BEMIDJI, Minn. - Three runs in the sixth and a pair of runs in the seventh guided the Bemidji State University baseball team to a 5-4 game one victory against No. 8 St. Cloud State University Wednesday at the BSU Baseball Field before splitting the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference doubleheader with a 12-5 game two loss.
BSU is 14-14 overall and 7-7 in NSIC play. The win marks the second victory against a nationally-ranked opponent for BSU this season after downing Minnesota State University, Mankato 6-2 in the season opener Feb. 22.
The Huskies scored a run in the first, two in the fifth and a single run in the top of the sixth to own the 4-0 lead in game one. Jamie Kissell replaced SCSU starter Kyle Fischer to start the sixth and loaded the bases without recording an out and Scott Lieser - 6-2, 1.66 ERA entering the contest - came in for damage control.
The two through four hitters found the bases paths to load the bases and senior Juan Molero (OF, Maracaibo, Venezuela) plated junior Trevor Purvis (OF/P, Rio Rancho, N.M.) for the first run of the inning on a fielder’s choice grounder to second. The second out came on the next batter as sophomore Zach Braun (Lakeville, Minn.) struck out pinch hitting for junior Matt Ellinghuysen (3B/C, Saint Charles, Minn.). Sophomore Dylan Webb (INF, Phoenix, Ariz.) then singled up the gut to score junior right-hander Logan Kalis (Little Falls, Minn.) – who reached after an error by SCSU centerfielder - from third. Junior Lewis Baumann (MIF, Colorado Springs, Colo.) walked to reload the bases. Junior Riley Hirsch (C, Little Falls, Minn.) put the ball in play with a grounder to short and a misplayed ball by Huskies shortstop Travis Cariveau made everyone safe, as Molero crossed the plate for the Beavers’ third unearned run of the inning. Molero’s run made the score 4-3 and that is where it would stay heading into the seventh.
After walking the first batter of the seventh, head coach Tim Bellew took the ball from senior reliever Kaleb Dingman (RHP, Rawling, Wyo.) and handed it to junior left-hander Phil Bray (Chatfield, Minn.). The lefty got a gift from his catcher Hirsch as he threw out the runner at second for his sixth runner caught stealing. Bray then did his job and got the next batter to ground out to short then fanned the next SCSU batter to end the inning.
Purvis got the Beavers started to open the seventh with a two strike hit through the right side. He was moved to second on a one out base knock to right by junior Jaryd Marks (RHP/1B, Cottage Grove, Minn.). Molero reach first on a fielder’s choice as the Huskies went to second to record the second out of the inning.
Senior Mauricio Gomez (3B, Caracas, Venezuela) took the field at third in the top of the seventh inning, as Braun replaced three-bagger Ellinghuysen at the plate. Gomez was the next batter for the Beavers, stepping to the plate for the first time looking to keep the Beavers alive with a hit. After seeing four pitches the senior laced a shot through the right side – the opposite way – to tie the game as Purvis scored. Webb then came to bat for the chance to be the hero and delivered a game-winning poke to shallow left center field that plated the speedy Molero from second.
Webb finished the game going 3-for-4 with two crucial RBIs. Marks was the only other Beaver with a multi-hit game, as he went 2-for-3 to combine with Webb to record five of BSU’s nine hits in the game. Both Purvis and Molero scored twice for the Beavers.
The BSU pitching staff only held the Huskies to five hits. Marks started for BSU and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits with three strikeouts. DIngman allowed one run on one hit, while Bray picked-up a win after facing just two batters to improve to 7-1 on the season. Huskies starter Fischer threw five strong innings, allowing four hits in five innings with six strikeouts, but gets a no decision for his efforts.
The Huskies took a 6-0 lead in game two before the Beavers posted a two spot in the bottom of the fifth. Molero took the first pitch of the frame to right field, then his Venezuelan partner Gomez came up and moved him to third with his second double of the game to left. Webb went down swinging for the first out, then sophomore Kean Paxton (2B, Brooklyn Park, Minn.) came up and plated Molero from third and moved Gomez to third before he scored on a bobble by the SCSU left fielder.
SCSU made it 8-2 with two runs in the seventh, but the Beavers manufactured three runs in the bottom of the eighth to start another rally and make the scored 8-5. The Huskies quieted the Beaver dug out in the ninth with fourth runs that gave them a 12-5 lead that BSU wouldn’t be able to come back from, as SCSU earned the win to split the doubleheader.
Molero and Gomez went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Paxton posted two RBI. Freshman Ross Stein made his first collegiate start and suffered the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts.
The Beavers conclude their 14-game homestand April 14-15 against Augustana College with doubleheaders each day beginning 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).