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NMHU wins RMAC tourney

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By Dave Kavanaugh

NCAA regionals, here we come.

New Mexico Highlands on Sunday won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference baseball tournament, beating archrival Mesa State 8-6 in the second of two games with the Mavericks. The Cowboys (39-11) are expected to be officially named the host team of the upcoming NCAA Central regional in Farmington.

David Bustillos and Scott Heath tallied three hits apiece and Kyle Gutchewsky drove in three runs to lead Highlands on Sunday. Tyler Wichmann was the winning pitcher.

Mesa, who had defeated NMHU 15-8 on Saturday in what would have been the clincher for the Cowboys had they won, led only once in the deciding game. That was in the middle of the first inning after the Mavs scored once to take a 1-0 edge. But it was short-lived, as the Cowboys put four runs on the board in their half of the inning and never again trailed. Mesa drew within a run in the fourth inning before Highlands gained breathing room with a three-run output in that frame.

It is NMHU's first RMAC tournament title since 2005.

It's been a good week for NMHU baseball. The Cowboys garnered a number of All-RMAC awards, including Coach of the Year (Steve Jones), Player of the Year (Jason Carr) and Pitcher of the Year (Drew Vassil). Rebounding from last weekend's series loss at Mesa in Grand Junction, they won their first three games of the RMAC tourney, avoiding the arduous climb through the losers' bracket.