AUBURNDALE, Fla. -- Second-ranked Minnesota State-Mankato used a balanced effort offensively and on the mound to best No. 6 Grand Valley State 6-4 at Lake Myrtle Field in non-conference action Monday afternoon as part of the Russ Matt Invitational.
The win elevates the Mavericks to 10-2 overall, while the Lakers slip to 7-4 on the year.
Grand Valley State jumped in front 1-0 in the top of the first inning as junior Mike Nadratowski pulled a leadoff triple down the right field line, before he was driven in on sacrifice fly to right by junior Jesse Abel.
The Mavericks responded with a two-out rally in the bottom of the second. A walk to senior Todd Standish followed by a double to left center off the bat of sophomore Taylor Branstad placed two runners in scoring position. Freshman Eric Peterson stepped up with a single to center field scoring both runs and extending MSU a 2-1 lead.
Minnesota State made it a four-run cushion with three additional tallies in the bottom of the fourth. After Branstad reached on an error and advanced via a sacrifice bunt, senior Parker Sullivan drove in the run with a diamond cutter up the middle. The MSU offense clicked once again with two down as junior Nolan Johnson singled up the middle, before senior Stetson Olson plated Sullivan and Johnson with a two-run double to deep right field.
Junior Mathias Butala displayed outstanding command in his first career start scattering three hits with no walks while striking out five across five frames for the Purple and Gold.
GVSU pulled within a run in the top of the seventh after tagging the Maverick bullpen for three runs in the innings. After a walk, single and hit batter loaded the bases, junior Kevin Zak cranked a two-run single through the left side. Senior Giancarlo Brugnoni followed that with an RBI double down the right field line slicing the MSU lead to 5-4. However, senior Mike Andries answered back for MSU in the bottom of the frame when he belted his first homer of the year over the fence in right field, a solo shot, increasing the advantage to 6-4.
Junior Matt Geislinger retired all six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth innings -- striking out two -- to earn the save, his first of the season.
Butala (1-0) earned his first career win in the contest, while sophomore Patrick Kelly (0-2) took the loss after allowing 10 hits, six runs with three earned and two walks against three strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work.
Offensively, Branstad finished 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, while Olson also went 2-for-4 and added a double and pair of RBIs. Sullivan was 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI, and Peterson ended 1-for-2 with two RBIs.