GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. After an incredible weekend where the CMU baseball team won the South Central regional title, they spent their last day in Grand Junction practicing today before they catch their flight to Cary, NC Thursday morning.
It will be the program's second time heading to the World Series, but for two seniors, it will be a second chance to win a national championship.
Five years, there was a dog pile at the mound of Suplizio Field when Mesa State College beat Wayne State College to advance to its first ever NCAA DII World Series.
A similar sight over the weekend when the 2014 Mavs, who took the South Central region with a 7-6 thriller over Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Different teams, though two guys remained the same.
Kyle Davis and Garrett Carpenter found themselves among both celebrations in 2009 and 2014.
"It's pretty special," said Davis. "Garrett and I are really excited. We've been able to tell these guys what to expect and try to help them get ready and try to get rid of some of those nerves. We're looking forward to it."
True freshmen then, shoulder and elbow surgeries kept each of these guys off the field over the past few years, and now they have a second shot at the World Series as sixth-year seniors.
"I came here as a freshman and I wanted to go every year," Carpenter said, "and it just feels good that i get to go two out of the four years I played, so I was very excited."
Along with coach Chris Hanks and his staff, that makes Davis and Carpenter the only two Mavericks in program history to advance to this stage two separate times. Even as freshmen, Hanks sent both of them to the mound in 2009.
"They weren't kids that were expected to carry the load," Hanks said, "so they didn't play with any pressure. They just went out and did what they do. They pitched, and they pitched really well because of it."
The Mavs began with a game one win against Belmont Abbey College 7-2. Carpenter threw two and a third in relief with two strikeouts in that game and even though it was five years ago, the expereince is still fresh in his mind.
"[I] came in a big situation, I think we were up one or two and a guy laid a bunt down, got the guy out at third, I want to say I struck out the next guy and got the next guy to pop-up."
Mesa lost game two against Emporia State where Davis made his appearance, throwing three innings and allowing just one run.
They were eliminated in a game three loss but after an intense and grueling regional tournament over the weekend, this world series has a different feel.
"Last time we were there, I don't want to say we weren't there to win it, but we were there more as participants," Davis said.
"This time we're going back, we're ready to win it."
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