WARRENSBURG, Mo. (Crane Stadium) - Bemidji State baseball dropped three games to nationally-ranked opponents at the Central Missouri State Classic, losing 15-4 to No. 30 Emporia State; 8-4 to No. 11 Grand Valley State and 12-2 to third-ranked Central Missouri State this past weekend.
BSU opened the Classic with its fifth consecutive loss to Emporia State to open the season. The Hornets, who hosted BSU in a four-game series the previous weekend, posted a 15-4 win over BSU in its only Classic game on Friday, March 12
The Hornets scored five runs in the first inning and led 9-0 after three innings to put BSU in a hole from which it could not dig itself. BSU pulled back within 9-2 on a two-run home run by Matt Asche in the bottom of the fourth, but Emporia State responded with two in the sixth and four in the seventh to lead 15-2.
The Beavers scored a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh for the game’s final 15-4 margin.
Michael Nordyke went 2-for-3 with a walk for the Beavers, leading a group of four BSU players with multiple hits in the game. John Grindeland went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI single in the seventh; Jared Podraza went 2-for-3 with an RBI; and Asche went 2-for-3 with his fourth-inning two-run homer.
Nate Erlandson gave up nine earned runs on 10 hits in four innings pitched. He took the loss and fell to 0-2. BSU’s pitching staff surrendered three home runs in the contest, two by Erlandson - solo home runs in the first and fifth innings by Hornet first baseman Scott Smith.
In Game 2 of the Classic on March 11, Grand Valley State used a six-run second to help it get out to an 8-0 lead heading into the third inning, then squashed a Bemidji State rally in the middle innings at four runs before holding on to win 8-4.
Nick Sandy led off the six-run second for the Lakers with a solo home run. An error by BSU shortstop Matt Middendorf led to four unearned runs in the inning. Nick Smith had a two-run double for the Lakers and Chad Rohacs had an RBI single.
Podraza had a solo home run for the Beavers in the fourth to make the score 8-1, and BSU would score three in the sixth to get within 8-4. Middendorf led off the inning with a single up the middle, and Michael Nordyke followed with a single to left field. John Grindeland singled to center with one out to score Middendorf, and Nordyke came home to score, unearned, on an error by Laker shortstop Ryan Lyster to make the score 8-3. Matt Asche reached on a fielder’s choice and drove home Middendorf, but Dan Wagner struck out to end the rally.
The strikeout of Wagner settled Grand Valley starter Jeremy Dow. He became the first of 10 consecutive BSU batters Dow retired to end the game, six coming via strikeout. Dow struck out the side in the seventh, sat BSU down one-two-three in the eighth on a strikeout and a pair of groundouts to third, and capped the game in the ninth with a strikeout and two flyouts to center.
Dow allowed six hits in the nine-inning complete game, striking out 10 and walking none. He allowed four runs (three earned) and allowed just two extra-base hits - Podraza’s homer and a second-inning double to Dan Wagner.
Eddie Johnson took the loss for BSU. He allowed eight runs - but just three earned - on seven hits in four innings of work. He struck out three and walked two, falling to 0-2 on the year. Scott Sand and Tony Meech pitched in relief.
In its final game at the Classic, Bemidji State held a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the second inning against No. 3 Central Missouri State. Trailing 1-0, Mike Wagner singled and Matt Middendorf was hit by a pitch to lead off the second inning. After a sacrifice bunt advanced both runners, John Grindeland had an RBI groundout to score Wagner and a single to left by Jared Podraza put BSU ahead 2-1.
But Central Missouri State responded in the home half of the second, plating five runs to recapture the lead. Back-to-back two-RBI singles from the seven- and eight-hole hitters were the big blows in the inning. The five-run rally put the hosts ahead, 6-2, and would be part of 11 unanswered runs to close the game.
After the two-run second, BSU only had two runners reach second base the remainder of the contest.
Nate Heim started and pitched 2 1/3 innings for BSU. He allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits and two walks, taking the loss to fall to 0-2 on the year. Chad Schwegel, Lee Pingel and Tony Meech pitched in relief.
Jason Shutt allowed four hits over six innings to earn the win for Central Missouri State. He improved to 5-0 on the season.
BSU played its first games under interim head coach Mike Benke. Benke took over last week for Chris Brown, who resigned to become the head coach at Montana State-Billings.
The three weekend losses drop Bemidji State’s record to 0-7 to open the 2005 season and extend the team’s losing streak to eight. BSU wraps up its spring trip to open the 2005 classic at the Missouri Southern Tournament in Joplin, Mo. and Pittsburg, Kan. BSU plays a single nine-inning game with Missouri-Western on March 14; a single nine-inning game at Pittsburg State on March 16 and a double-header against Washburn (Kan.) on March 17.