With the bats now starting to heat up after the long winter, there is no rest for Minnesota State Baseball. Coming off a sweep of Northern State, the team hits the road for the first time in the regular season. They prepare to match up Saturday and Sunday at noon against fellow NSIC rival, Minot State.
Last season, the Mavs dominated the Beavers in two out of their three games. One of which was a 7-0 shutout in the opening game of the 2022 season. Currently riding a four-game win streak, things have been humming along for the Mavs. A successful spring training and start to the year has been great for the team. Even with having to go on a long stretch away from campus, Head Coach Matt Magers has not seen it affecting his group.
“At this point, we really haven’t known the difference. “We have played in Missouri, been to Florida and now in Omaha. At this point, it’s more just like we are getting the chance to play and take advantage of that. While we still look forward to playing outside, it’s just something that we can’t control, and are thankful for the opportunity to go out and play regardless of the location,” said Magers.
They will certainly need to be in control as they prepare to take on the Beavers. Last season, the Beavers fell short in two out of three games against the Mavs. This year, they have begun the journey to reassert themselves as one of the top dogs in the NSIC after a successful spring training and start to the regular season. Currently, the Beavers are riding a three-game win streak after sweeping the University of Sioux Falls.
Overall, the Beavers have had many stories and players of note going into this contest. However, the one that all eyes will be watching is junior first baseman Gunnar Kozlowitz. The native of Littleton, Colorado is without a doubt the best hitter in the team’s lineup. Already, he has five HR to his name and leads his team in Batting Average, Slugging, Hits, and RBIs. He is a man who has mastered both the art of the small and long ball, the nightmare for any pitcher that is put into a matchup against him.
While the Mavs have been riding high in the previous weeks, this one will certainly test them. Not only are the Beavers a strong team in their own right, but it’s also the first of many times they will have to play in hostile territory. Both sides are writing another chapter in their long-standing rivalry. Even Coach Magers realizes how important this matchup is and what he needs from his guys to get the win.
“Kind of like last week, it really is going to come down to what we can control and to be prepared by getting in the weight room. Particularly this week we have been focusing on strength and getting guys stronger as we prepare to hit the road. Minot is a good opponent and a top team, but all were gonna do is give it our all and control what we can,” said Magers.
Write to Charlie Groebner at Charles.Groebner@mnsu.edu
Header Photo: The MSU Men’s Baseball team competes against Minot with a double-header Sunday, March 26 and a single game Monday, March 27. (File photo)