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SMSU BASEBALL: No. 19 MSU sweeps Mustangs

MARSHALL – No. 19 ranked Minnesota State used a pair of strong pitching performances to earn a doubleheader sweep over Southwest Minnesota State by scores of 4-2 and 4-0 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference baseball on Tuesday at Legion Field.

The two games featured three rain/lightning delays with game two being called after seven and a half innings.

MSU maintains its position atop the NSIC standings with two wins and improves to 17-2 overall, 14-1 NSIC, while SMSU drops to 7-9 overall, 5-8 NSIC.

In the opener, SMSU started the scoring in the bottom of the first as Brodie Smith drilled a lead-off double and one pitch later Nathan Kuhn smacked an RBI single to put the Mustangs in front 1-0.

MSU answered back in the top of the second with a run-scoring single to tie the game at 1-1.

The Mavericks took advantage of two walks, a bunt single and a dropped fly ball to score three runs and take a 4-1 advantage in the top of the third.

The Mustangs cut the lead in half in the home half of the fourth as Derek Smith and Chase McDaniel each reached base via singles to put runners on the corners with one out. Smith would later scamper home on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 4-2.

That was as close as SMSU would come as MSU starting pitcher Collin Denk fired the first six innings and struck out six. Hunter Even closed the game with a pair of strikeouts to notch his fifth save of the season.

SMSU, which out-hit MSU 9-6 in the opener, was led by McDaniel, who finished 3 for 3 for his first career three-hit game. Brodie Smith, Kuhn, Jake Hendricks, Matt Bezdicek, Derek Smith and Keenan Wenzel each finished with one hit.

Jeremiah Van De Steeg (0-2) started on the mound for the Mustangs and allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits with two walks and one strikeout in three innings. Teddy Broxterman was outstanding in relief with four shutout innings, allowing three hits with one strikeout.

The game was delayed with one out in the top of the seventh at 1:52 p.m. due to lightning and rain before restarting at 4:15 p.m.

In game two, MSU scored an unearned run in the first, then added two runs in the second and another in the third to build a 4-0 advantage after three.

The run support was plenty for MSU starting pitcher Brendan Knoll, who tossed seven shutout innings and allowed just four hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.

The game endured another rain delay prior to the fifth inning with MSU maintaining a 4-0 lead and then another long delay prior to the bottom of the eight before the game was called.

Kuhn, Bezdicek, Derek Smith and McDaniel each collected one hit for the Mustangs.

Hayden Molva (0-1) started and suffered the loss as he tossed 3 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) with two strikeouts. The Mustang bullpen was outstanding as Kobe Lovell fired three shutout innings with a pair of strikeouts, Sam Nascak retired both batters he faced in the seventh, while Shawn Williams tossed a perfect inning of relief in the eighth.

Southwest Minnesota State continues home action this Saturday and Sunday with a three-game series versus Winona State. Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 1:30 p.m. at Legion Field.

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