BEMIDJI, Minn. - Bemidji State first baseman Matt Pesta (Long Prairie, Minn.) has been named All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, the league office announced late last week. Pesta headlines a group of three Bemidji State players who earned All-NSIC honors; senior third baseman Tony Klaers (Elk River, Minn.) and junior outfielder Eric Pilgrim (Park Rapids, Minn.) both were named Honorable Mention All-NSIC.
• Pesta led the Beavers with 36 RBI and finished fourth on the team with a .299 batting average. He was the team’s leading power hitter, pacing the squad with nine home runs, sixth-most in the NSIC, and a .567 slugging percentage. He also hit the only triple of the season by a BSU hitter. Pesta had 12 multi-hit games to rank fourth on the team, and led the squad with 11 multiple-RBI contests, including two of BSU’s three five-RBI games this season.
He finished fourth in the NSIC in fielding chances (271) and his .982 fielding percentage ranked eighth in the league.
Pesta appeared in 39 of BSU’s 45 games this season, and 36 of his 38 starts came at first base. He assembled a remarkable five-game run early in the season which saw him go 10-for-21 at the plate with a double, two home runs, three runs scored and 14 RBI. He went 2-for-5 with a home run and five RBI in BSU’s March 13 win at Wayland Baptist to spark a streak of five consecutive multiple-RBI games. He had three RBI in BSU’s April 3 win at Southwest Minnesota State, eight RBI in BSU’s series with Concordia-St. Paul, including five RBI in Game 2 of an April 22 double-header, and went 3-for-5 with a double, a home run and five RBI in an April 25 win at North Dakota.
• Klaers was one of BSU’s leading offensive threats all season. He led the team with a .369 batting average, which ranked him ninth in the NSIC, and also led the team in runs scored (32), base hits (52), doubles (10), total bases (77), walks drawn (23) and on-base percentage (.464). His .464 on-base percentage ranked sixth in the NSIC and his 23 walks ranked third in the conference. He was one of three BSU players to appear in all 45 games this season, and one of two to start every game. He started 36 games at third base, six games at catcher and three at first base.
Klaers tied for the team lead with 15 multi-hit games and had a team-leading four games with three or more hits. He had eight games with two or more RBI, second on the team behind Pesta, and had a five-RBI day in BSU’s Game 1 win at Northern State on May 6.
He also was one of BSU’s most-consistent hitters. Klaers hit safely in 13 of BSU’s first 15 games and closed the season with a six-game hitting streak. He went back-to-back games without a hit only three times, and his longest slump was a 1-for-14 drought over a six-game span in early April. He struck out just 10 times in 141 at-bats.
• Pilgrim was BSU’s third-leading hitter at .305 and also finished third with 43 base hits. He was fourth with 54 total bases, and his .383 on-base percentage also ranked fourth on the team. He drew 21 walks, second on the team only to Klaers, and tied for seventh in the NSIC. He had 13 multi-hit games, third on the team, including two three-hit games. Pilgrim appeared in 44 of BSU’s 45 games, and started each game. He had 39 starts in left field and five in center.
Klaers was an Honorable Mention All-NSIC selection in 2005. Pesta and Pilgrim earned their first career All-NSIC honors.
Wayne State junior Travis Mortimore was named the 2006 NSIC Pitcher of the Year; Winona State senior outfielder Joe Magee was the NSIC Player of the Year; Winona State junior Ben Barrone was Newcomer of the Year and Concordia-St. Paul outfielder Alex Kubal was Freshman of the Year. Wayne State’s John Manganaro was named NSIC Coach of the Year.
Bemidji State finished its 2006 season with a 10-35 record under first-year head coach Tim Bellew and was the NSIC’s fifth-place team at 3-13 in conference play.