BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University baseball team posted 3-1 and 7-6 victories against Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference-foe University of Minnesota Duluth in its 2012 home opener at the BSU Baseball Field Saturday. With the wins the Beavers improved to 12-8 overall and 5-1 in NSIC play.
BSU got a game one victory behind the arm of junior left-hander Phil Bray (Chatfield, Minn.) and a one inning explosion for three runs in the sixth. Game two was all BSU through six, as it opened a 6-1 lead. The Bulldogs came back and posted five runs between the seventh and eighth to knot the contest 6-6, but senior Juan Molero (Maracaibo, Venezuela) provided a bases loaded, one out and full count sacrifice fly to center that plated the winning run.
Bray struggled in the top of the first of game one, as he allowed three straight hits then a run on a sacrifice fly to right and the Bulldogs owned the early 1-0 lead. The Beavers drew back-to-back walks in the bottom half of the first, but left runners on second and third.
Bray settled in and allowed just two hits until a two out single in the seventh. He fanned six batters and walked just one in the game, en route to moving to 5-1 on the season with his second consecutive complete game of the season.
BSU couldn’t buy a hit off of UMD pitcher Collin Stinogel and the Bulldog defense was strong behind their starting pitcher, as the Beavers failed to record a hit in the first five innings. The BSU bats finally came alive in the sixth, as the Beavers scored three runs on three hits.
Lead-off batter junior Trevor Purvis (OF/P, Rio Rancho, N.M.) broke the no-hitter with a single to left . A wild pitch advanced Purvis into scoring position and sophomore Chad Hanson (OF, St. Paul, Minn.) delivered a full-count double to left center that scored Purvis and knotted the game. Sophomore Zach Braun (C, Lakeville, Minn.) almost converted on a blooper to center, but UMD second baseman made a running, over the shoulder catch to record the first out.
Junior Jaryd Marks (RHP/1B, Cottage Grove, Minn.) moved his hitting streak to 14 games with a double to right that plated Hanson for his team-leading 19th RBI of the season. Heads-up base running by Marks got him to third on a foul out to right by junior Logan Kalis (RHP/OF/IB, Little Falls, Minn.). The base proved important as he eventually scored on a wild pitch to hand the Beavers a 3-1 lead that would hold after Bray sat down the Bulldogs in the seventh.
After two and a half hitless innings for both squads the Beavers posted the first two hits of game two by going yard. Purvis led off the third with a home run to right, then with one out Kalis posted his second bomb of the season with a rope over the left field fence.
UMD responded with a home run in the top of the fourth to break-up Marks’ perfect game bid and the game was 2-1 BSU. The Beavers posted three runs in the bottom half of the fourth and another run in the fifth to open a 6-1 advantage. BSU scored the three runs in the fourth on two hits and one Bulldog error. Junior Matt Ellinghuysen (3B, Saint Charles, Minn.) - on his birthday - posted a hit in each the fourth and fifth innings with a run scored.
With Marks in control on the mound it looked like a clean sweep for BSU with a 6-1 lead through six, but some timely hits and a couple BSU errors later and the game was tied 6-6 after the Bulldogs scored three in the seventh and two in the eighth. Marks left the game with two outs in the eighth after allowing six runs (four earned) on eight hits with three strikeouts. Senior Kaleb Dingman (RHP, Rawling, Wyo.) replaced Marks on the bump and got out of the inning - with UMD runners on first and second - on a ground out to second by the Bulldog lead-off man.
Dingman was handed the ball in the ninth and held the Bulldogs off the scoreboard, but not without drama. He fanned the first batter, but allowed a single, then a double to create a second and third situation with one out. After striking out the next batter, Dingman was able to get the following UMD batter to dribble a hit back to him and the inning was over.
The top of the order came to bat for BSU in the ninth. After Purvis was called out on a close play at first, sophomore Kean Paxton (2B, Brooklyn Park, Minn.) drew a walk, then Kalis ripped a shot down the left field line for a double and the Beavers had second and third with Marks - their batting average leader - coming to bat. Wisely UMD intentionally walked the BSU hitter, then Molero came to bat and play hero.
Kalis went 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored in the game, while Ellinghuysen was 2-for-4 with a run. Marks' hitting streak ended at 14 with no hits in game two.
BSU and UMD conclude its NSIC four-game series Sunday at 12 p.m.
Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).