The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

April 16, 2014

Mavericks sweep doubleheader against Bemidji State

Mavericks sweep doubleheader against Bemidji State

To borrow the title from a 1970s country song: “Don’t let the sunshine fool you.”

It was a chilly double bill Tuesday at the Minnesota State Baseball Complex. The school delayed the start of the first game to 2 p.m., and the first-pitch temperature was 34 degrees.

Not exactly optimal baseball conditions, but the Mavericks battled the raw, if cloudless, April elements to complete a sweep of Northern State Intercollegiate foe Bemidji State.

“The weather’s different every year,” shortstop Todd Standish said with a shrug after the Mavericks’ 7-4 victory in Game 1. They won the second game 8-0. “We just love playing at home; we usually don’t lose much at home. This is our turf.”

The Beavers held an early 1-0 after the first inning when a leadoff walk from MSU starting pitcher Mathias Butala led to an RBI single by Zach Braun. Walks hamstrung Butala throughout his four-inning start; he earned the win and allowed just three hits but walked three of the four leadoff batters he faced.

“The ball gets a little slick when the weather’s like this,” he said. “The big thing was I was trying to get ahead in the count, but I just couldn’t do it. But our bats were hot today. The run support was huge.”

The Mavericks scored in four consecutive innings, starting with a two-run second inning. Connor McCallum led off with a single to left-center and scored on Taylor Branstad’s double to the right-center fence. Hunter Harnisch added an RBI single to put MSU ahead 2-1.

Three MSU singles in the third, including a single by Standish, brought home a pair of runs to give MSU a 4-1 cushion.

“We do most of our damage when we’re going through the order a second time,” said Standish, who finished with two hits and scored two runs. “We might not score in the first or second innding, but once we get to the third, fourth, fifth inning, that’s when we get going.”

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