For the first time this season, Minnesota State baseball finds itself on the opposite side of things as it was swept by University over the weekend, the first series the team has dropped all year.
After the team won back-to-back against Upper Iowa, the Mavs took on the Vikings in a Saturday doubleheader. As the Mavs took the field on a sunny afternoon, things went poorly right out of the gate. The Mavs tallied one run off an RBI single from junior Aiden Byrne, however, the Vikings responded with a two-run homer to give them the lead in the second.
While senior Nick Baker connected an RBI double to tie the game, the Vikings successfully pulled off a bunt with bases loaded in the fourth to give them a 3-2 victory over the Mavs.
Following the intermission, the weather changed from sunshine to chilly winds with a slight drizzle. While the conditions changed, the Mavs continued their sluggish performance.
The Vikings jumped out in front once again to take a quick 2-0 lead in the first and scored again in the third to make it 3-0 before the halfway point.
Entering the bottom of the third the Mavs finally started clicking as Byrne would homer to left to get the Mavs back in the game down one. The Vikings then extended their lead off an RBI double to give them a 4-2 lead.
However, the true highlight of the weekend came in the seventh inning for the Mavs. With bases loaded and two outs, it is the situation that can define careers. Freshman Matthew Fleischhacker walked up to the plate and played hero ball for this team, hammering a ball into center field to clear the bases for a double and giving the Mavs the lead. Following the game, Head Coach Matt Magers had high praise for Fleischhacker.
“He is everything that we hoped for when we recruited him. A guy with that hockey player mentality, obviously able to get on base, get hits, bunt, he can do a lot of different things that can affect the game and had some big hits today, even as a freshman,” Said Magers.
After receiving a day off due to inclement weather, the Mavs were unable to bounce back. As they took the field on Monday afternoon, the Vikings struck first with an error and single to give them a 2-0 lead. The Mavs responded with two RBI singles to give them a 3-2 lead. Reaching the eighth, the floodgates opened as the Vikings scored three more runs to take the lead late in the game. While the Mavs made it a one-score game after the eight, it would not be enough to overcome the Vikings in a 5-4 loss.
Following the game Coach Magers credited Augustana for the win. They clearly showed that they were able to control aspects to get them the wins.
“They [Augustana] played very well in all aspects of the game, especially in pitching. We had our hands full defensively, they made several diving plays and offensively they came with a lot of two-out hits, and then they were able to rally with stronger comebacks when it mattered.”
Write to Charlie Groebner at Charles.Groebner@mnsu.edu
Header Photo: Minnesota State’s Men’s Baseball team loses to Augustana Monday with a 5-4 score. The Mavericks were swept 3-0 overall during the three-game home series. (File)