ST. CLOUD, Minn. (Faber Field) – Senior Jaryd Marks (1B/RHP, Cottage Grove, Minn.) recorded a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth with bases loaded and two outs to lift the Bemidji State University baseball team to a 5-4 victory against Winona State University Thursday in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament.
The win in the second round of the tournament moved BSU deeper on the winner’s side of the bracket and set-up a game Friday against No. 21 and No. 2 seed Minnesota State University, Mankato (33-8, 18-4 NSIC) to advance to the NSIC Tournament Championship. The Beavers will battle the Mavericks at 3:30 p.m. at Faber Field in St. Cloud, Minn. The winner moves on to the championship game Saturday.
The Beavers got down 4-0 early in the NSIC Tournament game versus Winona State, but found themselves with a bases loaded, zero outs situation in the bottom of the ninth inning. Senior catcher Riley Hirsch (C, Little Falls, Minn.) started with a lead-off, full count walk to get a base runner for BSU. Junior Chad Hanson (OF, St. Paul, Minn.) failed twice to move Hirsch to second with a sacrifice bunt and was forced to swing away on the 0-2 count. He then ripped the next pitch deep to right and banked it off the wall for a double and to advance Hirsch to third. Winona State intentionally walked junior Zach Braun (C/1B, Lakeville, Minn.) to load the bases and get the force at any base. Senior outfielder Trevor Purvis (Rio Rancho, N.M.) and senior Logan Kalis (OF/RHP, Little Falls, Minn.) each put the ball in play, but couldn’t get it through the infield to set-up Marks and his heroic swing that sent the Beaver dug out in a frenzy.
Marks not only provided the game-winning hit, he hurled eight solid innings on the mound. He allowed a three-run home run in the second after two consecutive walks, then allowed another earned run in the fourth, but settled in after that and allowed just one hit to the Warriors in innings five through eight. The four earned runs were scored on five hits, Marks walked six, but just two came after the fourth. He had four strikeouts.
Freshman Joey Hanowski (INF/OF, Little Falls, Minn.) reached on an error in the fifth, then senior third baseman Matt Ellinghuysen (St. Charles, Minn.) moved him up a base with single to center. Hirsch executed a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up, then Hanson flied out to left to plate Hanowski and post the first run of the game for Bemidji State.
The run turned the momentum to the Beavers and with Marks dealing on the mound, BSU produced two more runs in the sixth. Another Warrior error allowed Kalis to reach first, then Marks put one in the left center gap for a double, as Kalis advanced to third. Senior shortstop Lewis Baumann (Colorado Springs, Colo.) walked to load the bases, then Hanowski posted a two-RBI single down the left field line to cut the deficit to 4-3.
BSU scored a run in the seventh to knot the contest up 4-4 when Purvis singled to left center to score Hanson, who opened the inning with a single to short.
Winona State got a lead-off walk in the eighth, but went down in order after that. Sophomore Jack Hegarty (INF/RHP, Brainerd, Minn.) came on to pitch in the ninth and shutdown the Warriors in order to set-up the bottom of the ninth drama.
Hegarty came away with the win and improved to 3-0. The Beavers totaled eight hits, two by Hanson, Marks and Hanowski. Both Hanson and Marks scored once and posted an RBI, while Hanowski had two RBIs and a run scored.
HISTORY NOTES: BSU’s 24th win moves it past last year’s team for third most all time at BSU… The Beavers are now 6-9 in NSIC Tournament play all-time… Head coach Tim Bellew is 3-1 in NSIC Tournament play.
VERSUS MINNESOTA STATE: BSU only saw Minnesota State in nonconference play this season, as its NSIC mid-week with the Mavericks was canceled. The Beavers defeated then-No. 18 Minnesota State 2-1 in an 11-inning thriller in game one. A committee of pitchers, in junior Miles Campbell (RHP, Eden Prairie, Minn.), senior righty Ryan Brezinski (Regina Saskatchewan) and senior Logan Kalis (1B/RHP/OF, Little Falls, Minn.) allowed just one run on seven hits. BSU lost game two 1-0. Head coach Tim Bellew is 6-15 against the Mavericks.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).