CARY, N.C. – Jason Hoppe tossed a complete-game shutout for Minnesota State-Mankato as the Mavericks eliminated Southern New Hampshire University from the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship with a 6-0 win Wednesday afternoon at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. MSU improves to 50-11 and faces Delta State Wednesday at 3:00 pm.
Southern New Hampshire saw its season come to a close with a 43-15 record. The Penmen had their most successful season in program history in 2012, with their 43 victories shattering the school record of 25. SNHU made its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and capturing its first-ever East Region title.
Minnesota State staked itself to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as the Mavericks loaded the bases with one out. Matt Kuchenbecker walked, followed by a Patrick Dockendorf single to center. Matt Odegaard then reached on an error to load the bases before Kuchenbecker scored on a groundout by Ben Kincaid.
The Mavericks scored two more unearned runs in the second. After the first two batters reached. Connor McCallum attempted to sacrifice, with Penmen starting pitcher Junior Mendez (Patchogue, N.Y.) (pictured) fielding the bunt. Mendez tried to go to third but threw it away, allowing Nolan Johnson to score. The second run came home on a Lucas Skjefte groundout that plated Jeremy Sudbeck.
MSU extended its lead to 4-0 in the fifth when a Ben Kincaid single scored Kuchenbecker. The Mavericks scored twice more in the eighth as Skjefte hit a two-out double followed by singles by Kuchenbecker and Dockendorf.
Mendez, who started and threw 2.1 innings in the loss to West Chester Monday, went six innings and allowed five hits and four runs (one earned) while striking out four. Jon Massad (Shrewsbury, Mass.) worked two innings and gave up two runs before giving way to Brad Monroe (Hampton, N.H.), who allowed two hits but no runs in his inning of work.
The Penmen were outhit 10-6, with Andy Lalli (Lakeville, Mass.) and Jon Minucci (Madison, Conn.) leading the way with a pair of hits apiece. SNHU committed a season-high five errors that led to three Maverick runs.