Colorado Mesa is atop the DII softball rankings, the last undefeated team in the country. The Mavericks are not just winning games on their record run, they are dominating them.
Let’s go beyond the box score and break down the Mavericks hot start.
The cream of the crop
The Mavericks are off to the best start in program history, already shattering the 12-0 mark that the 2007 team set*. That Colorado Mesa team finished with 27 wins. This team has 22 with 28 regular season games remaining.
Sitting at 18-0 on March 7, the Mavericks claimed the first No. 1 ranking in school history. They were able to hold on to the top spot this past week, the lone remaining undefeated team in DII softball. Next up, Colorado Mesa sets aim at the longest winning streak in program history. That run of 29 games in a row was set by the 2016 team.
(* = records only go back to 1994, but it is believed that 22-0 is the best start any Mavericks team has had.)
Simply put, Hodgson may be the best player in DII softball right now. The senior utility player has never had a bad season, having hit .400 or better since her sophomore year. This season, she is on pace for career-highs across the board, leading the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in batting average (.563), doubles (12), slugging percentage (1.063), runs (42) and RBI (44) while placing second in home runs (8) and on-base percentage (.587). Hodgson is currently amid an eight-game hitting streak, each one a multi-hit game.
Not bad, right? But wait, there’s more.
Hodgson is a true dual-threat. She’s made four appearances in the circle this season, winning all three starts and picking up a save in relief. Hodgson has a 1.17 ERA and even has a one-run, three-strikeout complete game under her belt.
Hodgson isn’t the only slugger on fire for the Mavericks. Colorado Mesa’s entire offense is on fire, and if it is not at the top of the leaderboards, it is close to it.
As a team, the Mavericks are batting an absurd .403. Six starters join Hodgson with a batting average above .400. They also lead the nation in doubles, while placing in the top five in home runs per game (1.64), scoring (10.77 per game), and slugging percentage (.689).
Thanks to sharp defense and solid pitching, the Mavericks have outscored their opponents 237-46 this season. In 12 RMAC games, they’ve outscored their opponents 145-13, with seven of the wins coming via the run-rule.
— ColoMesaSOFTBALL (@colomesasb) March 11, 2018
They can pitch, too
While Hodgson’s numbers are nice on the mound, she hasn’t pitched since the end of February. Kimbri Herring and McKenzie Surface have taken care of business in the circle, now a combined 19-0 on the season.
Surface made headlines on February 25 throwing Colorado Mesa’s first no-hitter in four years. It was a masterful seven-inning performance, in which Surface struck out 14 batters.
— CMU-TV | Channel 3.3 (@ColoradoMesaTV) February 28, 2018
Herring has been on absolute fire over her last four starts. The junior righty has allowed just two runs over her last 25 innings, striking out 38 over that span. Her 10.1 strikeouts-per-seven innings is sixth in DII, and her ERA is down to 1.56.
One would think that Colorado Mesa has had a strong start in the Mavericks-friendly confines of Grand Junction, Colo. It’s actually been the complete opposite.
The lone undefeated team in the country has played a mere four games at home in 2018. The Mavericks have won eight on the road and ten in neutral sites, including wins against nationally-ranked Angelo State, St. Mary’s, and California Baptist.
A mere 18-percent of Colorado Mesa’s wins have come at CMU Softball Field. After this weekend’s four-game series in Colorado Springs, the Mavericks play 16 of their next 20 at home.
Why is that such a big deal? Colorado Mesa is 63-7 in Grand Junction over the past three-and-a-half seasons. Their last loss at home was in April of 2016, nearly two years ago.