With the Minnesota College Athletic Conference baseball season heading into the home stretch, many around the league are looking to the sky and the temperature gauge as much as the current standings. Weather-permitting, the last weekend in April should prove to be an important one, with several teams needing wins to keep pace with divisional leaders.
Three squads have already eclipsed the 20-win mark on the season, and a fourth is knocking on the twenty victory door. St. Cloud Technical and Community College is currently sitting at 24-4 overall and a perfect 6-0 mark in the MCAC Central while Itasca Community College heads into the weekend at 22-14 overall, and proud owners of a 10-0 Northern Division mark. Although Riverland Community College enjoys a 21-4 overall record, their 4-2 South ledger puts them behind Minnesota West, who sport an unbeaten 6-0 MCAC slate and a 19-15 overall mark.
Individually, MCAC student-athletes are making a statement at the national level - particularly on the pitching mound. The NJCAA notes that three of the top five hurlers in the country in the earned run average category call the MCAC home; #3 Alex Hexum of Minnesota State-Fergus Falls , #4 Uriel Rosario from Mesabi Range College and #5 Fransico Colon who plays for Riverland, are holding opponents to minimal joy at the plate. Also in ERA, three additional Conference pitchers rank just slightly behind the nation's best, with #6 Ricardo Garcia (SCTCC), #9 Henry Pesch (Northland CTC) and #11 Jake Erickson (Riverland) hoping to pitch for their teams this weekend.
Minnesota West enjoys having two pitchers in the meritorious ranks for strikeouts, with 6th ranked Eric Alicia (69 k's) and 9th place Nathan Arroyo (63 k's) mowing down hitters at an impressive clip. Ridgewater's Colton Blain is tied for fifth in the county in saves with seven.
Offensively, Anoka Ramsey's Jake Hansen is hitting .462, good for 15th overall, while right behind him, Josh Molina is 16th while batting . 458 so far this year for Riverland. The MCAC shines on the basepaths, with five athletes being found in the NJCAA Division III Top 20 in stolen bases: #6 Andrew Black, #8 Cody Carpenter and #13 Raheem Hasan, all Rainy River Voyageurs, as well as Anoka's Ryan Lust (tied at 13th with Hasan) and #16 Kevin Cruz (Ridgwater).
For a peek at the NJCAA national statistical leaders in both team and individual categories, be sure to visit: www.njcaa.org/bsb
As the weather impacts the MCAC weekend baseball schedule, be sure to click here for up-to-date schedules and scores.
Story courtesy of MCAC Sports