BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University baseball team opens the 2012 slate with a pair of nonconference doubleheaders Feb. 22-23 in Minneapolis, Minn. at the H.H.H. Metrodome. The Beavers will battle Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference foe-Minnesota State University, Mankato (2-0, 0-0 NSIC) Feb. 22. The two, seven-inning game doubleheader against the 2011 NSIC Regular Season champs gets underway at 2 p.m. BSU then faces a regional opponent in Colorado Christian University (0-4, 0-0 RMAC), a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Beavers and Cougars are set to do battle in two seven-inning contests at 12 p.m. Feb. 23.
Bemidji State 2012 Outlook
The Bemidji State University baseball team is coming off its winningest season since 2002 after posting an 18-29 overall and 12-21 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference record in 2011. Despite losing key seniors on the mound and at the plate to graduation last season the Beavers are expecting to find success behind a large and experienced group of upperclassmen. BSU has four seniors and 12 juniors who have spent significant time on the diamond.
“I feel we will be better and more talented (than last year),” said head coach Tim Bellew. “Wins don’t always necessarily relate just to talent. It’s going to be how big a family we can be and how much we can come together as a team. I’m excited to get started. I’m excited to see what some of these guys can do. (Our success) will be based on how tough they are. It’s not toughness from a physical nature, it’s toughness from a mental nature.”
BSU welcomes back 15 letterwinners, nine of which were starters last season, losing 13 letterwinners and just four starters. The 34-player roster is made up of 14 upperclassmen and 21 underclassmen, but of the nine sophomores, six are pitchers that saw valuable time last season on the mound.
Bellew returns for his seventh season as head coach at BSU, posting a 86-203-1 record as a Beaver. He will again be assisted by former Beaver student-athlete (2006-10) Dan Bennett, returning for his second season as graduate assistant coach.
Around the Horn:
Pitcher (1) - Top starters returning on the bump for the Beavers are juniors Logan Kalis (RHP) and Phil Bray (LHP) and sophomore Miles Campbell (RHP). Bray has the best ERA returning after posting a 4.65 mark last season with a 2-4 record. He has the most returning innings with 50.1 and his 49 strikeouts led the pitching staff last season and with 39 in NSIC play he sat seventh in the league. Kalis tied for the team-high in wins, as he went 3-1 with a 4.94 ERA. He allowed 29 hits and fanned 22 batters in 27.1 innings pitched. Campbell posted a 5.63 ERA in 38.1 innings pitched in his first season in the green and white. He allowed 50 hits with 27 strikeouts in 38.1 innings pitched. Junior transfer Jaryd Marks (RHP) will be thrust into the BSU starting line-up at pitcher or first base after earning 2011 all-region honorable mention as an infielder at Iowa Lakes Community College.
Juniors Ryan Van Someren (RHP) and Ryan Anderson (RHP) will vie for starts, while also serving as top relief men for the Beavers this season. Van Someren pitched to a 2-3 record last season, appearing in 10 games with six starts and a 8.90 ERA in 31.1 innings pitched. Anderson made two starts and eight appearances and posted an 0-3 record with an 8.05 ERA.
Junior Ryan Brezinski (RHP) is the team’s top returning reliever set up for the closer position. A season ago he threw to a 2-2 record with two saves in nine appearances and two starts. He threw 21.1 innings and posted a 3.38 ERA with 13 strikeouts.
A catcher in his first two seasons as BSU, junior Riley Hirsch (RHP) will be in the mix in the bullpen between his starts at catcher. Freshman Mike Hanson (RHP) and freshman Ross Stein (RHP) was a redshirt last season and will step into the bullpen for BSU. Kaleb Dingman enters the relief squad as a senior after coming to BSU last season as a transfer from McCook Community College. New to the Beaver uniform is junior transfer Trevor Purvis (Eastern Arizona Community College), who enters his first season at BSU as a left-handed reliever.
Catcher (2) - Hirsch and sophomore Zach Braun will be splitting time behind the dish this season. Hirsch started 14 games as a catcher and appeared in 18. He batted .239 with 11 hits and eight runs scored. Braun started 17 games at catcher and was placed in the starting line-up 13 times as designated hitter. In 37 games played he batted .311 with 33 hits, 21 RBIs and 14 runs scored. He recorded 17 walks in 2011 to rank second among his teammates.
First Base (3) - Kalis is the top returner at first base and will be joined by Marks at the No. 3 position on the field. The two will see a lot of time in the line-up at pitcher, first base and designated hitter. Last season Kalis batted .297 with 27 hits, 21 runs scored and 15 RBIs. He was walked 10 times and was 4-for-5 on stolen bases. His seven doubles tied for second on the team with Braun. Marks led the Lakers with 29 RBIs and a .325 batting average in 2011, as the team posted a 25-19 overall record.
Middle Infield (Second Base - 4 and Shortstop - 6) - The middle infield was the biggest question mark heading into last season, but was filled with two young players that made an immediate impact for the Beavers. Junior Lewis Baumann was the everyday shortstop on the squad, as he started 37 contests. In the field he posted a .933 fielding percentage with a team-best 74 assists. At the plate he hit .266 in 109 plate appearances (most among returners). He had 29 hits, 17 RBIs and 14 runs scored, while going 3-for-3 in stolen bases. Sophomore Dylan Webb made 25 starts at second base in his first season at BSU. He posted a solid .971 fielding percentage and at the plate, delivered a .276 batting average and a .326 on base mark. He had 24 hits in 87 at bats with 14 runs and 11 RBIs. Entering the season Webb is listed as Baumann’s back-up and sophomore transfer Kean Paxton (Waldorf College) is the No. 2 second baseman.
Third Base (5) - Sophomore Matt Ellinghuysen took over the starting role at third base last season and thrived at the corner spot, making 31 starts. He had 55 assists and 18 putouts, making eight errors for a .901 fielding percentage. He posted a .278 batting average and in 97 at bats recorded 27 hits, 12 RBIs and scored 11 runs. Senior Mauricio Gomez will again see time at third. He started 11 games at third and played in 18 games. He batted .261 and in 46 plate appearances had 12 hits, eight RBIs and six runs scored. Freshman Tyler Nelson (Hayfield, Minn.) will also be in the running for some time at third.
Left Field (7) - Sophomore Chad Hanson had to take a medical redshirt last season, but returns to the BSU line-up as the starting left fielder. In 2010 as a freshman he posted a .306 batting average in 18 games with 19 hits, 14 runs scored and five RBIs. Senior Luke Hellquist returns to the Beavers after not playing last season and will see time at all three outfield positions this season. Also in the mix in left after appearing in 13 games (started eight), is sophomore Cole Bjorge. Of his eight starts, four were in left field, three at designated hitter and one was in right. He hit .296 and in 27 at bats posted eight hits, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Center Field (8) - Juan Molero moves from right field to center to replace Colton Smith. Molero made 25 starts in right and at the plate is the Beavers’ top returning hitter with a .322 batting average. He recorded 90 at bats in his first season at BSU and totaled 29 hits, 17 runs and 14 RBIs with a .433 slugging percentage. Hanson will serve as his first back-up in center.
Right Field (9) - Purvis is listed as the preseason starter in right field with Hellquist as his back-up. Purvis hit .222 last season for the Gila Monsters with 22 hits and eight RBI in 99 at bats. In the field he had seven putouts and zero errors.
Designated Hitter (10) - Depending on who is pitching and who is playing in the field, the Beavers have options at the designated hitter spot. The top prospects for the DH position will be Braun, Marks, Kalis and Gomez.