Mustang baseball team’s bats fall silent vs. Mavs

Minnesota State-Mankato pitchers silenced Southwest Minnesota State’s batters Sunday to earn a sweep of the Mustangs in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference baseball doubleheader played in Sioux City, Iowa.

The Mavericks scored 14 runs in the fifth and sixth innings of Game 1 to run away with a 15-3 win, then got a complete-game shutout from starter Jason Hoppe in a 2-0 win over SMSU in Game 2.

MSU-Mankato, which sits third in the 15-team NSIC, improves to 13-3 in the conference and 24-7 overall. SMSU drops to 4-8 in the NSIC and 9-17-1 overall.

The pair of games marked the first doubleheader of a home-and-home series that was originally scheduled to be in Mankato and Marshall on Saturday and Sunday. Due to poor field conditions at the ballparks in Minnesota, the games were moved to Sioux City North High School. The teams will start the second doubleheader today at noon in Sioux City.

Things were looking good for the Mustangs in Game 1 early on and they held a 2-1 lead over the Mavericks heading into the bottom of the fifth. But SMSU committed three errors and gave up five hits in the bottom half of the frame as MSU-Mankato struck for nine runs. The Mavericks added five more runs in the sixth inning to close the door.

“We didn’t make plays,” SMSU head coach Paul Blanchard said of the Game 1 loss. “We gave them five or six outs in that (fifth) inning and just kicked the ball around. Against a team like Mankato, you can’t give them more than three outs in an inning because they’ll certainly take advantage.

“It was routine plays that we didn’t make in that inning, that was the disappointing thing.”

SMSU’s Jon Ellis had a two-RBI single in the fifth inning and Kyle Young had a solo home run in the sixth to account for the Mustangs’ three runs in the loss.

Brandan Alfson tossed the first four innings for SMSU and took the loss, allowing six runs (four earned) on two hits with three walks and a hit batter.

Travis McGlauflin gave the Mustangs a great effort from the mound in the second game to keep SMSU in contention against Hoppe. McGlauflin worked eight innings for SMSU and gave up just four hits and one walk. He struck out four batters and hit two batters.

“That’s the best we’ve seen him pitch,” Blanchard said of McGlauflin. “For a true freshman to go against that team and only give up four hits in eight innings, that was a very good performance. He walked the first batter on four straight pitches and he ended up scoring, but Travis pitched very well for us after that.”

SMSU’s offense wasn’t able to give McGlauflin any run support, however. Hoppe held SMSU to six hits and struck out seven batters in a nine-inning shutout.

Ben Korger had two hits for SMSU in the losing effort.