BEMIDJI, Minn. - Bemidji State senior infielder Jon Czech and senior utility player Shaun Ross have been named to the First-Team All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference baseball team, as announced by league officials. The duo headlines a group of four BSU players to earn All-NSIC recognition in 2004; pitchers Tyler Norland and Scott Pugliese were named Honorable Mention All-NSIC.
• Czech (Little Falls, Minn.) led the Beavers and tied for fourth in the NSIC with a school-record 11 home runs this season. He broke Jamie Sinning’s 14-year-old school standard of 10, set in 1990. Czech also led the team with 34 runs batted in. He finished second on the team in hitting (.331) and was second with 48 base hits, and added seven doubles. Czech also finished ninth in NSIC in fielding chances.
Czech led the team with nine multiple-RBI games, including a four-RBI game at Concordia-St. Paul on April 4, 2004. That game, Czech went 4-for-5 with a double, a home run, four RBI and two runs scored. It kicked off a stretch of four consecutive games with a home run, snapped April 8 in Game 2 of a double-header with Winona State.
• Ross (Bemidji, Minn.) came on after a slow start which saw him hitting just .194 after 12 games to hit an even .300 for the year, fourth on the team. He had a team-high 13 doubles and was second behind Czech with seven home runs and 33 RBI. His .557 slugging percentage also was second on the team behind Czech. Ross tied for the team lead with 14 multi-hit games, including one of just three four-hit games by a BSU hitter in 2004. He finished second behind Czech with eight multi-RBI games, including a BSU season-high five RBI at Concordia-St. Paul on April 4, 2004.
Ross was one of the NSIC’s best at throwing out baserunners, erasing seven runners in just 12 starts at catcher for the season.
• Norland (Fertile, Minn.) was one of the NSIC’s true hard-luck pitchers in 2004. He finished the season with a 1-7 record, but was sixth in the NSIC in earned-run average at 3.92 and received poor run support all season. BSU was held to two runs or less six times in Norland’s 10 starts, including three games which saw BSU get shut out and one game in which it was held to a single run. For the year, BSU averaged just 3.6 runs per game in Norland’s 10 starts and scored more than five runs just twice.
Norland finished fifth in the NSIC in innings pitched (64.1) and held opponents to a .299 batting average, 10th in the NSIC.
• Pugliese (Duluth, Minn.) made 16 appearances for Bemidji State, five starts and 11 relief appearances. While posting just a 1-4 record with an 11.12 ERA as a starter, late in the season Pugliese became one of the strongest relievers in the NSIC. He posted a 2-2 record with a 4.62 ERA and struck out 19 batters in 25.1 innings out of the bullpen. Both wins in relief came during the season’s final two weeks; he limited Minn.-Crookston to four hits in four relief innings on April 17 and held eventual NSIC champion Wayne State to just two hits in 2.2 shutout innings with four strikeouts on April 25. Opponents hit just .275 off Pugliese when he came out of the bullpen as opposed to .380 during his five starts.
Pugliese’s 16 appearances ranked him seventh in the NSIC, while he finished eighth in the league in games finished.
Ross has been First-Team All-NSIC each of the last three seasons, while Czech earns his second consecutive First-Team honor. Norland earns his second consecutive Honorable-Mention All-NSIC honor, and Pugliese was named All-Conference for the first time in his career.
Bemidji State wrapped up its 2004 season with a 14-34 overall record, 11-17 against the NSIC. BSU’s 48 games played tied the school record set in 1994, and its 28 league games played set another school standard. The Beavers went 14-15 in their final 29 games after an 0-19 start.