Byrne Powers Mavericks to NSIC Championship Series – Minnesota State University

Box Score MANDAN, N.D. – Aidan Byrne’s grand slam in the bottom of the eighth powered Minnesota State to a 7-1 victory over Wayne State College Friday night in an elimination NSIC Tournament baseball game at BNC Field. In a pitcher’s duel most of the evening, the Mavericks batted around the order in the eighth and posted six runs in the rally.
The win propelled the No. 2 seed Mavericks into the NSIC Championship series against No. 1 seed Augustana Saturday. In double elimination, MSU will need to defeat the Vikings twice to seize the title.
The Wildcats scored an unearned run in the first to grab an early lead. Colin Lynam reached with a one-out single to left. A miscommunication between Ryan Wickman and Ryan Friedges in short centerfield cost the Mavericks an error and Lynam scored.
The Mavericks loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. Ryan Wickman grounded to third and the Wildcats took the lead runner at home. Zach Stroh walked and Nick Baker came in to score the tying run. Louis Magers flied out to center field, leaving three runners aboard.
In the top of the eighth, Quinn McCafferty laid down a sacrifice bunt to move two runners into scoring position with one out. Starting pitcher Spencer Wright left the game for reliever Ethan Stade. Wright surrendered one unearned run in 7.1 innings, struck out nine and walked one.
Stade walked Colin Lynam to load the bases, then struck out Trey Wells and Kyler Essink to keep it locked 1-1. Matthew Fleischhacker started the home half of the eighth with a walk. Friedges hit deep in the hole to shortstop advanced Friedges to second, then over to third on an errant throw to second.
Lincoln Berry reached on a fielder’s choice at second and Fleischhacker scored. Hunter Ranweiler singled and Nick Baker Walked, leading to Byrne’s grand slam over the left field fence.

“In Maverick fashion, we found a way to win,” said head coach Matt Magers. “Solid pitching from Wright put is in position to be there at the end.”

The first game Saturday against No. 9 ranked Augustana is scheduled for noon. Game two, if necessary would begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. The Mavericks made the conference championship for the fourth consecutive season.


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