CROOKSTON, Minn. (UMC Baseball Field) - Michael Nordyke (Ukiah, Calif.) went 6-for-8 with five runs scored, leading Bemidji State to a two-game sweep of Minn.-Crookston in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference double-header this afternoon. BSU led 6-0 after three and a half innings en route to a 9-4 victory in Game 1, then scored four runs in the sixth and seventh innings to rally to an 8-6 win in Game 2.
Nordyke went 3-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored to pace Bemidji State in Game 1. He singled and later scored BSU’s first run in a two-run first inning on an RBI single by Tony Klaers (Elk River, Minn.), singled and scored to kick-start a two-run BSU fourth, then singled and scored to spark a three-run sixth as BSU put the game out of reach.
Nordyke was one of four BSU hitters with more than one base hit in the contest. Eric Pilgrim (Park Rapids, Minn.) went 3-for-4 with an RBI, while Matt Middendorf (Sauk Centre, Minn.) and John Grindeland (Moorhead, Minn.) had two hits apiece. Middendorf scored two runs, and Grindeland had three RBI - one each in the first, third and fourth innings.
The production helped offset a rough game from the bottom of BSU’s order. The number seven, eight and nine hitters in the BSU batting order combined to go 0-for-12 at the plate.
Eddie Johnson (Bemidji, Minn.) had a strong outing on the mound for BSU. He went five and two-thirds innings, allowing seven hits and striking out seven. He allowed four runs (four earned) and walked four. Johnson allowed just two baserunners in the first three innings - Brandon Wolf reached on an error in the first and Johnson walked Aaron Motl in the second.
The Golden Eagles got a rally going in the fourth, scoring three runs and loading the bases with two out for Matt Morin, but he reached on a fielder’s choice and Jake Solberg was retired to end the threat.
Johnson was pulled in the sixth after giving up a single and a walk to load the bases with two out, but Tony Meech (Sebeka, Minn.) came on and got Wolf to ground out to end the threat. Meech allowed just one baserunner in the bottom of the seventh to seal the win for BSU.
In Game 2, BSU broke open a scoreless game by plating three runs in the top of the third. Kent Sannes (Fertile, Minn.) reached on an error and scored, and Klaers staked BSU to a 3-0 lead with a two-out, two-run home run.
Crookston plated a run in the bottom of the third, and the Beavers and Golden Eagles each scored in the fourth to make the score 4-2 in favor of the Beavers. Crookston rallied with three runs in the home half of the fifth, getting four consecutive hits to grab a 5-4 lead.
The lead was short-lived, as BSU responded with three runs in the top of the sixth to recapture the lead, 7-5. BSU lead off the frame with back-to-back singles by Bryan Martinka (Bemidji, Minn.) and Matt Asche (Durango, Iowa), and the Beavers picked up RBI on three consecutive at-bats with the bases loaded to pick up the two-run lead.
The Golden Eagles clawed back to within a run on an RBI triple by pitcher Aaron Johnson in the bottom of the sixth, but Martinka led off the seventh with a solo home run to put BSU back on top by two, 8-6.
Crookston picked up back-to-back hits to lead off the bottom of the seventh - a double by Motl and a single by Travis Buckingham - but Lee Pingel (Ashland, Wis.) notched back-to-back strikeouts and induced a ground ball to third base by Reggie Mosley to end the rally and secure the twinbill sweep for the Beavers.
Nordyke went 3-for-3 in Game 2 to cap his strong afternoon. He hit safely in his first three plate appearances, singling in the first and third and doubling in the fourth, then was intentionally walked and scored in the sixth and hit by a pitch in the seventh.
Chad Schwegel (St. Cloud, Minn.) gave up 11 hits and walked one in five and two thirds innings on the mound, and BSU’s offense was able to overcome six earned runs allowed. Schwegel struck out six and picked up the win, improving to 1-5 on the year. Pingel allowed two hits in pitching the final four outs to record the save.
The double-header sweep extends BSU’s winning streak over Minn.-Crookston to 15 consecutive games, dating back to the 2001 season. Bemidji State’s last loss to the Golden Eagles came by a score of 5-3 in Game 1 of a double-header on March 4, 2001. BSU has won 17 of the last 18 games in the series.
The sweep gives Bemidji State five wins in its last six games, improving the team to 7-30 on the season, 5-9 in NSIC play. Minn.-Crookston saw its season record fall to 1-27 overall, 1-11 in NSIC play. The teams wrap up their four-game weekend series tomorrow with a double-header. First pitch is scheduled for noon Central time at UMC Baseball Field in Crookston, Minn.