Whatever it takes to win
Bullpen sharp in sweep of Metro State as Mavericks remain unbeaten at Suplizio
The bullpen remained sharp and the offense produced enough runs Saturday for the Colorado Mesa baseball team to remain undefeated at home.
The 20th-ranked Mavericks swept Metro State 10-3 and 2-1 in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference doubleheader at Suplizio Field.
Colorado Mesa (26-8, 20-5 RMAC) improved to 19-0 at home this season and hosts the Roadrunners in the series finale at noon today.
“Coming into this, I’m concerned because we have great respect for them,” CMU coach Chris Hanks said. “I think their starting pitching is very good. We figured it would be a low-scoring game. Tomorrow will be another good game, but we want good games. You’ve got to find out what your guys do under pressure.
“You don’t need things to be too easy. (Metro’s) Jerrid Oates is too good of a coach. They play the game the right way. They’ll come out and try to win tomorrow, and we will, too.”
Senior outfielder Garrett Carpenter said the Mavs need more games like Saturday’s, where they face tough pitching and have to battle to win.
“They came back and fought well,” Carpenter said. “That’s what we expected. That’s what we like to see as competitors.
“It gets people a little more focused when you play close games. Everyone is sharpened up.”
Metro State (10-20, 8-18 RMAC) took advantage of a hit batter and four consecutive walks from Nevin Wilson to score three runs in the third inning of the first game to grab the early lead.
Wilson was pulled after the fourth walk. It was his first outing since he sprained an ankle four weeks ago.
Mesa scored two runs in the bottom of the inning, then took the lead in the fourth on Carpenter’s two-run double.
“I knew he was throwing a lot of off-speed, so I was waiting for a fastball, then he made a mistake on the 3-2 pitch,” he said. “I hit it pretty well.”
Mesa’s Roman Chavez put the game away with a three-run double in the sixth.
Matt Allen (6-1) pitched four innings of relief for the victory. He didn’t allow a hit and struck out four to extend the bullpen’s streak to 7 2/3 innings without allowing a hit in the series.
“I’m put in the right spot, I guess,” Allen said. “I was just trying to keep us in the game. I knew our hitters were going to start scoring runs sometime.
“It felt good. My slider was working well. They seemed to struggle with that, so I tried to live with that one.”
Mesa starter Joey Danner (5-2) went 5 2/3 innings in the second game before giving way to the bullpen, but he left with a shutout intact. The senior limited Metro to three hits for the victory in the second game.
“I felt really good early on, to be honest,” Danner said. “I struggled that one stretch with three walks. I never do that. I was a little out of sync with my rhythm. Trent (Allianic) came in and did a great job. That was a tough spot to come into.”
Allianic relieved Danner with two on and two out in the sixth inning of a 1-0 game. Allianic got a little help from Carpenter, who made a running catch in foul territory down the left-field line, crashing into the rolled-up infield tarp for the final out.
Carpenter pitched the seventh and allowed an unearned run. He gave up a leadoff hit, ending the bullpen’s no-hit performance at eight innings. Then, a ground ball to the third baseman could’ve been a double play, but the throw to second base sailed into right field, putting runners on the corners.
A sacrifice fly scored one run, but Carpenter didn’t allow another hit and picked up his fourth save.
“Carp got the ground ball. If we get a double play, we keep the shutout,” Hanks said. “Carp did his job. Fortunately he kept his composure, and we got the win. That’s all that matters.”
Mesa took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Austin Kaiser’s single to right scored Derrick Garcia. Kaiser was 4 for 7 with two RBI in the series and is now hitting .528 for the season.
Nate Robertson led off the sixth inning with a bunt single, took second on a sacrifice bunt, stole third base and scored on Chavez’s single.
“I think our guys have done OK,” Hanks said. “We got a couple timely hits. Kaiser got a good hit to drive in the run. ... We’re producing runs, and our pitching is good enough.”