#4 St. Cloud State Clashes with the Coo in Weekend Tilt
Originally posted March 23, 2019 on KVSC.org
#4 St. Cloud State (16-3, 4-1 NSIC) continues their Northern Sun regular season schedule with a weekend set at Sioux Falls (3-15, 1-4 NSIC) beginning Saturday at 5:00 p.m.
The Huskies and the Cougars are scheduled to wrap up the three-game set with a 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. doubleheader on Sunday, subject to change.
SCSU rightfielder Mitch Mallek has been blazing hot to open NSIC play, slashing .571/.591/.905 for a 1.496 OPS with 9 runs scored and 6 RBI.
Led by closer Matt Butler’s 7.0 scoreless innings of three-hit baseball with two saves, the St. Cloud State bullpen enters the weekend having allowed a single run over 15.0 conference innings. Dominic Austing is expected to take the hill in Saturday’s series opener. The All-American ace boasts a 3-0 record and a 1.16 ERA/1.13 FIP across four starts and 23.1 frames with a gaudy 37.6% strikeout rate.
Sheldon Miks looks to rebound from a career-worst outing against Mankato in the second game of the set, his first career meeting with Sioux Falls. Blake Flint is penciled in for the third game, owning a 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA and a 1.53 FIP in his two starts.
2017 All-Region honoree Josh Rehwaldt stands as the marquee player in the USF lineup.
Over 161 collegiate games, the lefty-swinging newly-transitioned third baseman slashes .367/.437/.572 for a 1.010 OPS with 120 runs scored, 45 doubles, 7 triples, 21 home runs, 134 RBI, and 35 stolen bases in 48 tries. Rehwaldt hasn’t quite produced a “Josh Rehwaldt” season so far in 2019, hitting *just* .333 with a sole home run, but five multi-hit games in 8 career games against St. Cloud State bodes for a strong series.
Finding protection for their superstar has been an issue early on for the Cougars, as just four non-Rehwaldt players have OPS marks above .700. First baseman Ryan Bernardy, a former St. Anthony Village teammate of Huskies reliever Zach Siggelkow, has spent most of the young campaign behind Rehwaldt in the cleanup spot, slashing .254/.347/.333 with two doubles and a home run. Centerfielder Connor King (.394 OBP, 7-11 SB) and shortstop
Grant Lung (.313/.400/.406) are key contributors at the top of the order.
Having thrown ace Brandon Roesler and fellow top arm Alex Loosbrock in their Thursday midweek split with Northern State, Sioux Falls’ weekend rotation is in a bit of a flux.
Converted closer Jackson Olson is a near-lock to receive a start in the series, likely to be joined by Payton Livingston and Matt Graham. Only one of the trio’s combined 7 starts has made it through the fifth, as starting pitching will be a critical key for the Cougars during the weekend. Relief ace Christian Lazar has completely neutralized opponents in his senior campaign, firing 9.1 innings to the tune of a 0.96 ERA with 15 strikeouts, three walks and a .466 opponent OPS.
All three games will be heard on the KVSC Sports Stream with Thomas Breach on the call.