Timely hitting, strong pitching key for MSU in upcoming NCAA Tournament
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The MSU baseball team opens up NCAA Tournament play this Thursday against a familiar opponent in the Augustana Vikings for the Central Regional.
The Mavericks came up with clutch hits over the weekend with two one-run wins over Augustana to clinch an automatic berth into this year’s national tournament.
The two victories over the Vikings came after Augustana handed the Mavs two losses heading into postseason play, but the learning experience paid off.
“When we played them in the last regular season series, it was almost like a playoff atmosphere before we were even in the playoffs. I think that was good to go through before we got into the playoffs because that’s all the teams will be, every team will be good, have good pitching and hitting. I think we’ll have good experience by facing them a bunch of times because they’re a good team,” said Brendan Knoll, MSU senior right-handed pitcher.
MSU is batting .330 as a team this season, but more importantly, the team is picking up big hits in key moments.
“Hitting-wise, we’re going to see some very tough pitching. In one of the games against Augustana they out-hit us 12-6, but our hits were more quality. Timely hitting is really important whether it’s a sacrifice bunt or moving a baserunner over, and baserunning is a big part of it too,” said Matt Magers, MSU baseball head coach.
The Maverick pitching staff enters the Central Regional with an earned run average at 3.10.
Nick Altermatt leads the group with 74 strikeouts in 54 innings of work while posting ten wins and no losses.
MSU is 39-7 coming into Thursday’s match-up against the Vikings. First pitch for the game is set for 2:00 in the afternoon in Warrensburg, Missouri. We’ll take a look at some of the highlights on KEYC News Now.
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