MSU-Mankato knocks out Chico St.
Mavericks plate two runs in top of ninth to squeak out victory
CARY, N.C. -- Minnesota State-Mankato lived to see another day on Monday afternoon at the USA Baseball National Training Complex as the Mavericks eliminated Chico State with a 6-5 victory in the losers bracket of the Division II Baseball Championship.
With two outs and the score tied at four in the top of the ninth, Matt Odegaard reached base with a single to left field which brought Mike Eckhart to the plate.
Down 0-1 in the count, Eckhart proceeded to send a line drive to deep right field for a triple which scored Odegaard for the go-ahead run.
Eckhart scored the Mavericks sixth run which proved to be the winning run on an infield RBI single by Ben Kincaid which was just out of the reach of Chico State relief pitcher Mike Botelho.
Chico State would put the game’s first run on the board in the second inning as Shane Kroker’s RBI single to left-center drove in Blake Gibbs who doubled to lead off the inning as the Wildcats took a 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats extended their lead in the fourth inning as Pierson Jeremiah hit a ground ball through the middle of the infield for two more RBI extending Chico State’s lead to 3-0.
Minnesota State scored its first run in the fifth inning on an odd play with runners on the corners as Nolan Johnson lined out to second base before Connor McCallum would plate MSU’s first run after a throwing error by Chico State’s second baseman which hit Jeremy Sudbeck in the helmet on his retreat back to first base.
The Mavericks found more offense in the following inning drawing even with the Wildcats at three runs apiece as Odegaard hit a single to shallow center field scoring Matt Kuchenbecker for the team’s second run.
MSU scored its third run on a bases-loaded infield single by Sudbeck which scored Odegaard tying the game at three.
However, Chico State recaptured the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out RBI double by Jeremiah before Minnesota State was once again able to even the score the following inning as Kincaid was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded which scored Pat Dockendorf setting up another late-inning victory for the Mavericks.
After Minnesota State put its two runs on the board in the top of the ninth, Chico State scored an unearned run in the bottom of the inning but its rally was put to a halt by relief pitcher Mahlon Zimmermann who struck out Blake Gibbs to end the game.
Minnesota State starting pitcher Harvey Martin earned a no-decision after allowing three earned runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings of work.
Zimmermann picked up his second win of the season after allowing one unearned run on one hit in the game’s final two innings.
Coming up big with 3.2 innings of relief work of Martin was TJ Larson who allowed one run on four hits.
The Mavericks were led at the plate by Dockendorf, Odegaard and Sudbeck who each went 2-for-4 while Kincaid added two RBIs as the Mavericks finished the afternoon with 11 hits and one error while Chico State pounded out 12 hits but were plagued by four fielding errors.