While many people spent their spring break resting, Minnesota State Baseball was strictly business during theirs, coming off an impressive stint at the RussMatt Central Florida invitational and wrapping up its spring training.
The Mavs entered the invitational in thunderous fashion with a 15-0 shutout over Gannon University. The night started slowly for the Mavs, who notched just two runs by the fourth inning. However, the Mavs launched a barrage on the Golden Knights, scoring 12 runs in the final two innings. While it certainly boosted their confidence, that confidence was short-lived after falling to Tiffin University (Ohio).
Following the loss to the Dragons, something clicked for the group. They won four straight before falling to California University of Pennsylvania. They concluded the Invitational with a loss against Grand Valley State University. While they had several highs and lows during the tournament, Head Coach Matt Magers sang the praises of his guys for their work.
“Coming back with a 6-2 record is definitely something we’re excited about. We were able to answer some of the questions that we had going into the trip regarding the lineup and rotation. Guys like Chandler Fochs, Zach Stoh, Tanner Shumski, and Aiden McGee really were able to step up and show they can play at a high level.” Said Magers.
One of the week’s standout performances on the offense was sophomore infielder Aidan Byrne. The native out of Eagan did not see any action in his freshman year as a multisport athlete from Eagan High School. Even before the invitational, he didn’t show a lot of potential, notching just five RBIs and one HR in the preseason.
However, during the Invitational, he flourished into an RBI machine by doubling his original total and becoming a crucial part of the hitting lineup, making a strong case that he is ready for the next step in his career with the Mavs.
Another one of the heroes from the week is a familiar name to fans in junior pitcher Nathan Culley. Following an incredible 2022 campaign that earned him All-NSIC Second Team honors, the native of Andover hasn’t skipped a beat in spring training, earning a record of 3-0 on the mound, an ERA of 2.01, and 28 strikeouts before the regular season has even started.
One thing that is clear with the current squad is that they are a unique team in terms of skills. They have veteran experience and young bucks looking to be given their shot in the lineup. Coach Magers said he thinks it’s a great thing to have a group of guys like this with opening day approaching.
“I have been pleased with the progress,” he said. “Ten and four overall records, and at this point our pitching and defense have done a job holding up to the expectations. Offensively hitting-wise, we have a lot of potential there. However, I think once we can play outside, we can get things better and have some more quality at-bats.”
Header Photo: The MSU Men’s Baseball team returns home after competing in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. (File Photo)
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