Series Preview: Minnesota St. vs. Northern St.

Minnesota State  northern state

A 2nd Northern Sun series has been moved up to Friday/Saturday as Northern State travels to Mankato to take on Minnesota State.  Northern State Moves Games

On paper these games should be a mismatch as Minnesota State was projected as the Conference’s #2 team in the preseason coaches poll while Northern State was picked to finish next to last in 12th place.  That said, the Mavericks have been a little disappointing early this season which might give the Wolves a bit of optimism.  One does need to remember that Northern State did lose all 4 games they’ve played during non-Conference against other quality Northern Sun teams.  They lost doubleheaders to both Concordia and St. Cloud State by lopsided scores.

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On paper it’s easy to see that Minnesota State is the superior team.  They are better across the board with hitting, pitching and fielding stats. 

In looking a little deeper at each team the following sticks out –

Northern State Approach

  • Keep the ball down – Northern State pitchers this season sport a fly ball/ground ball ratio of 1.7 (114 fly outs to 68 ground outs).  That’s not good.  They should be shooting for a 1-1 relationship or better.
  • Hit the ball toward the left side of the infield – shortstop Kosuke Hattori (.884 fielding %) and 3B Geno Glynn (.833 fielding %) have been the only weak links in the Mavericks defense but their fielding averages aren’t very good.

Minnesota State Approach

  • Pound the Pitchers – The Northern State pitchers have been okay at not walking too many but they don’t strike anyone out either so keep being aggressive late in the count.  On the other hand, if Wolves closer Nick Wallentiny comes in be patient.  He’s walked 13 in 9+ innings.
  • Leave Ben Kincaid in as the permanent DH from now on- since starting him about half way through the year he’s hitting .517 hitting in the 3rd spot of the lineup
  • Clone Jay Bresnahan – not really practical but I wanted to call out Bresnahan and his season to date.  He’s hitting .510 but more impressive is his .918 slugging percentage which leads all regular starters in the Northern Sun Conference

Prediction – While a tougher opponent than Crookston I’ll go with a Minnesota State sweep.  The Wolves best shot at a win will come in their game with starter Michael Gardner going.

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