PLAINVIEW, Texas - Bemidji State infielder Matt Pesta (Long Prairie, Minn.) went 2-for-5 with a team-leading five RBI, helping lift the Beavers past Wayland Baptist (Texas), 16-6, in non-conference play yesterday. The victory was the first of the season for Bemidji State, and the first for BSU rookie skipper Tim Bellew.
Pesta, hitting cleanup, kicked off Bemidji State’s biggest scoring output in a non-conference game since 2002 with a three-run home run with one out in the top of the first inning to give the Beavers an early lead. The BSU senior drove home Matt Middendorf (Sauk Centre, Minn.), who led off the game with a double to left, and Tony Klaers (Elk River, Minn.) who reached on a walk.
Wayland shaved the BSU lead to 3-1 when designated hitter Jacob Palomarez drew a bases-loaded walk to score pinch runner Eric Brown with one out in the second, but the Beavers responded with a five-run third inning to put the game out of reach.
All five BSU runs in the pivotal third inning came with two men out, as the Beavers saw John Grindeland (Moorhead, Minn.) and Pesta thrown out at the plate. Dan Zielke (Richfield, Minn.) doubled to left, and Middendorf picked up a bases-clearing three-RBI single to push BSU’s lead to 8-1 before Klaers flied out to right to end the threat.
The Pioneers showed some life in the home half of the third, plating four runs to shave BSU’s lead to 8-5. Chasen DeLeon walke to lead off the frame, and third baseman Sean Iverson followed with a two-run home run to pull Wayland Baptist within five runs, and the Pioneers picked up a pair of unearned runs on an RBI single by Matt Knobbe and a wild pitch to score Joe Covarrubias to cut the lead to three.
The Beavers retaliated with seven unanswered runs over the next three innings to slam the door. BSU picked up two runs in the top of the fourth on a bases-loaded walk to Zielke and a passed ball to score Jack Juberian (Park Rapids, Minn.), then piled on five runs on just three hits in the top of the sixth inning.
As in the third inning, BSU picked up all five of its sixth-inning runs with two outs after the Pioneers had retired the first two Beaver hitters of the frame. Mike Wagner (Plymouth, N.H.) reached on an error to ignite the rally, and the Beavers responded with a two-RBI single from Klaers, an RBI double from Grindeland and a two-RBI single from Pesta to record his fourth and fifth RBI of the contest to give BSU a 15-5 lead.
Wayland Baptist picked up a sacrifice fly from Trey Roberson to plate a single run in the home half of the sixth, and Dan Wagner (Hermantown, Minn.) scored on a groundout for BSU in the top of the seventh to complete the scoring for the afternoon.
BSU starter Bryant Salamone (Rockford, Ill.) went three innings and was lifted for Chad Schwegel (St. Joseph, Minn.) to start the fourth inning. Salamone allowed five hits and walked four with four strikeouts, and three of his five runs allowed were earned.
Schwegel picked up the victory for BSU after a stellar relief effort. He went six innings to slam the door on the Pioneers, scattering five hits and one walk while striking out seven. He allowed only the sixth-inning sacrifice fly to pick up his first win of the season.
Shea Clark took the loss for the Pioneers. He started and was pulled with one out in the fourth after allowing 10 runs (eight earned) on nine hits and three walks. He struck out four, and fell to 1-2 on the year. Gary Gates pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief and allowed five unearned runs on three hits; he also struck out four and walked three. Richard Cruz and
The four Pioneer pitchers combined to issue eight walks, and three Pioneer errors led to seven unearned Bemidji State runs.
Pesta’s five RBI led a group of four BSU players who drove in at least two runs in the contest. Middendorf had three RBI from his leadoff spot and Zielke drove in three from his No. 8 spot in the order, and Klaers drove in two.
Grindeland went 4-for-6 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBI to record BSU’s first four-hit game since Michael Nordyke also went 4-for-6 in Game 1 of a double-header at Minn.-Crookston on April 25, 2004.
The victory was Bemidji State’s first March win since Game 2 of a non-conference double-header against St. Cloud State on March 31, 2004. BSU had posted a combined record of 1-34 in March over the last two seasons.
Bemidji State improved to 1-4 with the win, while Wayland Baptist fell to 13-12 overall. The teams continue a three-game series today with a single nine-inning game slated for a 6:00 p.m. first pitch at Wayland’s Wilder Field.