MANKATO — Stetson Olson had a little something to prove when he stepped to the plate in the top of the 10th inning Friday.
The Minnesota State first baseman, who is the team's top run-producer, was hitless with five strikeouts in his previous eight at-bats in the NCAA Division II Central Region tournament. When he came up against Missouri Western in a second-round game with the score tied at 1, Olson knew he had to come through.
With runners on second and third, the switch-hitter greeted reliever Logan Hollingsworth with a single to left-center, driving in two runs and helping his team to a 4-1 victory at Franklin Rogers Park. The win keeps MSU undefeated in the tournament.
"I was just thinking this is my chance to help the team," Olson said. "He was a side-armer, so I was expecting his fastball to run a little bit. He got one up and over the plate and I just hit it into the outfield."
Olson, who showed his frustration with a dramatic shake of head after striking out in his previous at-bat, said he tried not to carry his recent past to the plate.
"I knew I had to forget about those at-bats," he said. "I had to concentrate on the job at hand. Fortunately I was able to get it done."
Olson's hit made a winner out of MSU starter Harvey Martin who pitched all 10 innings and allowed just one earned run. It was the Mavericks' second straight strong starting performance as Jason Hoppe pitched 10.2 scoreless innings the night before in MSU's 14-inning victory.
"Harvey was great tonight," MSU head coach Matt Magers said. "He had great location with his fastball and his slider. He seemed to get stronger as the game went on, especially in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings."
Martin said he started out using a lot of four-seam fastballs but, when Missouri Western started making good contact, he switched to a two-seam fastball that ran in on the hitters a little bit.
"The slider was good throughout," he said. "I had good control with my offspeed pitches all game."
David Chew gave the Griffons a 1-0 lead bottom of the second. He jumped on a fastball from Martin and lined it over the right-field wall for a solo home run.
MSU answered in the fourth. Connor McCallum led off with a ground single to right and was sacrificed to second by Nolan Johnson. With two outs, Scott Lindner singled to right to score McCallum.
That was all the scoring until the top of the 10th when McCallum singled to left and advanced to third on Nolan Johnson's double down the left-field line. That set the stage for Olson's clutch hit.
The Mavericks added an insurance run when Olson stole second, moved to third on an infield hit by Corey Glieden and scored when Glieden intentionally got caught in a run down on a stolen base attempt.
Martin said coach Magers came up to him just before the half inning was over to ask if he was good.
"I just said yes," Martin said. "With a 4-1 lead I knew I just had to throw strikes and our defense would finish it off.
"I respect that coach Magers let me go out and finish. I really didn't want him to take the ball out of my hands."
Martin finished with seven strikeouts and two walks. He threw 152 pitches in the complete-game win.
The MSU win overshadowed a strong effort by Missouri Western starter Jerad Hawkins. He also pitched into the 10th and left with the score tied at 1. The right-hander allowed nine hits, fanned eight and walked two. He took the loss, allowing three earned runs."
McCallum ended up 3 for 5 for MSU with two runs scored. Johnson was 2 for 4.
Nate Ramler and Chew had two hits apiece for the Griffons. Missouri Western bows out of the tournament with a 37-8 record.
MSU (40-11) plays again at noon today against an opponent to be determined.
NCAA Division II Central Region Tournament (at Franklin Rogers Park) Friday's results Central Missouri 7, Missouri Southern 3 Minnesota State 4, Missouri Western 1 St. Cloud State vs. Southern Arkansas (n) Today's games Minnesota State vs. Winner SCSU/So. Arkansas, noon. Central Missouri vs. Loser SCSU/So.. Arkansas, 3:30 p.m. Losers of first two games, 7 p.m.