GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Colorado Mesa baseball made its third trip to the Division II World Series under Head Coach Chris Hanks last season. For this group of Mavericks, the 1-0 loss to West Chester in the semifinals is still fresh in their minds in 2018.
The team and players have raked in plenty awards in the early season, but the Mavericks have eyes on a national title. A big part of the Mavericks' success last season came at the plate, but so too from the mound. Mesa returns all of its rotation from last year season, and then some. Along with All-American Kyle Leahy, Mesa brings back starters who missed a season or two from injury. Head Coach Chris Hanks said everything starts on the mound.
"Our pitchers need to lead the way, at least to start the year," said Hanks. "It gives us a chance to figure out what positionally we're going to look like on a regular basis and I don't know how long that will take, but the pitching needs to lead the way for us."
"We expect to dominate every team basically," said Leahy. "That's the mindset we have to have. We have to be confident in ourselves. We've got a lot of guys returning. We've got a lot of talented new guys, guys from previous years, guys from my freshman year that are back. We're excited. We're ready to play somebody else and see what we can do."
"On days where the offense doesn't have it, our pitching can pick it up and vice versa," said senior infielder Garrett Ball. "On the days that we can put it all together I think that we're going to be a tough team to beat. It's exciting knowing we have those guys returning and it was fun to play behind them last year. I'm excited to see what they can do this year because they've just been getting better."
CMU opens the season on Friday at UC San Diego. First pitch is at 2 p.m. That's followed by a contest with Concordia-Irvine at 7 p.m. The Mavericks also play Concordia-Irvine on Saturday and then wrap up the tournament on Sunday against UC San Diego.