Minnesota State-Mankato shuts down Grand Valley State in 2-0 win
CARY, N.C. -- Jason Hoppe threw a four-hit shutout and struck out seven as second-ranked Minnesota State-Mankato defeated Grand Valley State 2-0 on the opening day of the 2013 NCAA Division II Baseball National Finals Saturday at Cary, N.C.
Minnesota State will face No. 11 Franklin Pierce Monday in a winner’s bracket game, while Grand Valley State takes on No. 17 Shippensburg Monday in the first elimination game of the tournament. Franklin Pierce nipped Shippensburg 1-0 in Saturday’s opening game, marking the first time since 1987 that the National Finals saw two shutouts on the same day.
Hoppe (8-1) extended his shutout streak to 51 2/3 innings pitched dating back to April 7. He retired the side in order in three of the first four innings and got out of a second-inning jam with a double play ball after Grand Valley State put runners on first and second with nobody out. Hoppe retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced, allowing only Kevin Zak’s two-out single in the ninth.
Minnesota State (40-8) missed a scoring opportunity in the top of the third when runners were thrown out at third and home in a bizarre inning-ending double play. But the Mavericks grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fourth as Scott Lindner singled with two outs and scored all the way from first on Mike Andries’ hit down the left field line. Grand Valley State pitcher Kyle Teague cut off the throw and got Andries out at second for the final out of the inning. The Mavericks capitalized on a throwing error to add an insurance run in the sixth.
Teague (7-3) also went the distance for the Lakers and struck out seven. Teague finished with a five-hitter and allowed only one earned run.
Grand Valley State (35-18) got a runner to third base in the fifth and sixth innings, but was unable to score. Giancarlo Brugnoni, who had two of the Lakers’ four hits, led off the bottom of the fifth with a double and went to third on a groundout, but Hoppe retired the next two batters on a strikeout and groundout. In the sixth, Mike Nadratowski beat out a one-out bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error. A groundout moved him to third, but Hoppe got a come-backer to end the inning. The Lakers had only one more baserunner the rest of the way.
In 1987, Wright State shut out New Haven 1-0 and Troy blanked Tampa 6-0 on day one of the tournament. Tampa, which is in this year’s National Finals, rallied to advance to the championship game before falling to Troy again. Both Troy and Wright State both reclassified to Division I.
Saturday’s three runs scored mark the lowest single day scoring total in the Division II Baseball National Finals.