MARSHALL, Minn. (Alumni Field) -- The Bemidji State University baseball team snapped its seven-game losing skid Wednesday afternoon as the Beavers earned a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) split with the Southwest Minnesota State University Mustangs in Marshall, Minn. SMSU took the opener 17-0 behind six of its 11 home runs on the day but a nine run seventh inning by BSU in Game 2 spoiled the thoughts of a SMSU sweep as the Beavers picked up their second conference win of the season, 16-10.
In game 1, SMSU lit its side of the scoreboard first by plating three runs off two homers in its first at bats. Andrew Kinney belted a two out solo home run giving the Mustangs a 1-0. Matt Bower extended the Mustangs lead to 3-0 as he belted a full count pitch over the right center field wall giving SMSU the early lead which proved to be more than enough for Mustang pitcher Adam Schrader.
Schrader improved his record to 3-1 on the season with the complete game shutout. The right handed hurler tossed just 82 pitches, 58 of which were strikes allowing just four Beaver hits with eight strikeouts and one walk.
The Mustangs offense continued to cruise as they scored at least three runs per inning in five of its six at-bats, including a four spot in both the second and fifth innings. In all SMSU pounded out 18 hits six of which were home runs, highlighted by a Derick Swenson grand slam in the home half of the fifth inning coasting to a 17-0 Game 1 win.
Ethan Branum (Fr., LHP, Brainerd, Minn.) saw his record fall to 1-2 as he worked just two innings allowing seven runs (seven earned) off eight hits with a walk and a strikeout. Matt Fossen (So., RHP, Bemidji, Minn.) and Bryan Buhr (Sr., RHP, Frazee, Minn.) both worked two innings of relief. Fossen gave up seven runs (six earned) off five hits with two strikeouts and a walk while Buhr gave up three runs (three earned) off five hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Offensively, Nick Jelacie’s (So., C/OF, Brainerd, Minn.) first inning double was the highlight of Game 1 for the Beavers as he finished the contest 1-for-3 at the plate.
Southwest Minnesota State shot out of the gates to begin Game 2 as Derick Swenson led the home half of the first inning off with a solo home run, his second of the double-header, giving SMSU a early 1-0 lead.
BSU finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the second as a pair of singles by Justin Huether (Sr., OF/RHP, Brainerd, Minn.) and Ryan Bohannan (Sr., OF/RHP, Goodyear, Ariz.) gave the Beavers runners at the corners with two outs. BSU sophomore catcher Alex Messick (Lakeville, Minn.) stepped to the plate and hammered a three run homer over the center field wall giving the Beavers a 3-1 lead. The homer was Messick’s second of the season.
The Beavers lead didn’t last long as SMSU continued to play long ball. Doug Stearns tied the game up with a two run homer to center field and then Swenson put the Mustangs back ahead with his third solo home run of the double-header, second of the game, 4-3. BSU tied the game in the top of the third without using a hit. Josh Silvernagel (Jr., SS/RHP, Bismarck, N.D.) lead the inning off by getting hit by a pitch and then advanced to third off a pair of wild pitches. Jelacie drove in Silvernagel from third with a RBI ground out to the shortstop to tie the contest at 4-4.
In the fourth, SMSU platted six runs pushing its lead to 10-4. Josh Nolan gave the Mustangs a one run lead at 5-4 off his second homer of the double-header. After a fly out for the second out, the Mustangs would load the bases off a pair of walks and a single by the top of SMSU’s line up chasing BSU starter Kevin Morel (Sr., RHP, Shoreview, Minn.) from the game. BSU relief pitcher Randy Amos (Sr., RHP, Wilmington, N.C.) was greeted with a two-run single off the bat of Matt Bauer and a three run homer by Derek West giving SMSU a 10-4 lead after four innings of play.
BSU started to chip away at the Mustangs lead in the fifth when P.J. McIntee (Sr., 2B, Randolph, Minn.) led the inning off with a double to left field and eventually came around to score off a single by Jelacie. Amos sent down the Mustangs in order for just the second time of the double-header in the fifth allowing.
In the sixth the Mustangs called on Aaron Rocheleau out of the bullpen to try and hold onto the 10-5 lead. With one out in the inning BSU loaded the bases and scored its first run of the inning off a single to left field off the bat of Silvernagel. Colton Smith (So., 3B, Waddell, Ariz.) drove in the second run of the inning bringing BSU to within 10-7 with two outs and the base loaded for Josh Juntunen (Sr., 1B/LHP, Elk River, Minn.). Max Zwart came in relief for Rocheleau and struck out Juntunen keeping the damage to just two runs.
Down three, 10-7, in the top of the seventh BSU put together its best inning of the season scoring nine runs off six hits to take a commanding 16-10 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Huether led the inning off with a walk, followed by a pair of singles by Ryan Sander (So., INF, St. James, Minn.) and Bohannan to load the bases. Messick would draw a walk allowing Huether to come into score followed by a RBI single by McIntee bring the Beavers to within 10-9. A single by Smith tied the game at 10-10 and then Jelacie delivered the crushing shot as he smacked a bases clearing double to right center to give BSU a 13-10 lead. With two outs in the inning, Sander stepped to the plate for the second time in the inning and hammered a three RBI homer to left field for his first home run of the season and of his career giving BSU a commanding 16-10 lead.
Huether came in to finish the seventh for BSU on the mound helping BSU hold onto the 16-10 come-from-behind win.
Amos picked up the win for BSU out of the bullpen improving his record to 4-0 working 2.1 innings allowing two runs (two earned) off five hits with three strikeouts.
Tyler Paulson took the loss for SMSU giving up four runs (four earned) off one hit with two walks.
BSU tied its season-high 16 hits while scoring a season-high 16 runs. Jelacie went 2-for-5 with five RBI while Messick was 1-for-3 with four RBI in the game. McIntee and Bohannan each had three hits apiece in the win.
BSU is now 9-22 on the season and 2-11 in the NSIC play while Southwest Minnesota State is 12-3 and 2-2 in the conference.
The Beavers will continue its 35 game road swing to start the season on Friday afternoon as they will travel to Fayette, Iowa to battle the Upper Iowa University Peacocks in a four-game series. Friday’s doubleheader starts at 1 p.m. with Saturday’s twinbill slated for 12 p.m. from Robertson Woods Field.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).