BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University baseball team is ready to answer the questions of the offseason, as it prepares to open the 2014 slate March 8-15 in Tucson, Ariz. The Beavers will travel their squad of inexperienced collegiate players and newcomers for 10 nonconference contests.
Head coach Tim Bellew returns a group of 18 student-athletes from last season’s roster, but just 11 recorded an inning of play, while the roster also touts 22 newcomers. [Bellew video interview] [2014 roster]
The Beavers return just four starters total in the field and on the mound. The infield, minus catcher Zach Braun (Sr., C, Lakeville, Minn.) is setting up to feature just one student-athlete that played for BSU last season (Steven Prichard (Jr., 3B, Mesa, Ariz.) played in four games). The outfield on the other hand, welcomes captain Joey Hanowski (So., INF/OF, Little Falls, Minn.) in left, senior captain Chad Hanson (Sr., OF, St. Paul, Minn.) in center and senior Cole Bjorge (Prior Lake, Minn.) in right. The pitching staff is the most competitive and wide open position, as the Beavers return just 50.2 innings pitched from last year’s squad with 43.2 of those frames hurled by senior Miles Campbell (RHP, Eden Prairie, Minn.). [2014 quick facts]
The Beavers were pegged to finish ninth in the 2014 Preseason Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Baseball Coaches’ Poll (Jan. 29).
Bemidji State begins the 2014 campaign with a doubleheader against Malone University March 8 and continues March 9 with a double dip against Mount Marty College on the stadium field of the Keno Sports Complex. BSU defeated Malone twice in Arizona in 2012, by the scores of 15-14 and 16-2. The Beavers last played Mount Marty in 2004. Bemidji State lost the neutral site doubleheader, 10-6 and 10-0.
The rest of the week the Beavers will see familiar foes in NSIC competition. The Beavers will battle St. Cloud State University March 11 in a single, nine-inning game. The Beavers played the Huskies six of the final nine games of the 2013 season and went 3-3, which included two upset victories (9-3, 12-2) in the NSIC Tournament in St. Cloud, Minn. BSU will battle Southwest Minnesota State University March 12 in a doubleheader before taking on Northern State University March 14 in a double dip. BSU split the season series with SMSU 2-2 last season, which included two games in Arizona (L, 11-9, W, 8-5) and a home conference doubleheader (W, 10-3, L, 6-1). The Beavers lost twice to NSU in the season opener last year at the H.H.H. Metrodome, 4-2 and 7-2. The trip wraps up with Concordia University, St. Paul in a nine-inning contest March 15. BSU and CU had its conference four-game series moved from St. Paul, Minn. to Sioux Falls, S.D. and the teams went on to split the four games (W, 2-0 (10), L, 5-4, L, 6-1, W, 7-6).
The NSIC slate is scheduled to begin on the road at Upper Iowa University March 29-30 with the first home contest set for April 9 versus Wayne State College. [2014 schedule]
The 2013 Beavers went 25-22 overall to record the second most wins in program history and after sneaking into the postseason tournament as the eighth seed, BSU made a run to the NSIC Tournament Championship Game. Bellew was named NSIC Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the regular season, while five players earned all-conference awards, which included Logan Kalis, who went on to earn All-America honors.
For more information on the Bemidji State baseball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
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).