In the midst of a wildly successful season, the Minnesota State University baseball team came in to their series with the University of Sioux Falls Cougars riding high and full of confidence. Their positive momentum continued throughout the double-header on Tuesday against their conference foe.
“Our goal is to go out and compete hard every game,” assistant baseball coach PJ McIntee said. “We want to continue to play Maverick Baseball. We have a saying that we use on our team ‘Ride the wave.’ It means to not let the high’s get too high or the low’s get too low. We just want to be present and take things one game at a time.”
The bats got started for the Mavericks early in game one. In the bottom of the second inning, junior catcher Noah Bluth hit a sacrifice fly to score first baseman Dylan Dresel. USF however came back with a run of their own shortly thereafter. The Cougars first baseman crushed a 1-2 fastball over the right field fence for a solo home run in the top of the fourth inning to tie the ballgame at one a piece. The difference in the game ended up coming on the base paths. In the bottom of the sixth, center fielder Josh Wenzel hit a sacrifice bunt to score left fielder Tyler Berg on the suicide squeeze. This play allowed Minnesota State to take the 2-1 lead and not look back. The Mavericks took game one, 2-1.
Junior pitcher Dalton Roach managed to improve his record to 6-0 on the year after posting one of his better starts of the season during this pitcher’s duel of a game. Roach came out of the game after seven innings pitched, allowing only one run on two hits and striking out 11.
Game two provided a little more fire power on the offensive side for MSU. The team got things going in the bottom of the fifth as left fielder Wenzel singled to left field to score Eric Peterson. The bottom of the sixth was a little more exciting as second baseman Tommy McDonald laid down a sacrifice bunt to score fellow teammate Teddy Petersen. The very next at-bat, catcher Noah Bluth skied a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring McDonald allowing the Mavericks to score their second runner of the evening. The Mavericks delivered the dagger in the eighth inning, as Berg hit a sacrifice fly to left field allowing Bluth to cross the plate and take a 4-0 lead. The Mavericks came out in the ninth and continued to shut out Sioux Falls. The final score was 4-0.
Game two was no different than game one, as the Mavericks were provided with an amazing pitching performance. Senior pitcher Mitchell Bauer took the mound and dominated this game from start to finish. Bauer threw a complete game shutout, striking out six batters. This victory moves Bauer to 5-0 on the season.
Things are looking bright for the Mavs moving forward. Winners of 20 of their last 21, Minnesota State has won eight-straight series while compiling an impressive record of 26-5 on the season. It will be a fun push to the end as MSU has their conference and national tournaments beginning in less than a month.