Brothers pitch in for Mustangs

MARSHALL – From April 14-16, the Southwest Minnesota State University baseball team played six games in three days in Sioux City, Iowa. The games, played at Sioux City North High School, were part of a frustrating trend for SMSU players and coaches, as the Mustangs have completed 72 percent of their regular season schedule without a single contest taking place in Marshall.

For a pair of Mustangs, however, the latest leg in the now 31-game road trip felt more like home than Alumni Field ever could.

Pitchers Corby and Travis McGlauflin graduated four years apart from Sioux City North before joining the Mustangs and the recent six-game swing in Sioux City felt like a homecoming of sorts.

“It definitely brings back some memories,” Corby McGlauflin, a senior, said. “Obviously we were comfortable being there. It was nice seeing everybody, there were a lot of people that we knew there. It was good experience, I would say.”

For Travis, who started SMSU’s second game in Sioux City, the games played on the field where he was pitching just 12 months prior presented the freshman with an opportunity to showcase his development in front of friends and former coaches. McGlauflin pitched eight innings, picking up a complete game loss despite allowing just two runs on four hits.

“A lot of them were there watching so it was nice to see them again,” he said.

Unfortunately, not in attendance during the first doubleheader against Minnesota State-Mankato on April 14 were the McGlauflins’ parents, Mike and Becki.

“They were actually in Missouri,” Corby McGlauflin said. “They didn’t know we were going to be playing, so they were down south watching our brother on Sunday. But they made it back to watch us play on Monday and Tuesday, so it worked out.”

While Corby and Travis wound up at SMSU, the middle McGlauflin, Eric, enrolled at Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Mo., where he is a junior third-baseman.

“He wanted to go south for some reason to play baseball, he was probably the smart one,” Corby said, in reference to the snowy spring in the Upper Midwest.

Corby, who as named an Iowa Baseball Coaches Association First Team All-State honoree during his senior year at Sioux City North, the weather had less of an impact on his choice to attend SMSU than did the school’s environment.

“I came up here on a visit, just looking at some different schools and my high school coach called up here,” he said. “I just came up here and felt really comfortable; I met a lot of the guys and it just felt like a nice place to call home for a couple years.”

Travis McGlauflin admitted that Corby recruited him to SMSU, but said his older brother did not put too much pressure on him to attend the same school.

The two brothers differ in more than just age.

Travis, at 6-foot-6, stands four inches taller than the elder Corby and has become one of the Mustangs’ most reliable starters this season, whereas Corby is a veteran presence in the bullpen.

Coming into the season, the Mustangs knew they would be able to count on Corby. In 2012 he appeared in a team-high 15 games with a 2-3 record and three saves over 25 innings. His ERA was 2.52 and among the best on the team.

So far in 2013, Corby has made 11 appearances, while recording two saves to go along with his 1-1 record. His one win came as he pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the University of Sioux Falls on April 16. The Mustangs trailed 6-1 when McGlauflin entered the game and used his pitching performance to a 9-6 victory. Despite pitching just 19 innings, he is second on the team in strikeouts with 16.

Leading the team in strikeouts is Travis McGlauflin. With a 2-4 record over seven starts, he has fanned 24 batters over 33 2/3 innings this season. Though he has an ERA of 9.09, inflated as the result of one tough inning in his second collegiate start, Travis has become a reliable arm for the Mustangs.

The similar statistics between the McGlauflin brothers likely comes from their similar approach to the game. Both have the same three pitches (fastball, slider, changeup) and both had the same teacher, their father Mike.

“We probably have to give a lot of credit to our dad,” Corby McGlauflin said. “Since Day 1 when we’ve wanted to throw a baseball he’s always been one of our coaches, our little league coach. We were fortunate to have some nice classes growing up too, we always had a good group of kids around us.”

Due to their age difference, the two had never played on the same team until this season, not counting whiffle ball or backyard baseball.

“I was a senior and he was an eighth-grader, so we were never together until now, which is kind of weird,” Corby said of their time in high school. “I was actually his (junior varsity) coach in high school for two years. That was kind of an experience.”

If not for Corby redshirting his first year at SMSU, the two would not have been on the same team in college either.

Travis joked that it has been a mixed bag having his brother on the same team.

“At first it was a little easier (having Corby on the team too), but after a while (your teammates) kind of haze you a little bit. But it’s not too bad,” he said, grinning.

The brothers, though quick to joke as brothers often are, have learned to appreciate their time together in college. Corby, in particular, has taken to the role of mentor as his brother goes through the adjustment of a first year in college.

“All the time I’m here for guidance,” he said. “If (Travis) has any questions to be answered he doesn’t have to go very far for those answers. But I don’t know, he might be sick of me after one year.”

SMSU has 10-20-1 overall record on the year and a 5-11 mark in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Mustangs will face Concordia-St. Paul on Thursday for doubleheader at Minnetonka High School. The last chance for a home game for the Mustangs is May 3-4 as they are scheduled to host a pair of doubleheaders with Minnesota- Crookston to close out the regular season.