21. COLORADO MESA MAVERICKS (45-11)

COLORADO MESA MAVERICKS (45-11)
Despite not advancing to Cary, the Mavericks had an incredible season in 2013. In addition establishing a new school record for wins at 45-11, CMU won the RMAC title for the 19th time in school history, broke the conference record for winning percentage at .921 (35-3) and spent a good portion of the season in the top ten of the national rankings. Unfortunately for the Mavs however most of the season’s success came in the regular season instead of the postseason. In addition to being upset in the RMAC Tournament championship, Mesa went 1-2 in the South Central Regional after losing a late lead in one game and getting shutout in another.  Some big names will be missing from this season’s roster, including two-time All American Braden Box and Nolan Snell, who finished his Maverick career as the leader in wins and strikeouts, but Head Coach Chris Hanks still has plenty of talent returning on both side of the ball which should make CMU a national contender once again.

The Maverick offense has developed a reputation for being apt with the bat and this year will be no different. Nate Robertson is an all around player who can beat you with his glove, bat or legs. The Tino Martinez Award candidate is a solid at shortstop and also batted .381 last season with a CMU leading 24 stolen bases.  Junior Kevin Mitchell clubbed 12 home runs in only 38 games last season while batting .319. He could lead the nation in home runs if he garners enough at bats with another similar season.  In addition to being an integral part of the bullpen where he saved five games and had a 2.13 ERA in 13 appearances last season, Garrett Carpenter hit .417 last season in 127 at bats. He was also a perfect 15-15 in stolen bases.  Austin Kaiser is also a valuable part of the Maverick offense that outstole opposition 143 to 32 last year. Kaiser hit .320, swiped 17 stolen bases and can play all three outfield positions. Coaches also have big expectations for sophomore Tony Audino who they say made big strides ove the summer.

Pitching could be a potential problem as the arms aren’t experienced as last year’s addition of the club, but they could be every bit as talented as the 2013 edition which had an ERA a full 1.54 points lower than anyone else in the RMAC.  Jody Danner and Kyle Davis both started at least ten games last season and had 2.92 and 3.10 ERA respectively. Danner tied for the team wins with nine and only issued nine walks in 64.2 innings of work. Davis was 8-1 and had 66 strikeouts in only 61 innings.  Also back for the Mavs is Cody Lahman who led the team in ERA at 2.22 in 44.2 innings of mostly bullpen work while earning six wins. A pair of key newcomers may give the rotation the boost the need to not skip a beat. Nevin Wilson transferred from the crowded and talented Vanderbilt staff to CMU after having trouble finding innings. Wilson was a draft pick by the Phillies out of high school. Freshman Clay Miller was also a draft pick coming out of high school as he was selected by the Royals. Miller had a stellar high school career and decided to stay in this home state of Colorado to pitch collegiately.