMU games.
The ThunderWolves did virtually everything right against CMU. They made great plays in the field, strung together 16 hits, and Madison Wolfe pitched a complete-game five-hitter.
Phillis’ shot ignited the hometown crowd, and CMU’s Jessica Severinsen, who won’t see any action this weekend, jumped out of the dugout to lead the celebration for the Mavericks.
But the celebration, excitement and lead were quickly doused in the top of the fourth when the ThunderWolves put together a variety of bloop and infield hits and a two-run triple by Alexa Snyder to grab the lead back at 6-4. They added two runs in the fifth, and Wolfe was in complete control after the home run.
The Phillis shot gave the Mavs some hope that their dormant bats might be yanked awake. But after the grand slam, Wolfe only allowed three hits over the final four innings.
“Bats, we just didn’t have them today, we apparently left them somewhere,” CMU coach Candace Abrams said.
Abrams wouldn’t elaborate, but she said Severinsen, one of the conference’s top pitchers and one of the Mavs’ top hitters, is not available to play this weekend.
One bat does make a little bit of a difference, Abrams said, but added, “This team is such a great hitting team ... but we just didn’t hit today.”
Ashley Pulido, who threw 101 pitches in 5 1/3 innings of relief in the first game, threw another 130 pitches in a gutsy complete-game effort against Pueblo.
Being down one pitcher, it meant Pulido would have to eat up a lot of innings.
CSU-Pueblo (14-13, 11-5 RMAC) kept stringing together hits, but with Pulido changing speeds and mixing it up, many of the 16 hits were not hit hard.
“Sometimes the game falls that way. The little bloop hits, sometimes they just drop in,” Abrams said. “Ashley was doing a great job on the mound, keeping them off balance, getting the placement, and the pitches were good, but (the hits) just fell in.”
Pulido said the long day was on the uncommon side, but she knew she had to gut it out.
“It’s not normal,” she said. “It’s tough, but I knew my team had my back, and I just had to go out there and throw.”
She ended the Pueblo game with five strikeouts and two walks.
In the first game of the day, CMU had trouble in the field and getting key hits in the loss to Regis.
Abrams said she was disappointed in the team’s effort against Regis.
“We just didn’t come out ready to play, plain and simple,” she said after Game 1. “Our bats weren’t there, our mindset wasn’t there, and defensively we kicked it around a little bit.”
Regis (11-18, 9-9 RMAC) used a pair of two-run home runs to take a 4-0 lead.
Pulido had a strong outing after relieving Jo Boylard with two outs in the second inning. Pulido didn’t allow an earned run, gave up two hits, struck out seven and walked only one.
Defensively, the Mavs had four errors, and offensively they left 11 runners on base and never could get a timely hit. Their one run came in the fifth when Tawnee Woosley walked and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Phillis, who had all five RBI for CMU. The Mavs’ inability to get the key hit was evident in the second inning when they loaded the bases with no outs and failed to get a run across.
CMU will take on the same two teams in another doubleheader today.
In the ultra-tight RMAC standings, the two loses dropped CMU from first to third place, with CSU-Pueblo moving into second place. A sweep by Metro State (16-9, 10-5 RMAC) over Adams State (16-16, 14-8) on Saturday moved the Roadrunners into the conference lead.