• Beavers held to five hits in 3-2 Game 1 defeat
After picking up just five baserunners in the first four innings of Game 1, and riding a strong pitching performance by Bryant Salamone grabbed a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth. Tyler Norland led off with an infield single, and after being sacrificed over to second would score on Matt Middendorf’s RBI double to right out of the nine hole. Middendorf would later steal third, and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by leadoff hitter John Grindeland.
Salamone loaded the bases with one out in the first but pitched out of the jam with a strikeout and groundout, then allowed just three baserunners until the fifth inning. But, the first three Bears of the fifth reached base off Salamone, including a two-run home run by leadoff hitter Matt Borman to even the score at 2-2. Concordia would leave runners at first and second as BSU’s bullpen squashed the rally.
Tony Boxwell lead off the sixth inning with a single to left and reached second on an error by BSU third baseman Jon Czech. He scored on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Galen Wetzell to give the Bears the lead for good.
Norland led off the top of the seventh with a double down the left field line, but BSU went 1-2-3 to follow and left him at second to give Concordia the 3-2 victory.
BSU used five pitchers in the contest. Salamone was pulled after Concordia started the rally in the fifth; he finished with two runs (both earned) on just three hits with four strikeouts. But, he walked four. Russell Berner came on for Salamone and allowed a hit to the only batter he faced, and Scott Pugliese took the loss in relief. He allowed a single earned run on two hits in 1.2 innings of work. Dan Wagner walked the only man he faced in the bottom of the sixth, and Dave Zothman recorded the final out. Pugliese falls to 0-5.
• Concordia-St. Paul gets tying run on with two out in seventh, but Game 2 rally falls short
En route to a season-high 14 runs, Bemidji State stormed to a 7-0 lead after four innings and then held on for dear life in a thrilling 14-13 victory over Concordia-St. Paul in Game 2.
A two-run home run by Czech fuelled a three-run third inning which helped stake BSU to a 4-0 lead, and a two-run bomb from designated hitter Shaun Ross capped a three-run fourth to give the Beavers the 7-0 cushion.
But after Quarberg flew out to center to lead off the home half of the fourth, the Bear bats exploded. Ten of the next 11 Concordia batters reached base in the inning, seven via base hit, and by the time the rally was over the Bears had tied the game at 7-7. There was no “big blow” in the inning, as no single Bear hitter had more than one RBI in the inning.
BSU recaptured the lead with four unearned runs in the top of the fifth. A two-RBI single from Ross scored Chris Dvorak and Middendorf to get the inning going, and Czech would follow with a two-run single to score Ross and Jared Podraza to put BSU out in front 11-7.
Concordia answered with three runs of its own in the home half of the fifth, getting a bases-loaded walk to Dennis Schlundt and an RBI fielder’s choice to Steve Butler to pull within a run, 11-10.
But BSU would pad its lead with three runs in the top of the seventh. Isaac Smieja, who had come on as a pinch hitter in the fifth, delivered a two-RBI triple to score pinch-runner Matt Simonson and Czech, and Smieja would later score on an error to give BSU a 14-10 edge.
Quarberg tried to get the Bears back in it, ripping a three-run home run with two out in the home half of the seventh to pull the Bears within 14-13, but after Andy Hanson singled to put the tying run on, Chris Lambader grounded out to second to end the rally and give BSU the win.
The Golden Bear defense handed the game to Bemidji State. Concordia committed five errors in the contest, most by a BSU opponent since South Dakota also had five on March 21, leading to six unearned BSU runs. BSU’s first run of the game was unearned; Grindeland scored unearned before Ross’s home run in the fourth, and all four BSU runs in the fifth were a result of Bear defensive miscues.
Czech finished 4-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored, putting up the best single-game effort by a BSU player so far this season. His four hits and four RBI are both season-high by a Beaver. Ross finished 2-for-4 and also had four RBI.
BSU’s split leaves the Beavers leading the all-time series with Concordia-St. Paul, 9-3, including a 4-2 edge in NSIC games. The Beavers have now won three of their last five starts after starting the season 0-19.
The split moved Bemidji State to 3-21 overall and 2-6 in NSIC play; the Golden Bears remain a .500 team at 9-9 overall but now stand 6-2 in the NSIC. Bemidji State is back in action Tuesday, April 6 with a non-conference double-header at North Dakota.