By Jim Rueda
MANKATO — Outside of actually winning the Division II College World Series, there really isn’t anything the Minnesota State baseball team can do to top last season.
In 2013 the Mavericks went 42-9, won the Northern Sun regular season title, captured the NSIC tournament, won the region tournament and advanced all the way to the College World Series championship game before losing to Tampa 8-2. It was undeniably the best season in program history, during which numerous individual and team records were set.
Even though the 2014 Mavericks have a strong nucleus back from last year’s squad, logic says MSU will probably take a step backward this season. But starting shortstop Todd Standish doesn’t want to hear about logic.
“The talent is here,” he said. “We only lost 2 or 3 guys so we have veterans at just about every position. There’s no reason we can’t do what we did last year.”
If the Mavericks were to duplicate their 2013 effort, Standish would likely be a big part of it. After playing part time at short as a sophomore, Standish won the job outright last season and is penciled into the same spot heading into this season.
“As a fielder last year I think I did pretty well,” Standish said. “But I want to get better as a hitter. If I could contribute a little more offensively I think that would help us.”
For the record, Standish batted .281 with 25 RBIs and six stolen bases last season. His biggest hit came in the region tournament when he ended a 14-inning game by driving in Mike Eckhart from third base with a bunt single.
MSU head coach Matt Magers would like to get more offensive production from all of his players but says Standish’s major role is to provide solid defense.