• Warriors build 7-0 lead after two, then hold on for 12-11 win in Game 1
Winona State teed off on Bemidji State starter Bryant Salamone, scoring seven earned runs off the Beaver hurler in just an inning and two thirds. The Warriors plated four runs in the first and three in the second off Salamone, with designated hitter Andrew Polehna contributing a bases-loaded walk in the first and a three-RBI double in the second.
BSU clawed back within 7-3 with a run in the second and two in the third. Jon Czech powered a solo home run opposite field with one out in the second, and Shaun Ross doubled home John Grindeland and Chris Dvorak in the third.
Winona State answered with a pair of runs in the fourth to extend its lead to 9-4 on Polehna’s fifth RBI of the day and a Craig Dolenc single, but BSU would again answer in the home half of the fourth. The Beavers plated four runs on just a single base hit to claw back to within a run at 9-8.
Grindeland reached on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded to score Dan Wagner; Dvorak scored on a fielding error; and Ross rapped a two-RBI double to score Jared Podraza and Grindeland.
But after the teams played a scoreless fifth, Winona State padded its lead with two unearned runs in the sixth without the benefit of an RBI. Dale Zwack scored on a throwing error, and Dolenc scored on a passed ball.
BSU scored two in the bottom of the sixth when Matt Middendorf and Dvorak scored on a fielder’s choice and ensuing throwing error to pull it within two runs at 11-9. But Winona State added a key insurance run in the top of the seventh when a double from Zwack scored Ben Vasquez.
Czech and Isaac Smieja drew back-to-back walks with one out in the bottom of the seventh to start the BSU rally. Eric Pilgrim, pinch-running for Czech, scored on a Middendorf two-out single, and Matt Simonson, running for Smieja, scored on a Grindeland single to pull BSU within a run, 12-11. But Podraza flew out to right to end the rally and give Winona State the 12-11 win.
Ross finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI; Middendorf went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored; and Grindeland was 1-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Salamone took the loss, falling to 0-4 on the season for the Beavers.
• Four-run fifth inning helps Winona State complete sweep of BSU, 6-5
Winona State and Bemidji State played a second back-and-forth affair in Game 2, and again the Warriors were able to take a three-run lead into the bottom of the seventh and barely make it stand.
After BSU scored the game’s first run when Grindeland scored on a sacrifice fly in the first, Winona State grabbed a 2-1 lead with single runs in the second and third innings. BSU jumped back on top with a two-run third when Grindeland and Middendorf scored on a Ross fielder’s choice and ensuing throwing error, grabbing a 3-2 advantage. BSU ran its lead to 4-2 in the fourth when Podraza scored on a wild pitch.
But Winona State took advantage of a throwing error by Czech to plate three unearned runs in a four-run fifth and take control of the game.A two-RBI single by Adam Gust was the big blow of the frame as Winona State grabbed a 6-4 lead.
BSU loaded the bases with three consecutive one-out singles in the bottom of the seventh to mount yet another crunch-time rally. Czech reached on a fielder’s choice to drive home Podraza from third, but Wagner grounded out to the mound to end the threat and send BSU to a 6-5 setback.
Grindeland went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, the only BSU hitter with more than one hit. For the game, the Beavers managed just five hits.
Tyler Norland threw his third consecutive complete game, and for the third time pitched well in a hard-luck loss. He scattered 10 hits in seven innings, allowing just two earned runs with five strikeouts and just one walk. Norland fell to 0-4.
The sweep dropped Bemidji State to 6-24 overall, 4-8 in the NSIC. Winona State improved to 20-10-1 overall and 9-3 in the conference. BSU is back in action Wednesday, April 14 for a non-conference double-header against St. Cloud State. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Central time at BSU Baseball Field.