Mavericks’ offense comes to life; goes 3-1 over weekend

You simply cannot keep a good team down for too long. That deemed to be the case Thursday when the Mavericks baseball team played a double-header against the Peacocks of Upper Iowa.

Game one of the series was thoroughly dominated by Peacocks starter Garrison Becker, as he went the distance, allowing only five hits in a shutout performance. It was also Becker’s first win on the season, as the Mavericks were able to get eight men on base for the ballgame but could not translate them into runs scored. The second inning would feature the only scoring for the ballgame, as Upper Iowa scored three in the inning against sophomore starter Dalton Roach.

Roach would pitch well enough to earn a victory, but the offense was unsuccessful in backing their starter up. Roach allowed only three runs in six innings pitched while giving up seven hits but striking out eight batters in the process. Senior lead-off hitter Kyle Toth remained hot with the bat, going 2 for 4, while sophomore Josh Wenzel also tallied 2 hits.

That first game must have not sat well with Minnesota State, as their offense was able to explode in epic proportions in game two. Toth was able to lead-off the ballgame the right way as he squared up his second homerun of the season with a solo shot to left center to give the Mavs a 1-0 lead. Five more runs would be tallied in the fifth inning, as senior Taylor Branstad hit a two-run shot with one out in the inning and sophomore Dylan Dresel would also hit a two-run homer with two outs in the inning. With passed balls, walks and two other hits accumulating in the top of the third, the Mavericks would have a 6-0 lead.

Upper Iowa was able to answer with two runs in the bottom of the inning, but the game would be stretched wide open in the top of the fourth, as the Mavericks notched four more runs in the inning.

Sophomore Luke Waldek would homer over the centerfield fence for another two-run homerun, and sophomore Ryan Moffett spanked a 2-run scoring single to left to give the Mavericks a commanding 10-2 lead.

Upper Iowa would only muster up one run the rest of the game, as the Mavericks would score 11 more to end the game. As a team, the Mavericks would have 20 hits and 21 runs, their highest total of runs scored since March 22 when they were able to put 23 runs up against Bethany Lutheran College.

Sophomore Brody Rodning was able to notch his fourth win of the season rather easily, as he struck out nine through five innings, while only allowing three runs to score. A win like this is surely going to boost confidence all around the squad.

Going into the four-game series against Concordia-St. Paul, the Mavericks offense was on a great rhythm within their offense. The scoring did not stop in the first two games, as the Golden Bears surrendered 28 runs combined in the first two games to the Mavericks, with seven different hitters combining for nine homeruns.

Concordia-St. Paul would score six runs combined in the first four innings of play, but the Mavericks would notch four runs in the top of the third inning and three in the fifth, five in the sixth and two more in the seventh to double up the Golden Bears, 14-7.

Junior Mitchell Bauer would collect his fourth win of the season, as senior Peter Gaustad came in to finish the job and earn his second save this year. Branstad would homer and go 2 for 4 in the contest, with 2 runs scored and 4 runs batted in. Toth continued to swing the bat well, as he would tally a 3 for 5 day with 3 runs scored. Wenzel went 4 for 5, with three runs scored, two RBIs and a homerun.

The second game of the series featured much of the same from the first, except this time the only difference was the fact the Golden Bears could not get on the scoreboard. Red-shirt freshman Jon Ludwig would be lights out on the mound to earn his first victory of 2016, as he went the distance while only allowing two hits and striking out eight. The offense would once again score 14 runs, this time on 16 hits. Junior Eric Peterson, Moffett, Toth, Wenzel, and freshman Jordan Hart would all go yard in game two. Toth and Moffett would do it twice, as the Mavericks hit seven in the game.

Because of the weather, the final two games of the series took place in Mankato. The Mavericks trailed 3-0 after three innings of play, but the offense remained hot. MSU scored two runs on RBI singles by Luke Waldek and Dylan Dresel.

Luke Waldek’s two-run home run highlighted a four- run fifth inning, giving the Mavericks a 6-3 lead. MSU added two more runs in the sixth to earn the 8-3 win.

Josh Matheson got the start for MSU and went three innings giving up one earned run, walking one and struck out two.

Daniel Feneis got the win for the Mavericks pitching the final four innings giving up three hits, no runs and struck out two.

In the final game of the series, the Golden Bears and the Mavericks both touched home in the first inning. Peterson got the RBI when Wenzel scored on a ground ball to second base. Concordia-St. Paul got a two-run home run and took a 3-1 lead, but MSU came right back when Ryan Moffett homered and Peterson drove in a run to tie things up at three. The Golden Bears got another run in the sixth to retake the lead. But, a home run off the bat of Chase Lonetti tied the game at 4 in the ninth.

Power ended the series as the Golden Bears’ Connor Olson hit a walk-off homer to win the game 5-4.
Olson was 3 for 4 in the game with two home runs, three RBI and three runs scored.

Brody Rodning got the start for the Mavericks. He went 5.2 innings giving up four runs, two of the earned, six hits, three walks and struck out three.

Wenzel and Peterson both went 2 for 4 in the game to lead the Mavericks.

The Mavericks sit with a 22-13 record overall. They will play Northern State April 27 for a double-header in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Photo: Brody Rodning started game two in Mankato. On the season Rodning is 4-0 with a 3.54 ERA. (Yohanes Ashenafi/The Reporter)

Tommy Wiita

Tommy is a junior mass media major at MSU. He plays on the club baseball team and enjoys the outdoors. You can follow him on Twitter (@Wiita_BEST) or contact him via email at thomas.wiita@mnsu.edu .

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