BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Baseball Field) - Bemidji State senior Tony Klaers (Elk River, Minn.) went 5-for-7 at the plate with two home runs, three RBI and four runs scored to help the Beavers to a non-conference double-header split with the North Dakota Fighting Sioux in BSU’s 2006 home opener. The Fighting Sioux plated nine runs in the third inning in Game 1 then held off a furious BSU rally before holding on for an 11-8 victory, and BSU was in control from start to finish in a 9-2 victory to garner the split.
Bemidji State grabbed a 1-0 lead in Game 1 when Klaers singled home Tadhg Baucom (Chicago, Ill.) with none out in the first inning. North Dakota evened the ledger when Matt Simonson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the top of the second, then blew the game open with a nine-run third.
Tim Burns cranked a two-run home run to straight-away center field with none out to spark the rally, and Mike Lundeen drew a walk to load the bases with one out and chase BSU starter Jeff Marjamaa (Menahga, Minn.). Tony Meech (Menahga, Minn.) came on in relief, and was welcomed to the game by a two-run single by Nate Meissner to help the Fighting Sioux grab a 4-1 advantage. Troy Wasiloski singled home a run with the bases loaded later in the inning to set up Bemidji native Jason Fairchild, who cleared the bases with his second triple of the season to push the UND lead to 9-1. Burns grounded out to short with the bases loaded to drive in the ninth Sioux run of the frame, and James Beard later flied out to right with one on to stop the bleeding.
From there, however, BSU was able to assemble a rally and claw back into the game. BSU scored one in the bottom of the third on a solo home run to right by Klaers, helping the Beavers out-score the Fighting Sioux 7-1 over the game’s final 4.5 innings.
Lundeen homered to right center with one out in the fourth to stake UND to an 11-2 advantage, and from there the Fighting Sioux would garner just one hit over the game’s final 3.2 innings as BSU attempted its comeback.
BSU answered the Lundeen home run with an RBI single by Casey Allar (Sartell, Minn.) in the home half of the fourth, and plated a single run in the fifth when Eric Pilgrim (Park Rapids, Minn.) reached on an RBI fielder’s choice to pull within 11-4.
The Beavers shaved the UND lead to 11-7 with a three-run sixth. Baucom reached on an RBI fielder’s choice with one out, and the Beavers took advantage of a passed ball and a wild pitch to score two unearned runs and pull within four.
Matt Asche (Cedar Falls, Iowa) led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, and Matt Middendorf (Sauk Centre, Minn.) doubled him home with one out to cut the UND lead to three. Matt Pesta (Long Prairie, Minn.) grounded out to the catcher and Dan Wagner (Hermantown, Minn.) struck out looking to end the rally.
Marjamaa allowed six runs (six earned) on seven hits in two and a third innings of work as BSU’s starter, and took the loss to fall to 0-1 on the year. He walked one and struck out two. Meech pitched 4.2 innings in relief and allowed five runs (five earned) on six hits with a strikeout and three walks.
Ryan Hendrickson started and pitched five innings to earn the win for UND. He allowed four runs (four earned) on eight hits with three strikeouts and a pair of walks. Cody Randt and Lucas Sandman also pitched in relief for the Fighting Sioux.
Klaers went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored to lead five BSU hitters with more than one hit in the contest.
Fairchild went 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored to pace the Sioux offense.
In Game 2, BSU scored four runs in the second and one in the third to grab a 5-0 lead, and rode a strong pitching performance from Josh Langlie (Thief River Falls, Minn.) to pick up a 9-2 win in Game 2 and garner a split in the double-header.
Langlie pitched a complete game, scattering six hits and allowing two runs while striking out eight against no walks. Langlie’s complete game was just the third of the season by a BSU hurler, and his eight strikeouts established a BSU season high.
BSU plated four runs in the second inning to give Langlie all the support he’d require. The Beavers loaded the bases with none out, and Mike Wagner (Hermantown, N.H.) sparked the frame with a two-RBI single with one out. Eric Pilgrim (Park Rapids, Minn.) later scored on a wild pitch, and John Grindeland (Moorhead, Minn.) singled home Wagner to cap the four-run inning.
Klaers scored on a wild pitch in the third to give BSU a 5-0 advantage, and North Dakota finally got to Langlie when Troy Waseloski led off the fourth with a solo home run.
The Sioux shaved the BSU lead to 5-2 when Meissner doubled home Lundeen in the fifth, but Klaers answered with his second solo home run of the twinbill to lead off the bottom of the fifth to help BSU put the game on ice.
BSU sealed the win with a three-run sixth inning. Mike Wagner walked to open the inning, and after BSU’s next two batters were retired Grindeland singled to center to help set up a two-out rally. The Beavers would load the bases and plate two runs with three consecutive infield singles, capped by a Middendorf hit down the first-base line.
Grindeland went 3-for-4 with three singles, an RBI and a run scored to lead the BSU offense, and Klaers went 2-for-3 with a solo home run, one run scored and three RBI. In total, four BSU hitters had multiple hits in the contest.
Wasiloski went 2-for-3 in Game 2, the only Sioux hitter to record more than one hit off Langlie.
Jason Fuller took the loss for UND, allowing five runs (five earned) on six hits and five walks in three innings of work. Ryan Bodell worked three innings in relief and allowed four runs (four earned) on six hits with two walks. The Sioux pitchers did not record a strikeout in Game 2.
Middendorf extended his hitting streak to seven games in the twinbill, while Asche ran his hitting streak to six consecutive games.
BSU saw its record move to 4-20 overall with the twinbillsplit, while North Dakota moved to 8-15. The Beavers are back in action on Thursday, April 13 when they open a four-game Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference series against Wayne State (Neb.). The Beavers and Wildcats will play double-headers on April 13 and 14, with first pitches slated for 1:30 p.m. and noon, respectively.