BEMIDJI, Minn. - Northern State University earned 4-2 and 3-1 victories Saturday at the BSU Baseball field in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action with Bemidji State University to split the four-game series and end the Beavers' six-game winning streak.
The Beavers (15-20, 9-12 NSIC) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, getting three hits on Northern State starter Lucas Jung. Senior Colton Smith (OF, Waddell, Ariz.) continued his hot bat, starting the game off with a double to left center field. After senior Nick Jelacie (OF, Brainerd, Minn.) went down on strikes, sophomore Logan Kalis (1B/RHP, Little Falls, Minn.) ripped the ball to right center for his second triple in the last four games, plating Smith. Senior Brian Murphy (1B, Longville, Minn.) then drove in Kalis on a grounder right up the gut to give BSU a 2-0 lead.
After dropping the Wolves (11-18, 9-14) in order in the first, senior Beaver starter Ryan Sander (1B/RHP, St. James, Minn.) got one out in the second before allowing his sixth homerun of the season, making the score 2-1. Back-to-back doubles for NSU to start the fifth inning, scored the game-tying run for the away team, making the score 2-2.
The scored stayed tied until the top of the seventh inning when NSU scored twice to own a 4-2 lead. A lead-off walk, just the sixth by Sander this season in 43.1 innings pitched, and a base hit put runners on first and second with no outs. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base, but that would end Sander’s day and bring in sophomore Ryan Brezinski (RHP, Regina, Saskatchewan).
After walking the bases loaded, the next batter put down a bunt as the runner on third left with the pitch, using the squeeze play effectively, scoring the go-ahead run and the batter reached first. The next Wolves batter got a hit through the left side to plate the runner on third, but the runner on second was called out at the plate as Jelacie came of firing and threw a perfect ball to the dish to save a run and record the second out. The Beavers got the final out before any more damage could be done, but faced a 4-2 deficit heading into the bottom of the seventh.
Sophomore third baseman Matt Ellinghuysen (3B, St. Charles, Minn.) started the seventh with a double down the left field line. Unfortunately for the Beavers the next three batters would pop or fly out and the game was over.
BSU stranded six batters and a runner on third twice. Sander threw 6.1 innings, allowing all four earned runs on six hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Sander has started five games this season and in four of them the Beavers have been only able to produce two runs or less. He stands 2-3 on the season.
Jelacie went 2-for-4 and was the only Beavers with a multiple hit game. Kalis went 1-for-3 with one run and one RBI.
Game two was scoreless through four innings until NSU posted a two-spot in the fifth inning with two outs. With runners in scoring position, back-to-back Wolves batters stuck their bats out and went the opposite way for a hit through the infield, scoring the runners.
The Beavers got one back in the bottom half of the inning, but it would be the only one they would record in the game. Freshman Dylan Webb (INF, Phoenix, Ariz.) led-off the inning with a walk and was moved to third on a single by Smith, perfectly executing a hit-and-run. Two batters later Webb scored on a sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Kalis.
A solo shot over the left field wall from NSU’s Zach Miller, his second of the doubleheader, in the top of the eighth made it 3-1 and that is where it stood. BSU had seven hits in the game and left seven runners on base.
Sophomore left-hander Phil Bray (Chatfield, Minn.) went eight strong for BSU on the bump, allowing the three earned runs on nine hits with a career-high 13 strikeouts (four looking) and just two walks. He fell to 2-3 on the season. Smith and freshman Zach Braun (C, Lakeville, Minn.) went 2-for-4. Kalis is on a six-game hitting streak.
The Beavers close their eight-game homestand April 26 against University of Mary. First pitch is slated for a 1:30 p.m. start.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).