Jason Hoppe knew the Minnesota State career record for victories was reachable but said he didn’t give it a whole lot of thought.
“Bryce (Bellin) and I talked about it a little bit before the season,” Hoppe said. “We both had a shot at it. Unfortunately, Bryce has pitched really well but doesn’t have a lot of wins to show for it.”
Hoppe. however, has been racking up the wins. The senior earned his 10th victory of the season Friday in a 14-4 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference win over Wayne State at the MSU field. The victory gives MSU its fourth Northern Sun regular-season championship in the last five seasons.
The win gives Hoppe 28 for his career, tying the school record set by Matt McMurtry from 2003-2006.
“He had the work ethic and he had the passion so we knew the potential was there when we recruited him,” MSU coach Matt Magers said of the right-hander. “He got a little stronger, picked up a little velocity on his fastball and has just been outstanding for us the last few years.”
Hopped worked the first five innings Friday, giving up no earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and a walk. An infield error led to four unearned runs by Wayne State in the top of the fourth.
While Hoppe was keeping the Wildcats in check, first baseman Stetson Olson went 3 for 4 with a home run, six RBIs and three runs scored and catcher Nolan Johnson was 5 for 5 with three doubles, three runs scored and two RBIs.
“We kind of feed off each other a little bit,” Johnson said. “We have kind of friendly competition going. I know if I get on base there’s a very good chance Stetson is going to get me home.”
Magers agreed: “They’re both swinging the bat pretty well right now. Eric Peterson and Todd Standish are setting the table for them, and they’re driving in runs. It seems like as one goes, the other goes, too.”