MSU falls short of NSIC berth

BEMIDJI, Minn. – In order to secure its first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament berth, the Minot State baseball team needed to sweep Bemidji State on Sunday and receive some help from its league adversaries.

Neither event occurred.

MSU split its second doubleheader with BSU in as many days, taking the opener 3-2 in eight innings before falling 3-0 in both teams’ season finale.

Even if MSU had won both games, the postseason picture would have remained unaltered. Southwest Minnesota State’s two wins would have spoiled MSU’s playoff bid.

“We got the split,” MSU coach Weppler said in a press release, “and while it wasn’t exactly what we wanted to do – obviously, we wanted to win both games – we had a good run at the end of the season and were playing our best baseball at the end and that is all you can ask for.

“We got into a little funk in the middle of the year, but we didn’t give up and didn’t quit and beat some quality programs this season.”

After enduring a nine-game losing streak in the middle of conference play, MSU (19-23 overall, 13-15 NSIC) closed the season by winning 10 of 13 games. The Beavers finished 10th in the league standings, 1 1/2 games behind eighth-place Wayne State (25-22, 18-15). BSU (21-22, 15-15) ended up one game out of the NSIC tourney field while SMSU (26-21, 17-14) secured the seventh seed.

“In our conference, really the fourth seed on down is pretty evenly matched,” Weppler said. “I think that really speaks to the depth of the conference. We feel it is one of the best, if not the best, in Division II top to bottom.”

MSU started the day with a win, thanks in part to senior catcher Connor Moughtin’s go-ahead single in the eighth inning.

Joshua Larsen tossed 6 1/3 innings for MSU, giving up two earned runs on four hits and five walks. MSU senior Jesse Goertzen picked up his second win in three days after relieving Larsen in the seventh.

In the second game, MSU’s bats went quiet.

The visitors managed just six hits against BSU starter Jesse Katz, who tossed a complete-game shutout with no walks and a pair of strikeouts.

A.J. Begay was the only MSU player with more than one hit in the nightcap.

“It was tough hitting,” Weppler said. “He (Katz) worked quickly to the plate and we didn’t get the running game going. It was tough to rely on always getting multiple hits.”

-Daily News Staff

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