Brooke Doumer knew it was gone off the bat.
Her fourth-inning home run Sunday helped No. 17 Colorado Mesa erase a 6-0 deficit, putting the Mavericks up 7-6 on their way to an 8-6 opening victory against Colorado Christian.
Paige Adair threw a complete game in the final game of the series and Ellie Smith hit her 14th home run of the season in a 6-1 victory that strengthened the Mavs’ hold on the RMAC lead.
The sweep didn’t mathematically clinch the Mavs’ fifth straight regular-season title, but they’re going to be tough to catch. The RMAC championship is determined by conference winning percentage.
Mesa (30-2) has a .938 winning percentage in the conference, with the Cougars (22-7) dropping into third place at .759, and Metro State (23-7) moving into second at .767. There’s one week left in the regular season, but several teams are trying to make up games this week that were postponed by COVID-19 or weather issues earlier in the season.
After the Cougars scored three runs in each of the third and fourth innings, forcing the Mavericks to make two pitching changes, the Mavs responded by sending 11 batters to the plate in the fourth, scoring seven runs. Smith hit a two-run home run to get the big inning started after Lauren Wedman led off with a base hit. A two-out error allowed Sarah Staudle to reach base, and Aislyn Sharp walked.
Ashley Bradford singled to score pinch-runner Brandi Haller, and Camryn Mullen made it 6-5 with a two-run pinch-hit single ahead of Doumer’s seventh home run of the season and fifth in the past two series. As soon as she made contact, she thrust her fist in the air, then sprinted around the bases.
Nicole Christensen added a big insurance run in the fifth with a leadoff home run, her eighth.
Smith, the third CMU pitcher to work in the opener on the blustery day, got the win, throwing 3 1/3 shutout innings.
The Mavericks scored two runs in each of the second, fifth and sixth innings in the final game, with Doumer, who was honored along with Sarah Staudle between games on Senior Day, driving in two runs with a second-inning double. Wedman led off the fifth with a triple and scored on Smith’s home run, and Smith doubled home two more runs in the sixth. It was her nation-leading 20th double of the season.
The Mavericks couldn’t solve New Mexico Highlands’ side-armer JT Mossberg early, but finally got to him in the eighth inning to rally for a 5-4 victory and a sweep of the four-game RMAC series at Suplizio Field.
Mossberg shut out the high-powered CMU offense for four innings and the Cowboys took advantage of one rough inning by Kannon Handy, scoring four runs in the top of the third.
Handy settled down after that, getting the Mavs through seven innings. Harrison Rodgers hit a home run to left in the fifth inning and Jordan Stubbings went deep in the seventh to cut the lead in half.
In the seventh, Matt Turner drove an RBI single to right to cut it to one and Haydn McGeary’s 18th double of the season scored Turner with the tying run. Kian Manmano went in to run for McGeary, and he scored from second on Tanner Rempel’s base hit up the middle.
Garrett Tisdall threw a perfect ninth inning to record his first save of the season, with Austin Lorenz, who threw a perfect eighth inning, getting his first win. Handy, who gave up four runs on two hits, one error and threw two wild pitches in the third inning, ended up allowing four hits and struck out nine.
The top-ranked Mavericks (28-2, 25-1 RMAC) have scored more than five runs in all but three games this season, winning two of those three games.
That’s all it took for the Mavericks to get on the board in their long-awaited home debut.
After numerous postponements because of COVID-19 issues in other programs, the Mavericks, who played their first seven games on the road, were left with only two home games.
Cole Emmanuel won the opening faceoff and scooped up the ground ball. He fed the ball to Kyle O’Brien, who, in turn, found Jake Keys, who headed straight to the goal, scoring eight seconds into play.
It triggered an 11-goal first quarter, and the Mavericks (7-1, 4-0 RMAC) were never seriously challenged by the Grizzlies (0-7, 0-5), clinching at least a tie for the conference championship.
A dozen different players scored goals, with Keyes and Hunter Holcomb scoring four each and Jed Brummett adding a hat trick. James Steinke, Alex Blatt and Micah Payton had two apiece.
Taylor Jakeman’s four goals led Colorado Mesa to its fifth straight victory, 19-8 over Fort Lewis at Maverick Field.
The Skyhawks (3-6, 2-5 RMAC) led 2-1 early, but the Mavericks scored four straight goals in a back-and-forth first half until the final 10 minutes. That’s when the Mavericks, leading 7-6, scored eight unanswered goals to take a 15-6 halftime lead.
Kiley Davis scored all three of her goals in that span, including a free position shot with only 14 seconds left in the half. Regan Wentz and Ashton Whittle scored twice during that decisive run. Whittle and Davis both finished with hat tricks and Elizabeth Renken added a pair of goals for CMU (6-3, 5-0).