The Minnesota State University, Mankato baseball team participated in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) tournament in St. Cloud, Minnesota last week. Things did not go exactly the way the squad would have liked, but the good news is their season is still alive. The Mavs posted a 1-2 record in the tournament.
Minnesota State got things started against the University of Concordia, St. Paul Golden Bears on April 12. The Mavs were able get themselves a 1-0 lead, with senior Kyle Toth scoring on an RBI double hit by sophomore Luke Waldek during the first inning. Unfortunately, it ended up being the only time the Mavericks would hold the lead for the game. Concordia-St. Paul struck back with 5 unanswered runs over four innings.
In the sixth inning. the Mavs cut their deficit down a bit by nabbing two runs to cut the Golden Bear’s lead down to 5-3 after runs were scored by junior Eric Peterson and sophomore Josh Wenzel. Concordia-St. Paul answered back in the seventh with two more runs, and held Minnesota State to only one more score. The Golden Bears walked away with an 8-4 win when it was all said and done.
Minnesota State sophomore Brody Rodning moves his record to 5-2 on the year after taking the loss. Rodning allowed four runs off of five hits and also struck out five batters to round out his four innings of work.
It didn’t take long for the Mavericks to bounce back however, as they got back into action later in the night against the University of Sioux Falls Cougars. Minnesota State once again got an early 1-0 lead thanks to senior Taylor Branstad driving in Toth with an RBI single, and this time the Mavericks wouldn’t give up the lead.
The second inning saw the lead increase to 6-0, and it was highlighted with a bases-clearing triple from Wenzel. Wenzel would make his way home shortly after, as Peterson doubled him in. Peterson would then score from third when Branstad stole second base.
The Cougars attempted to inch their way back into the game in the latter part of the game. After the sixth inning they had narrowed it down to a 6-3 game, and they tacked another run up in the eighth but it wasn’t enough to achieve a comeback. The Mavericks walked away from the game with a 6-4 win, and splitting games on the opening day of the tournament.
Starter pitcher for the Mavericks was sophomore Dalton Roach who tallied up the win, moving his record to 5-3. Roach struck out nine batters while giving up three runs and seven hits in 5.1 innings. Senior closer Dakota Belter picked up his seventh save of the year, which leads the team for the Mavericks.
An early lead wasn’t in books for Minnesota State in their third outing of the tournament, this time against the University of Augustana Vikings. Augustana was the team to get on the board first this go round after scoring two in the second inning. In the top of the fifth, they extended their lead to 5-0 after scoring what would be their last three runs of the game.
Minnesota State did their best to get themselves back into the game, but it came a little too late. Wenzel got the Mavs their first run in the bottom of the sixth on Branstad’s RBI groundout, while later Wenzel would score once again off of sophomore Dylan Dresel’s bases-loaded infield grounder.
All this wasn’t enough to build momentum for a comeback, and the Mavericks fell to the Vikings 5-2. Augustana out-hit Minnesota State 12-4.
Mavs starter Josh Matheson took the loss on the day, moving his record to 5-1 on the year. Matheson gave up five runs on eight hits, but also struck out four on the day in four and one-third innings of work.
While the Mavericks left St. Cloud with a 1-2 record, they won’t have to wait long for a chance at redemption. The team will be getting back on the diamond May 19 when they return to St. Cloud, this time to take on the St. Cloud State Huskies. The matchup with be part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Central Regional tournament and is set to start at 5:00 PM at Joe Faber Field.