COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. The University of Colorado Colorado Springs baseball team split the Saturday double header with #1 Colorado Mesa at Mountain Park. After the Mountain Lions took the first game of the day 12-3, CMU would bounce back in the second game with an 8-1 victory.
In game one, the Mountain Lions got out to an early lead and never looked back as they out hit #1 CMU 14-8. Colin Cicere got the start and the win for UCCS as he pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up only three runs on eight hits with three strikeouts. Matthew Clarke led UCCS offensively, going 3-for-5 with a double and a two-run home run.
After each team put up a run in the first inning, UCCS would take the lead thanks to a Walker Rumsey single, and Matthew Clarke's aforementioned two-run blast to left center, giving the Mountain Lions a 3-1 lead after two innings.
CMU answered in the third with a home run of their own to make the score 3-2, but UCCS kept their foot on the gas in the bottom of the third. Cody Norton and John Mallon got things started with back-to-back singles.
Riley Gregory then doubled to the right field wall and scored Norton, making the score 4-2. Coach Hajek continued to apply the pressure on the Mavericks as he called a suicide squeeze for Walker Rumsey, who executed it perfectly and brought Mallon home, giving UCCS a 5-2 lead after three.
In the fifth, UCCS would add to their lead as Evan Richards led off the inning with a walk. Norton followed up with an RBI double and advanced to third on the throw home intended to get Richards. The Mountain Lions' offensive aggression was on full display in this game as Coach Hajek again opted for the suicide squeeze, and was again rewarded as Gregory executed the play perfectly, scoring Norton and extending the lead to 7-2.
After CMU added one in the top of the sixth, UCCS would put a stamp on the game in the bottom of the inning. Matt McDermott would lead off the inning with a double down the left line and score on the next at-bat thanks to a Clarke single. Jake Anderson got in on the fun as he doubled to left field and scored Clarke, making the score 9-3 and bringing Richards to the plate. Richards wasted no time as he crushed the first pitch of his at-bat deep over the right field wall for UCCS' second two-run home run of the day.
Norton added the last run for UCCS on an error by the catcher, who tried to pick Norton off at first but threw the ball down the right field line. Norton advanced to third on the play and then stole home, as the Mavericks were hesitant to get the ball back to the pitcher.
The Mountain Lions outhit the Mavericks for the second straight game as they picked up their first win of the series.
The second game of the day did not go as planned for the Mountain Lions as CMU showed why they own the #1 rank in the nation, taking the victory 8-1. This game was almost a mirror image of the first game, as it was CMU who jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
Joe Slocum got the start for game two and struggled, as he was only able to pitch 2 2/3 innings, giving up six runs (four earned) on six hits. Clarke was again the offensive leader for UCCS as he went 2-for-3 with two doubles, but the Mountain Lions were unable to string together hits as they totaled five in the game.
UCCS scored the first run of the game thanks to a Clarke double down the right field line and a Jake Anderson single up the middle, making the score 1-0 after one.
After that, the Mavericks would take control of the game as they scored seven runs over the next three innings on seven hits to take a commanding 7-1 lead after four innings.
The Mountain Lions struggled against the Maverick's starting pitcher Garret Hutson, who pitched the complete seven-inning game and gave up only one run on five hits. CMU added one more run in the top of the seventh to give them the 8-1 victory and split the double-header.
It was a tale of two games for the Mountain Lions as they dominated the first game, but were unable to carry any momentum into game two. The series finale will take place tomorrow, Mar. 24 at Mountain Lion Park. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m.