Unlike last season, no miraculous late surge will be needed to get the Mount Marty baseball team into the Great Plains Athletic Conference Tournament.
MMC enters the final weekend of GPAC play at 8-8 (16-22 overall), tied for fourth with Nebraska Wesleyan. The ninth place team, Briar Cliff, sits three games back in the win column (two back overall), and third place Morningside is two games up.
But MMC still has to take care of business, with Briar Cliff coming to town on Thursday and the Lancers traveling to Dakota Wesleyan on Saturday.
Without all-conference infielder Derrik Nelson, hurt before the Lancers made their Arizona trip, the Lancers have struggled defensively.
As a team, MMC ranks eighth in the GPAC in fielding (.941) after leading the league in that category a year ago. The Lancers also rank sixth in team ERA (5.03), but third in team batting average (.287).
Some of the team’s leaders have done their best to help steady the ship.
Junior first baseman Jared Miller ranks third in the GPAC in batting average (.386), third in slugging percentage (.606) and fourth in RBI per game (0.87). He also leads the league in on-base percentage (.470) and ranks second in hits per game (1.29), fourth in doubles (13) and third in home runs (5).
Sophomore Zac Hollenback ranks fourth in hits per game (1.25) and seventh in batting average at .351, but leads the league in both runs scored (37) and runs per game (0.97).
Junior Tyler Edler ranks 10th in RBI per game (0.66), with senior Mathias Godsil ranking 18th (0.58).
Senior Cassidy Key-Darlington has averaged 6.44 innings per outing — with an inning of relief thrown in the mix — and ranks second in the GPAC with 58 total innings pitched. He also ranks third with 48 strikeouts. His 2.33 walks per nine innings ranks eighth, with juniors Dominic Wieseler (13th, 2.74) and A.J. Griffith (14th, 2.76) also ranking in the top 15.
Wieseler ranks fifth in the league in earned-run average (2.93), with Griffith ranking 17th (4.22). Wieseler also ranks fourth in the league with 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings, and is tied for fifth with 45 total strikeouts.
Thursday’s start with Briar Cliff is scheduled for 5 p.m. The DWU-MMC game is set for a 4 p.m. start on Saturday.
The 2013 GPAC Tournament will be played in Hastings May 2-4.
W-L Per GB
Northwestern (23-14) 13-1 .929 —
Doane (26-16) 11-5 .688 3
Morningside (20-21) 10-6 .625 4
Neb. Wesleyan (13-16) 8-8 .500 6
Mount Marty (16-22) 8-8 .500 6
Midland (25-18) 7-7 .500 6
Dakota Wesleyan (20-21) 7-9 .438 7
Hastings (11-24) 7-9 .438 7
Briar Cliff (9-27) 5-9 .357 8
Concordia (12-23) 5-11 .313 9
Dordt (5-20) 3-11 .214 10