Three-run fourth frame keeps MSU alive at NCAA championships
CARY, N.C. -- For the second time at the NCAA DII championships, second-ranked Minnesota State-Mankato tangled with seventh-ranked Seton Hill. This time, the Mavericks used a three-run fourth inning and a complete-game from junior Mathias Butala to eliminate the Griffins with a 3-1 victory Wednesday night at the USA Baseball National Training Complex and become one of the final four teams left in the country.
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Seton Hill jumped in front with a run in the first inning for the second meeting in a row. In the top half, senior Brendan Costantino and sophomore Taylor Schmidt each singled to lead-off the game placing runners at the corners where Schmidt was thrown out attempting to steal second, and Costantino touched home giving the Griffins a one-run edge.
Minnesota State answered back in the bottom of the fourth inning scoring a trio of runs all with two down. Senior Stetson Olson drew a walk and sophomore Taylor Branstad singled placing Mavericks at the corners, before senior Mike Andries yanked a run-producing base hit into right field. Junior Connor McCallum followed with a two-run triple to the gap in right-center field putting the Purple and Gold up 3-1.
Junior Mathias Butala was locked in after scattering four hits in the initial inning. The righthander allowed just four additional hits, including a leadoff double in the top of the ninth, en route to firing eight consecutive scoreless innings to secure his third complete game of the season and the Maverick victory. Butala ended with just one walk against six strikeouts.
Offensively, Andries finished two-of-three with a RBI and run scored, while McCallum's two RBI were a game-high. Branstad, junior Max Waletich and senior Parker Sullivan each added a hit of their own in the win.