Minnesota St.-Mankato tops Delta St.
Eckhart hits a solo homer to lead the Mavericks past Statesmen
CARY, N.C. – A solo home run by junior right fielder Mike Eckhart was the only run scored in the Mavericks 1-0 victory against Delta State on Thursday afternoon.
Eckhart’s solo blast over the right field wall off starting pitcher Aaron Newcomb in the second inning was his seventh of the season and advanced Minnesota State-Mankato to a rematch Friday against Delta State as the loser will be sent packing while the winner will advance to play in the final game of the tournament on Saturday.
The Mavericks’ starting pitching was strong once again as sophomore Tyler Ockuly pitched the second complete game for Minnesota State-Mankato in as many days, earning his seventh win of the season after allowing no runs on six hits while striking out six batters.
Ockuly got out of two major jams with the first coming in the second inning as Ben Kingsley led off the inning with a triple before Ockuly walked Tyler Aldridge to put runners on the corners with no outs.
However, Ockuly worked his way out of the jam, striking out back-to-back Statesmen batters before freshman catcher Nolan Johnson threw out Aldridge attempting to steal second base for the third out after Ockuly’s second strikeout.
Ockuly got out of another first-and-third jam, this time in the eighth inning, as he got Michael Vinson to roll into a double play to end the inning and preserve the 1-0 lead.
The shutout was completed by Ockuly who retired the first three Statesmen batters in the top of the ninth as Minnesota State earned its 51st victory of the season.
Minnesota State-Mankato was outhit 6-3 while both teams made superb plays defensively in an errorless game as the Mavericks received a single hit from each Eckhart, Johnson and senior Jeremy Sudbeck.