Baseball Enters MIAC Playoffs as No. 1 Seed

Posted on May 11th, 2023 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus baseball team is set to play Bethel in the first round of the MIAC postseason tournament at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in Collegeville. The Gusties enter the postseason as the No. 1 seed after finishing the regular season 16-4 in the MIAC (26-12 overall), while the Royals are the No. 4 seed at 14-6 in the league (26-10 overall). The entire four-team double-elimination playoff will be held at Saint John’s Thursday through Saturday.



The Gusties are making their 10th MIAC postseason tournament appearance – which was initiated in 2000 – and hold a 12-18 all-time record. Last season the Gusties made it to the championship game, losing 9-3 to Bethel. Gustavus has never made it to the NCAA tournament, which began in 1976.


The Gusties moved into first place in the MIAC on May 2 with a sweep over Bethel, who entered the doubleheader in the top spot. The Gusties cruised to victories of 12-3 and 8-0.

Gustavus 12, Bethel 3 | BOX SCORE

The Royals took and early 2-0 after the top of the third, scoring one in the second after a triple and an error, and another in the third after a triple and sac fly. The lead didn’t last long as the Gusties put up five runs in the bottom half. Bryce Novak (Sr., Cleveland) led off with a double and scored on a single by Jack Hanson (Sr., Minnetonka). After an error, Drake Siens (Jr., Rogers) knocked in Hanson with a single marking Hanson’s 136th career run, becoming the program’s all-time leader in runs.

Logan Bjorkman (Sr., Lindstrom) then reached on a fielder’s choice and Chris Knowles (Jr., New Ulm) followed with a three-run homer, his sixth of the season.

The Gusties added a run in the fourth as Hanson reached on an error and later scored on a ground-rule double by Siens, his MIAC-leading 16th of the season. Siens is now two doubles shy of the program’s single season record.

Knowles led off the fifth with a single and Nick Azar (Sr., Edina) ensued with a double, putting runners in scoring position for Patrick Timmer (Sr., Lakeville) who came in clutch with a two-run single.

Gustavus put the game out of reach in the sixth with four more runs. Siens hit his fourth homer of the season, later followed by RBIs from Azar, Tomas Nelson (Fy., Maplewood), and Luke Johnson (Sr., Paynesville).

Mitch Casperson (Jr., Le Sueur) continued to impress on the mound, picking up his fifth win of the season after throwing six innings with one earned run on six hits and four strikeouts. Sam Baker (So., Lakeville) closed out the game after allowing one run in the seventh.

Siens led the team at the plate, batting 3-for-3 with a run, three RBI, a double, home run, and hit by pitch.

Gustavus 8, Bethel 0 | BOX SCORE

Adam Biewen (Jr., Golden Valley) was the story of game two, tossing a complete game shutout with just two hits allowed and eight strikeouts. Biewen was perfect into the fifth inning, retiring 14 straight before allowing the first hit.

Gavin Baker’s (Sr., Lakeville) MIAC-leading 10th home run in the first inning, a solo shot, was all the Gusties needed, but certainly not all they scored.

Azar hit a two-run homer in the second followed by two more runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings. Azar hit a sac fly in the fourth followed by an RBI single by Timmer. In the fifth, Novak led off with a walk and Hanson ensued with his sixth homer of the season and the team’s 36th of the season.

Novak plated the final run in the sixth with an RBI single to score Azar.

Biewen put a stamp on the victory in the ninth, closing out the game with a swinging strikeout for his second win of the season.

Timmer led game two at the dish, batting 3-for-4 with an RBI.


Gustavus clinched its 15th MIAC regular season title Sunday with a doubleheader split against St. Olaf. The Gusties enter the playoffs with the top pitching staff in the conference, owning a 4.39 ERA and a .253 opponent batting average. Mitch Casperson, today’s projected starter, is a strong candidate for MIAC Pitcher of the Year with a league-low 2.60 ERA. Casperson is 5-2 in nine starts with two complete games and 52 innings. He has struck out a league-high 55 batters. Bryce Novak is the leading hitter with a .411 average (6th/MIAC) and leads the conference with 60 hits. Drake Siens is next with a .394 average and a league-leading 16 doubles and .734 slugging percentage. Gavin Baker leads the MIAC with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs.


Bethel ended the season 4-4 to earn the No. 4 seed in playoffs after winning the conference regular season and playoff titles last year. The Royals are hitting .325 at a team (3rd/MIAC), led by Matthew Carlsen with a .420 average (3rd/MIAC). Carlsen leads the league with 45 runs, 60 hits, and 90 total bases. Nick Kulseth is next with a .383 average. Max Sutter and Marcus Krupke are the top starting pitchers. Sutter is 4-1 with a 4.07 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 48.2 innings, while Krupke is 4-2 with a 6.35 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 39.2 innings.


Thursday’s game marks the 93rd meeting between Gustavus and Bethel with the Royals leading the all-time series 50-42. Bethel won all four games against Gustavus last year, but the Gusties swept the Royals this season. Gustavus and Bethel have played each other three times in the postseason with the Royals holding a 2-1 advantage. All three playoff games were played in the past two seasons.


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