SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Ronken Field) - The Bemidji State baseball team picked up its first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference victory of the season, splitting a double-header with the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs yesterday afternoon. The Beavers got a three-RBI game from first baseman Matt Pesta (Long Prairie, Minn.) to spark a 9-1 victory in Game 1, then saw a late-inning rally fall short in a 4-2 loss in the nightcap.
Bemidji State was in control of Game 1 from the start, building a 5-0 lead after three innings. The Beavers scored two unearned runs in the top of the first, the second coming when Pesta reached on an error with one out to help score Tony Klaers (Elk River, Minn.).
The Mustangs left the bases loaded in the home half of the first, and BSU plated two more runs in the second to push its lead to 4-0. Danny Zielke (Richfield, Minn.) parked a solo home run over the left field fence with one out to put the Beavers ahead 3-0, and Klaers singled up the middle with two outs to score Matt Middendorf (Sauk Centre, Minn.).
Pesta picked up his team-leading third home run of the season to plate BSU’s lone run in the third inning.
The Mustangs garnered their only run of the contest with two outs in the fourth, when Josh Huey doubled home Greg Lauglin.
BSU responded by plating four runs in the top of the sixth to put the game away. Middendorf singled home Casey Allar (Sartell, Minn.) to open scoring for the inning and Pesta was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to drive in the second Beaver run of the inning. Matt Asche (Cedar Falls, Iowa) followed with an RBI single to right later in the frame, and BSU’s fourth run came on a sacrifice fly to center by Eric Pilgrim (Park Rapids, Minn.).
Bryant Salamone (Rockford, Ill.) was stellar on the mound, garnering his first win of the season by scattering six hits over six innings. He allowed the lone Mustang run in the fourth, walked four and struck out four. His 6.0 innings tied a season high by a BSU hurler, helping even his season record at 1-1. Tony Meech (Menahga, Minn.) pitched the seventh and allowed one hit and a walk to cap the victory for the Beavers.
Pesta finished 2-for-2 with three RBI and a run scored, and Klaers went 3-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored to lead a group of four Beavers with multi-hit games. Asche and Pilgrim each went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Middendorf went 1-for-3 with two walks, one RBI and a team-high three runs scored.
Southwest Minnesota State hurler John Goneau held the Beavers in check in Game 2, however, taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning as the Mustangs built a 4-0 advantage they’d not relinquish.
Ryan Norman tripled and later stole home to get the Mustangs on the board in the bottom of the first, and Nathan Koppi singled home Eric Eveslage in the third to give Southwest Minnesota State a 2-0 lead. The Mustangs pushed the lead to 4-0 with a two-run fifth, where Laughlin hit a two-run home run with one out.
Pilgrim singled with two out in the fifth to break up Goneau’s no-hitter, and Allar broke up the shutout in the sixth when he scored after John Grindeland (Moorhead, Minn.) reached on an error by Mustang center fielder Ryan Norman.
BSU assembled another rally in the top of the seventh when Allar singled home Pilgrim to pull BSU within 4-2, but Middendorf struck out and left the bases loaded to end the contest.
Both teams had strong performances from their starting pitchers, both of whom pitched complete games. Goneau went seven innings for the Mustangs and allowed just five hits with four strikeouts. He allowed two runs (one earned) and walked only one, improving to 2-1 on the year.
He out-duelled BSU’s Eddie Johnson (Bemidji, Minn.), who pitched six innings and allowed four runs (four earned) on six hits but took the loss and fell to 0-4. He struck out seven, tying a season high for a BSU pitcher, and walked three.
Pilgrim and Allar each went 2-for-3 in the contest, accounting for four of BSU’s five hits. Pilgrim ran his hitting streak to four.
moved its record to 3-13 overall, 1-5 in NSIC play, with the split.
Southwest Minnesota State moved to 6-18 and 1-5 in NSIC play. The
Beavers are back in action Wednesday, April 5 with a non-conference
double-header at Jamestown (N.D.). First pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m.