(MSU Billings release)
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Completing a four-game sweep of the Montana State University Billings baseball team on Sunday, No. 12 Colorado Mesa University won both ends of a doubleheader at Suplizio Field.
The Mavericks poured it on late for a 15-5 victory in Game 1, before staving off a late MSUB rally and claiming the 7-inning nightcap 6-3.
The Yellowjackets fell to 0-4 with the defeats, as they came up empty in their opening weekend of the 2019 season. Wyatt Setian hit his first home run of the year in Game 1, and the ‘Jackets finished with 10 hits but made six defensive errors in the opener. Jalen Garcia hit his first home run in Game 2, but it was one of just two hits the ‘Jackets recorded in the finale.
CMU meanwhile improved to 7-1 with the two wins, and out-scored MSUB 34-19 overall on the weekend.
“This was a tough series for us,” said MSUB head coach Aaron Sutton. “Mesa is a good team and we gave them too many opportunities. We just can’t do that in an environment like this. We will get back at it this week, and turn our focus to another quality opponent in Dixie.”
Game 1 – No. 12 Colorado Mesa 15, MSU Billings 5
Right-hander Garrett Hutson was outstanding through the first five innings, and overall had 10 strikeouts against just one walk in 5 2/3 frames. He gave up four runs on four hits, but just one of those runs was earned.
Taylor Dye earned the win with 2 1/3 innings of solid relief, as he struck out two and gave up one run on five hits.
Haydn McGeary doubled, homered, and drove in a pair of runs, and was one of four Mavericks with multiple hits in the opener. Chaz Lopez had four RBIs, and CMU drew six walks while striking out just twice in the game.
CMU plated one run each in the second-through-fifth innings, but Yellowjacket starter Dylan Barkley managed to limit the damage in each frame. The redshirt freshman left-hander had one strikeout and three walks, while giving up four runs on six hits in five full innings in the no-decision. Hunter Roubidoux also made his MSUB debut, giving up 11 runs in 2 1/3 innings to take the loss. Senior Brandon Maassen had a strikeout and recorded the final two outs for the ‘Jackets on defense.
The Yellowjackets evened the score at 4-4 with a four-run top of the sixth, but CMU scored 11 times after that to run away with the game late. A five-run sixth inning bolstered the Mavericks’ advantage, and they plated three more in both the seventh and eighth.
Setian’s first home run of the season came in the top of the sixth, as he drove in a pair and got the Yellowjackets on the board. Chazz Ishikawa followed with a base hit on the next pitch, and an apparent double play ball off the bat of Garcia was mishandled to give the ‘Jackets two on with no outs. Conner Linebarger delivered a two-out, RBI-double into the left-field corner, making the score 4-3 and driving Hutson from the game. An ensuing RBI-single off the bat of Sam Powers tied the score, as the Yellowjackets’ hopes of a comeback remained high.
It was all Mavericks after that however, as CMU loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth and Lopez shot the left-center gap for a three-run double. The Yellowjackets got one run back in the seventh on an RBI-single by Chris Arpan, but CMU scored six more times over the next two frames.
Game 2 – No. 12 Colorado Mesa 6, MSU Billings 3 (7 Innings)
MSUB managed just two hits in the series finale, both of which drove in a run during the fourth inning. Jordan Stubbings came through with the game-winning hit in the bottom of the fifth, lacing a two-out RBI-single down the left-field line to plate Chase Hamilton.
John Beaudrie out-dueled MSUB lefty Keven Mackintosh to earn the victory, with each starter putting together a strong five-inning performance. In his Yellowjacket debut, Mackintosh struck out six and walked none, while giving up four runs on seven hits and throwing 82 pitches.
Beaudrie meanwhile struck out four and walked one, but surrendered just three runs on two hits. Nathan Wilson and Jahred Butler didn’t allow a hit over the final two frames, with the latter collecting his first save of the year with a scoreless seventh.
Hunter Douglas led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run, setting the tone as the Mavericks once again struck first.
Andrew Schleusner gunned down Matt Turner trying to steal second, which negated a leadoff single in the bottom of the second. It was a rare bright spot for MSUB in a game where it committed two more errors to bring the total on Sunday to eight.
Garcia’s solo shot came in the top of the fourth inning, and the ‘Jackets took advantage of defensive mistakes to plate three total runs in the inning and take the lead. Schleusner came through with an RBI-single, and scored after an error by the Mavericks.
Brandon Koszuth made a huge defensive play with runners on the corners and no outs in the bottom of the fifth, diving forward to snag a grounder and turning it into a double play to keep the game tied at 3-3. Stubbings plated the go-ahead run with a two-out single to left however, as CMU moved six outs away from a four-game series sweep.
Matt Dillon made his MSUB pitching debut in the bottom of the sixth inning, when the Mavericks struck for two more runs thanks to a two-run double by Chase Hamilton. A frustrating weekend came to an end with a rare double play off the bat of Garcia, as the Mavericks avoided the scoring threat and sealed the 6-3 win.
THE BUZZ: Mackintosh was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Day…MSUB is now 3-9 all-time against Colorado Mesa…MSUB’s six errors in Game 1 were tied for the second-most in school history…it was the most errors in a game by an MSUB team since April 12, 2014 when the ‘Jackets had a program-worst eight against Western Oregon…the home run was the 15th of Garcia’s career, as he remains No. 5 in MSUB history…the RBI was the 90th of Garcia’s career, as he moved into a tie for No. 5 in that category with MSUB Hall of Famer Matt Schoonover…Sunday marked the first time MSUB has been swept in a four-game series since March 4-6, 2017 against Western Oregon University.
UP NEXT: The next games on the schedule are Friday-Sunday at Dixie State University.