No. 19 Mavs eye Sioux Falls to stay atop NSIC standings

After a well-deserved week-long break, the No. 19 Minnesota State University, Mankato baseball team is set to return to action this Wednesday for an afternoon doubleheader against Sioux Falls. The Mavericks head into Wednesday’s games with a 27-5 overall record and 20-3 record in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) play.

MSU tops USF in the all-time record between the two programs at 25-1, with the Mavs’ only loss coming in 2012. The Mavs beat the Cougars 10-6 in their last meeting which took place on May 14, 2021. Sophomore Infielder Adam Schneider picked up six RBIs during the game including a three-run homerun blast to right center field.

The Mavericks’ hitting this season is led by junior infielder and pitcher Nick Altermatt, who posts a team-leading .405 batting average. Altermatt also leads the team with 47 hits this season and 10 homeruns coming in 116 at-bats.

Altermatt has also made a name for himself on the mound this season with a perfect 7-0 record. The Wanda, Minn. native owns a 2.19 earned run average and leads the team with 51 strikeouts on the season. 

MSU head coach Matt Magers spoke briefly about the importance of Altermatt for the Mavericks this season. “To bat in the middle of our lineup and be one of our top-two pitchers, one of those is tough enough as it is,” Magers said. “He’s a huge part of our success and he’s proven that since the day he stepped on campus as a freshman.”

Senior pitcher Brendan Knoll is also having a successful season on the mound with a 6-1 record. Knoll possesses the lowest earned run average in the NSIC at 1.23 and has 40 strikeouts through 44 innings-pitched.

Minnesota State’s pitching crew has been dominant this season with a team earned run average of 2.70, which ranks third in NCAA Division II baseball.

On the other side of the field, the Cougars own a 24-19 overall record and 16-12 in NSIC action this season. USF comes into Wednesday’s games having won four straight, including wins against Upper Iowa and Wayne State.

Sioux Falls’ hitting this season is led by redshirt-freshman Noah Christenson, who owns a consistent .358 batting average. The Buffalo, Minn. native leads the team with 36 RBIs on the season and 57 hits.

On the mound, senior Caleb Ditmarson has been the most consistent for the Cougars with a 4-2 record on the season. Ditmarson owns a 4.05 earned run average and has allowed 45 hits through 46.2 innings pitched this season. 

Minnesota State will be looking to gain separation in the NSIC standings on #2-ranked Augustana as they travel to take on Sioux Falls on April 27. Start times for the games are set for 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Header Photo: The Mavericks currently top the NSIC standings with Augustana and St. Cloud State following closely behind. MSU rides a 7-game win streak into Sioux Falls this Wednesday. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to Karson Buelow at karson.buelow@mnsu.edu.

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