The Minnesota State Mavericks baseball team is set to take on the Concordia- St. Paul Golden Bears today at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. in Plattsmouth, NE.
The Mavericks will then be following up their matchup with a pack of bears with a weekend bout with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs that’ll take place on Saturday and Sunday in Duluth, MN.
Riding a six-game winning streak headed into today’s matchup, the Mavs will be pitted against the Golden Bears in the midst of a two-game skid. This series will mark the 22nd and 23rd neutral games the Mavericks have played on the season. The number is the most neutral games the Mavericks have played since they posted 29 neutral site games in 2014. The Nebraska road trip will be nothing new for the constantly traveling Mavs. It is also an NSIC matchup, the likes of which MSU has gone 11-3 this season, rolling over the last six NSIC opponents by a 48-16 margin of runs.
“It hasn’t been difficult so far. This team is pretty resilient and understands that they can’t control the weather but they can’t control their performance on the field,” said head coach of the Mavericks Mathew Magers. “Hopefully in the near future we’ll be able to have some games on campus.”
Concordia-St. Paul has been far less crisp against the shared conference, holding a 6-4 record and driving in only 37 runs to NSIC opponents 24. Headed into the matchup, everything looks slated for an MSU win. The Golden Bears are a tantalizing team to underestimate, which could prove to be the biggest area for a slip up on MSU’s part. Concordia has scored six-plus runs in 8-of-13 wins, with an explosive offense consistently making them a dangerous program.
The Bulldogs, who currently are holding an 11-11 record on the year, have been somewhat sluggish on the year, but don’t let the record fool you. While they do have a horrendous record on the season against nonconference opponents (4-8), they’ve picked it up as of late in conference play, with a 7-3 record when facing teams in their conference.
With a 16-7 overall record on the season, with a 11-3 record in conference play, the Mavs look to continue their success. The team is no slouch on offense either, already gathering five double-digit run performances in the young season. As these two teams square off, it is clear the game is about getting hot bats quickly.
The pitching of the Mavericks has been strong, with key returners Aaron Rozek and Dalton Roach already collecting eight wins. But for this outing, the bats will be the emphasis for the purple and gold. Josh Wenzel has been a star at the plate,
With a .400 batting average and 34 hits, infielders, Luke Waldek and Tommy McDonald, bolster the lineup further with their respective .342 and .339 batting averages. They also add 46 hits and 17 RBI’s on the season.
Big-hitting junior, Jordan Hart, leads the team with two home runs despite only having played in 10 games, entering the season with 18 fence clearers in two seasons.
“It’s been a total team effort during this time. Different players have been stepping up at different times,” said Magers. “One of the top things I see is the players approach from game to game, it’s been consistent.”
MSU is a season removed from taking the NSIC crown and winning 46 games but are still showing the same strengths. The team has absolutely no problem winning ball games multiple ways. MSU’s pitching is good enough to win on the mound, their outfield smart enough to win with defense, their offense with enough teeth to bludgeon opponents with runs. With a mere 23 games under their belts, the Mavericks are taking on last seasons dominate form once again.