With just four series remaining in the regular season, the 19th-ranked Minnesota State Mavericks are playing some of their best baseball of the season. A conference rival was the opponent this past weekend as the Mavericks welcomed the Huskies from St. Cloud State to town.
This four-game series provided some great baseball for anyone attending. Both clubs are currently two of the top three teams in the NSIC and both should have a good shot at winning the conference tournament that takes place in less than a month. Splitting the series 2-2, the two teams are similar and once again MSU’s pitching was outstanding as they put the Mavericks in a position to win every game.
In game one, southpaw Brody Rodning took the mound with a 4-1 record and an impressive 2.47 ERA. After giving up a run in the first, Rodning pitched a couple shutout innings and kept the Huskies’ damage to a minimum. The junior was pulled after one out in the 7th inning and was finished after 6.1 innings pitched, allowing six hits, four earned runs and striking out six. Unfortunately, the Mavericks were not able to get much going on the offensive end and lost the game, 5-2. Rodning is now 4-2 on the season.
Game two started with junior Nick Belzer (3-0) on the bump for the Mavs. The bats started off hot in this game for both teams, as SCSU scored three in the first and MSU responded with five during the bottom half of the inning. Belzer settled in and pitched a gem after the first inning, allowing no further runs and only a couple more hits. Pulled after seven innings, Belzer allowed six hits, three earned runs and struck out seven to lead the Mavericks to a 10-3 victory in game two. Belzer moves to 4-0 on the season and owns a 2.61 ERA.
Game three provided fans with the best game of the series. New York native Ricky Digrugilliers (4-0) was dealing for the Mavericks in this one and kept the team in it throughout. Pulled in the middle of the 7th inning, Digrugilliers finished his day giving up nine hits, three earned runs and striking out four on 6.1 innings pitched. In the bottom half of the 9th, Tyler Berg scored on a walk-off single to right by Josh Wenzel giving the Mavericks the victory, 5-4.
Mavericks Head Coach Pat McIntee is proud of this team and hinted at the pitching staff before the series as one of the main reasons for the team’s success.
“I think our team has done a really nice job competing and we have shown that we can win games in a lot of different ways. Going into the season, we had a pretty good idea that our pitching staff was going to be one of the strengths of our team. The whole pitching staff and team have competed well,” McIntee said.
The Mavericks battle the Northern State Wolves for a quick two-game series on Wednesday in Mankato. First pitch is at 1:30 p.m.