Junior right hander Bret Mitchell threw a complete game and the Minnesota State baseball team scored six runs over the final three innings to beat Nebraska-Kearney, 6-1, in an NCAA Tournament first round game Thursday afternoon in Farmington, N.M. The Lopers (36-19), the fifth seed in the Central Region, will play Friday at noon against top-seed New Mexico Highlands. The Cowboys were stunned by St. Cloud State, 11-2, on Thursday night.
Both teams got going in the sixth as the Loper third basemen Luke Valerius (2 for 4) reached on a throwing error. Two batters later, Andrew Haake of Beatrice hit a single to right to bring home Valerius.
No. 29 Minnesota State (41-13) shortstop Zach Rowles lead off the bottom of the inning with double down the left field line. After being sacrificed over, Rowles scored on a ground out to short.
The Mavericks then broke the game open in the seventh. With one out and runners at first and second, the Lopers committed two errors on a ground ball that could’ve been an inning ending double play.
In the bottom of the eighth, MSU scored three insurance runs thanks to three straight hits, two going for extra bases. UNK’s Patrick Oliver went 3 for 4 to pace the Loper offense. In a losing effort, Lopers starter Jared Loschen struck out eight and walked one while allowing only three earned runs.