MANKATO — The Minnesota State baseball team won a nail-biter and a laugher on Wednesday, sweeping an NSIC doubleheader from St. Cloud State at the MSU field.
The Mavericks won 3-1 and 12-2.
The two victories strengthen MSU’s hold on the top spot in the conference with a 24-4 record. They also extend the Mavericks’ winning streak to 13 games.
In Wednesday’s opening game, played amid cold, windy conditions, MSU’s Jason Hoppe and St. Cloud’s Kyle Fisher locked up in a pitchers’ duel for five innings.
The Huskies manufactured a run off Hoppe in the fourth on a bunt single, a sacrifice, a throwing error and an RBI groundout.
MSU finally got to Fisher in the bottom of the sixth as the heart of the order put together a two-out rally. No. 3 hitter Max Waletich doubled to right center, Nolan Johnson followed with a triple to right, Stetson Olson added another triple to right center and Connor McCallum beat out an infield RBI single.
“That’s why those guys are batting in those spots,” MSU head coach Matt Magers said. “Guys like Johnson and Olson and McCallum have been in big games and big situations before and they’ve come through. Experience is something you can’t coach.”
Olson said the team wasn’t worried after going scoreless through the first five innings.
“We know you have to play the complete game so we had some time left,” he said. “It felt good to get that hit today. I had a big hit against St. Cloud in the playoffs last year, too.”
Hoppe went back out to the mound in the top of the seventh and retired three straight batters to get the win.
He ended with a flourish, getting the final batter looking.
“You try not to let the conditions dictate what you’re doing out there but you do have to adjust,” Hoppe said. “The wind kind of made my change-up flat today. It had no movement on it and they got some hits off it.