The upstart Minnesota State University, Mankato baseball team entered this past weekend 7-3 in their past ten games, and have started to look like a team with confidence. They played four games in Bismarck, South Dakota to take on the Marauders of the University of Mary. The Marauders have been having a down season so far, as coming into the matchup against the Mavs their record stood at 4-17.
The Mavericks were able to control the pace for the entirety of the first game on Saturday, as they took down the University of Mary 5-2. Sophomore Dalton Roach looked solid on the mound, as he went the distance for 7 innings, only allowing two runs on just one hit. He also fanned nine batters, improving his record to 3-2.
The Mavericks offense was able to score two runs in the third and sixth innings, with another run added in the seventh. Sophomore shortstop Luke Waldek hit a 2-run homerun in the sixth inning, and also went 2 for 4 on the day. Junior third baseman Eric Peterson also went deep in the seventh inning, as the Mavericks were able to muster 11 hits in the contest.
The second game was also claimed by the Purple and Gold, as they were able to outstand an offensive shootout to win 12-8. The score suggests a closer game was played, but the University of Mary committed five errors in the game.
The Mavericks grabbed a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning, as sophomore first baseman Dylan Dresel hit a sacrifice fly that would score sophomore centerfielder Josh Wenzel. Waldek would come up next, and hit another homerun to left center. The Mavericks would lose the lead in the fifth inning however, as the Marauders would rally for four runs in the inning.
Minnesota State scored 10 runs in the final four innings of play, as the second game was a nine-inning game. The Marauders were able to score four more, but that is all they could manage as the Mavericks swept the day.
Sophomore pitcher Brody Rodning proved to have a good enough day to boost his record to 3-1, as he pitched 6 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits. He also whiffed a baker’s dozen 13 batters. Senior Kyle Toth went 3 for 5, with a run scored, stolen base and a walk. The Mavericks collected 14 hits, along with seven walks to pace their attack.
The Mavericks played two more against the Marauders on Sunday, splitting the two games. The first game was a pitcher dominated one, as the two teams combined for 11 hits compared to almost 30 the day before in the second game.
The Mavericks saw their first lead of the day come in the top of the fourth inning, as freshman right fielder Jordan Hart tripled to right center, scoring senior left fielder Taylor Branstad. The Mavericks gave up the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning in the most unfortunate of ways. Waldek would commit a throwing error that would let two unearned runs score to give the Marauders a 2-1 lead.
Junior Mitchell Bauer dropped his record to 3-2 on the season. He pitched well however, as he went six innings, while giving up two unearned runs on six hits while striking out six.
MSU bounced back in a big way for the final game of the series, as the offense was able to break out of a short funk. The Mavs would never trail in this one, as they were victorious 11-3.
Branstad homered to right center in the first inning, giving the Mavericks a 1-0 lead. Branstad would have quite the game, as he went 2 for 3 with a homerun, two runs scored and two runs driven in. The Mavericks as a team would collect 14 hits, and be able to capitalize on big opportunities. Hart would homer as well in the contest, as he also drove in three runs. Peterson would tally three hits in five at-bats, scoring four runs and driving in two.
Junior Josh Matheson pitched seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits, while striking out seven. Matheson is now 3-0 this season.
Up next, the Mavericks will host the Vikings from Augustana Wednesday in a double-header starting at 1:30 p.m.
Photo: Hunter Harnisch fights off a pitch as the dugout watches in a game against Minnesota Duluth. The Mavericks are 17-10 after the weekend series against University of Mary. (Yohanes Ashenafi/The Reporter)