BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Baseball Field) - St. Cloud State used a six-RBI game from third baseman Nate Swan to pick up a 9-4 victory over Bemidji State in Game 1 of a non-conference double-header, but the Beavers built a 6-1 lead through four innings and then held on to capture Game 2, 6-5, and garner a series split. The teams survived windy conditions, as both games were played with a stiff crosswind blowing across from right field.
The Huskies opened Game 1 by scoring three runs on the benefit of just two hits. Bemidji State starter Bryant Salamone (Rockford, Ill.) opened the contest by hitting Husky leadoff hitter Dan Gaughan then issuing back-to-back walks. Gaughan was caught stealing, and Swan reached on an RBI fielder’s choice to kick-start his big day and drive home the first St. Cloud State run of the game. Kyle Johnson followed with a wind-aided two-run home run over the left field fence, helping the visitors grab a three-run lead.
BSU answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by Matt Asche (Cedar Falls, Iowa) and an RBI single from Matt Pesta (Long Prairie, Minn.) to pull BSU back within a run.
But a one-out walk loaded the bases for Swan in the top of the second, and he delivered a grand slam on his first pitch from Salamone to propel the Huskies to a 7-2 advantage.
BSU picked up a run in the third when Pesta singled through the left side to score John Grindeland (Moorhead, Minn.) and cut the lead to 7-3, but the Huskies scored single runs in the fifth and sixth to pull away. Swan’s sixth RBI of the game came on a two-out double in the sixth to cap the St. Cloud State scoring at nine runs.
BSU tried to get a rally going in the seventh, scoring once when Matt Middendorf (Sauk Centre, Minn.) reached on a fielder’s choice and scored Asche, but Dan Wagner (Hermantown, Minn.) struck out to end the threat.
Salamone pitched four innings for BSU, surrendering seven runs (seven earned) on five hits and four walks. He struck out two and took the loss to fall to 1-3. Chad Schwegel (St. Joseph, Minn.) pitched the final three innings in relief and held the Huskies to two runs (one earned) on four hits. He walked two.
Ryan Carlson pitched a complete game to pick up the win for the Huskies. He allowed four runs (four earned) on seven hits, while walking four and striking out four.
Pesta went 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead the BSU offense. Pilgrim added a pair of hits in three at-bats with one run scored.
Bemidji State grabbed a 6-1 lead after four innings in Game 2, then fought off a furious St. Cloud State rally which saw the visitors score twice in the top of the seventh to close the gap to one run.
Pesta tripled to lead off the second inning and later scored on a Middendorf sacrifice bunt to get BSU on the board, and the Beavers pushed their lead to 3-1 in the third on a solo home run by Eric Pilgrim (Park Rapids, Minn.) and an RBI double from Tony Klaers (Elk River, Minn.).
Dan Zielke (Richfield, Minn.) delivered a two-RBI single to score Middendorf and Mike Wagner (Plymouth, N.H.) with one out in the fourth, and the Beavers went ahead 6-1 when Grindeland delivered an infield single to the shortstop to drive home Dan Wagner.
St. Cloud State chewed into the lead with two runs in the top of the fifth. Kyle Johnson gathered an RBI single to left and was thrown out trying to extend the hit to a double, and Ryan Tschida reached on an error by Mike Wagner to score Swan.
BSU left five on in the fifth and sixth innings, leaving the bases loaded in the fifth, to help allow St. Cloud State to stay in the game.
The Huskies went in order in the sixth, but Bruce Thompson walked to lead off the top of the seventh and help St. Cloud State assemble one final rally. Luke Klitzke followed Thompson’s walk with a home run to left center and cut BSU’s lead to 6-5. Tschida singled to left with two out to keep the rally going, but Ryan Sturm struck out to secure the split for the Beavers.
Eddie Johnson pitched five innings for BSU to pick up the win, and Tony Meech picked up his first save for working the sixth and seventh.
Bemidji State saw its season mark move to 5-25 overall after the split, while St. Cloud State’s season mark moved to 6-23. The Beavers continue midweek non-conference play tomorrow when they host the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs for a two-game series. First pitch for the double-header is slated for 2:00 p.m. Central time at the BSU Baseball Field.