WARRENSBURG, Mo. — A magical 2021 season came to a close for Henderson State on Sunday afternoon as the Reddies fell to No. 3 seed Minnesota State 7-4 in the semifinal round of the NCAA Central Regional.
The loss ends the year for GAC Champion HSU, who finishes with a 27-19 record and as one of the last four teams standing in a stacked Central Region. The Reddies faced the top three seeds at the regional tournament, all of whom were ranked inside the Top-15 nationally, and battled three starting pitchers who were a combined 26-1 on the year.
Henderson, the No. 6 seed, led for the majority of the game against the No. 13 team in the country, Minnesota State. The Reddies took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI double from Kaden Argenbright, then extended their advantage to 3-0 in the second inning on a two-run single from Alec Lewis.
The Mavericks got two runs back in the bottom half of the third to cut their deficit to 3-2, but at that point, both pitchers settled in. MSU’s Brendan Knoll, who gave up five straight hits in the third, proceeded to sit the next 14 Reddie batters down in order, while HSU freshman Ethan Perry, who entered in the fourth, kept Minnesota State off the board for the next four innings.
The contest turned for HSU in the eighth. Clinging to a 3-2 lead, Henderson got back-to-back hits from Argenbright and Lewis to put runners on the corners with no one out. The Mavericks escaped, however, as their All-American reliever Hunter Even left two stranded to keep the score intact.
Minnesota State capitalized on the momentum in the bottom half and used four hits, including a three-run home run, to plate five runs and seize a 7-3 lead.
Down to their final three outs, Henderson refused to go away quietly in the top of the ninth. HSU got a solo home run from Danny Mitchell Jr. to make it 7-4, then got back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases with two outs. With a chance to pull off another furious comeback, the Reddies saw a full-count strike call go against them, which ended the game for MSU.
Argenbright had three hits and two doubles to lead HSU at the plate, while Lewis finished with two hits and two RBIs. Joe Myers recorded two hits in his final game for the Reddies, which was the 195th of his career.
Perry took the loss despite a terrific performance where he threw four innings, struck out four, and allowed just two runs on four hits. Brayden Bebee entered briefly for Henderson in the eighth, which marked his third appearance in three games at the Central Regional.
Originally picked seventh in the 2021 GAC Preseason Poll, the Reddies won the program’s first conference title in 39 years this spring and earned the school’s second-ever berth to the NCAA Tournament.