An ugly start led to a long day for the Southwest Minnesota State University baseball team on Monday. The Mustangs dropped a pair of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference games to Minnesota State-Mankato, allowing 41 runs in the process.
The Mavericks opened the doubleheader, being played in Sioux City, Iowa on account of the recent winter storm that swept through Marshall, with eight runs in the first inning of their 32-11 win in Game 1.
SMSU starter Joe Axelson pitched just 1 2/3 innings, giving up 14 runs on seven hits. Minnesota State's 32 runs were the most allowed by SMSU in school history, eclipsing the previous mark of 28 by Wayne State in 2009.
"We didn't pitch,"?SMSU head coach Paul Blanchard said. "We scored 11 runs offensively and did some good things at the plate, but we just didn't pitch very well and there were a lot of plays we didn't make. They certainly hit the ball well that first game. They were just way better that first game and we didn't have any answers for them."
Jon Flattery blasted three home runs as part of a 4-for-6 game with 10 RBIs for the Mavericks. Teammate Todd Standish chipped in with two homers and five RBIs. As a team the Mavericks compiled 24 hits to open the twin bill.
Kyle Young led SMSU at the plate, finishing the game 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Jason Minnett added a pair of hits, two runs scored and drove in three runs as well.
MSU860 933 3-32 24 2
SMSU003 205 1-11 11 3
M-TJ Larson, Nathan Trelstad (5), Tony Vocca (6), Tyler Sparger (7); SMSU-Joe Axelson, Eric Giddings (2), Maris Blanchard (3), Danny Thering (4), Landon Gacke (7). WP-Larson. LP-Axelson. HR: M-Taylor Branstad, Jon Flattery 3, Todd Standish 2. 2B: M-Parker Sullivan, Branstad, Connor McCallum, Stetson Olson, Lucas Skjefte; SMSU-Kyle Young, Jason Minnett.
MSU 015 001 011-9 13 0
SMSU 110 030 011-7 12 2
M-Nick Sutherland, Chris Williams (6), Bryce Belling (8), Mahlon Zimmerman (9); SMSU-Steven Wehr, Eric Giddings (6), Landon Gacker (8). WP-Sutherland. LP-Wehr. S-Zimmerman. HR: M-Taylor Branstad, Connor McCallum Stetson Olson; SMSU-Jarred Carlson. 2B: M-Parker Sullivan, Nolan Johnson, Olson, Cory Glieden; SMSU-Steven Kremer, Tanner Neale.
The Mavericks belted three more home runs in Game 2 and used a five-run top of the third to position themselves for a 9-7 win. Stetson Olson went 3-for-5 for the Mavericks with a home run, a double and two RBIs.
SMSU trailed 6-2 entering the bottom of the fifth when Jarred Carlson launched a three-run home run to bring the Mustangs within one.
Minnesota State (26-7, 15-3 NSIC) added an insurance run in the top of the sixth before a run in both the eighth and ninth inning kept the Mustangs at bay.
Nick Sutherland got the win for the Mavericks and Mahlon Zimmerman recorded the save, extending Minnesota State's winning streak to nine games. SMSU starter Steven Wehr was credited with the loss.
The Mustangs (9-19-1, 4-10 NSIC) stranded 13 runners on the base paths during the game, including five in the final two innings. SMSU returns to the diamond today for another doubleheader in Sioux City, this time against the University of Sioux Falls.
Blanchard hopes his team will have the energy to compete with the Cougars after a rough couple of days.
"I think it'll be tough. You've played four games, it's been cold, bodies are beat up a bit and we'll see how they react,"?he said. "I think it's going to take some big hits or some big innings pitched to get us going emotionally, especially after losing four games like this and getting blown out in one. But you can't talk them into performing well, they have to go out and do some things."