By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
Wins and losses aside, Minnesota State junior Lindsay Erickson needs only three words to describe her team’s softball season so far: “It’s just crazy.”
It was officially announced on Tuesday that the Mavericks final six regular-season games will all be played on the road. That means MSU will have gone through the entire season without playing a home game.
“I’ve been coaching for 29 years and was a graduate assistant before that, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” coach Lori Meyer said. “Just in the last week alone we’ve had 61⁄2 inches of snow, then six more inches, then four inches. It’s unbelievable.”
The MSU Road Warriors have compiled a 29-9 record this spring, including a 14-4 mark in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. There’s a possibility the Mavericks could host the regional playoffs, but they’d probably have to win their last six regular-season games, win the conference tournament and then get some help from other teams so they could move up in the regional rankings.
As for Erickson, she has continued to flourish despite playing on the road all season. The reigning NSIC Player of the Year has picked up right where she left off a year ago.
Erickson not only leads the Mavericks in hitting with a .461 average, she’s batting 100 points higher than the team’s next-best hitter (Sam Holien, .360). Erickson also leads the team in on-base percentage (.545), slugging percentage (.755) and is second in RBIs with 35.
“She had phenomenal freshman and sophomore years for us, and now I think she’s even better,” Meyer said. “She’s a year older; she’s matured a little bit. She knows that sometimes teams are going to pitch around her but she doesn’t let that bother her.”
Erickson said hitting has always been her strong suit. She believes one of the key factors in her being a consistently good hitter is having a short memory.
“I try not to let things linger,” she said. “If I have a bad at-bat, I forget about it right away and just concentrate on the next one.”
Meyer agrees: “Her personality may be her greatest asset. She’s always thinking positive. If she has a bad game she puts it behind her and just goes after it again in the next game.”
Minnesota State’s revamped schedule the rest of the week includes a doubleheader at the University of Sioux Falls on Thursday, two more games at St. Cloud State Saturday and another doubleheader at Minnesota Duluth Sunday.
The NSIC tournament is scheduled for May 2-4 at Rochester Community and Technical College.