By Chad Courrier
Free Press Staff Writer
Last season, Harvey Martin said he was just a “thrower.”
A pretty effective thrower, going 10-0 with a 2.95 earned-run average.
But during the offseason, Martin said he learned how to be a “pitcher,” and you'd have to say the early results have been even better for the Minnesota State senior.
“Last year, I was the new guy, and people didn't know much about me,” Martin said. “It was my first year as a starter, and I think I just tried to do too much. When you have a big year, you want to do well at the end, but I was pressing too much.”
Martin pitched a four-hitter with 11 strikeouts Saturday as Minnesota State defeated Augustana 10-2 at the Minnesota State baseball field. He said he made only two bad pitches, both of which were tagged for home runs that took advantage of a strong wind blowing out to left field.
“With the weather and the delays, you can do two things,” Martin said. “You can let it affect you or just deal with it. I wanted to get a lot of ground balls today because our defense is unreal.”
It was the first home game for the Mavericks, who have had to move other games to Rapid City, S.D., and Dickinson, N.D., earlier this season.
It took about three hours of dodging rain to get Saturday's game going, and the delay kept the team from completing the scheduled doubleheader. The Mavericks and Augustana will play a doubleheader today that starts at noon, and the final game will be played Monday at noon.
After a solo homer in the top of the fourth inning put Augustana on top, Minnesota State (19-7, 8-3 in Northern Sun) answered with three runs in its at-bat. Connor McCallum led off with a home run, taking advantage of a wind blowing out to left-center, and Nolan Johnson, Taylor Branstad and Stetson Olson had consecutive singles, with Olson picking up two RBIs.
“To be able to respond there was big,” Minnesota State coach Matt Magers said. “We put up three to take the lead, then Harvey went out and shut them down. Then we came back with five in the fifth so it was good to see that we could put together back-to-back big innings.
In the fifth, McCallum and Johnson each had RBI singles, and Olson lifted a homer to left-center as the Mavericks opened the lead to 8-1.
Another solo homer pulled Augustana (16-12, 4-3) within 8-2 in the top of the sixth, but Johnson's two-run double made it 10-2.
Martin was in control the rest of the way. In seven starts this season, he's 4-0 with an ERA under 1.00. In 40 innings, he has allowed 23 hits and five walks with 58 strikeouts.
“He's striking out more batters, and he's making batters swing at his pitch,” Magers said. “He's been really good with two strikes.”
Martin, who didn't pitch much in the postseason last year because he became less effective at the end of the season, said he promised Magers that he'd be there for a “full” season. He worked hard in the offseason to make sure that he was as good in the playoffs as he's been in the regular season.
“I want to be going good at the end,” Martin said.