Bemidji State posts 5-3 record at Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic
Wednesday, March 20, 2002
March 20, 2002
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The Bemidji State baseball team posted a 5-3 record during its recent eight-game stay in Ft. Myers, Fla. for the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic. The Beavers won four of their first five games at the Classic, and the team’s 5-3 start is its best since 1995 when the program also opened the season with a 5-3 record.

BSU opened the Classic with a 7-3 win over Edinboro. The Beavers held a 4-1 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, then after Edinboro had cut the lead to 4-3 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth BSU scored two in the seventh and one in the ninth to ice the win. Nate Olson went 3-for-5 for the Beavers, while Christopher Dvorak and Charlie Plumadore had two RBI apiece. Shaun Zenner pitched seven full innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walk to earn his first win of the year.

The Beavers improved to 2-0 with a 3-1 win over Stonehill College in their second Classic game on March 12. Olson again had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-3, but Shaun Ross’s two-run home run in the bottom of the second proved to be the key for BSU. Nate Heim pitched five innings and allowed just one hit and one unearned run to earn his first win of the year. Brian Beuning pitched the top of the seventh to earn his first save.

BSU was then locked up in a classic matchup with regional foe North Dakota State in the second game of its March 12 twinbill. After spotting the Bison four runs in the bottom of the first - with two runs unearned, BSU rallied with a pair of runs in the second and single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to pull even at 5-5 after five. But Chris Volkmann reached on an error by BSU third-baseman Neil Huewe to lead off the ninth, and after being sacrificed to second on a bunt by Ryan Perreault scored the winning run on Jackson Coleman’s single to center.

Bemidji State then decided to take a day off from baseball and take up football, as was apparent by the final score in a 20-12 slugfest with Robert Morris on March 13. Five different Beavers had two or more hits in the game, led by a 3-for-4 afternoon from Nate Heim, and six Beavers had two or more RBI. Scott Petrowski led the way with a game-high four RBI, while Heim’s final line was 3-for-4 with four runs scored and two RBI. BSU blasted four home runs in the contest, including a grand slam by Petrowski during BSU’s four-run seventh. BSU plated five runs in the second, two in the third, three in the fifth, six in the sixth and four in the seventh for the team’s highest-scoring game since May 2, 1998 in a 20-6 win at Northern State.

BSU pitchers issued 15 walks in the game against only four strikeouts, but Robert Morris hurlers walked seven batters, threw a pair of wild pitches, recorded two balks and hit five BSU batters. Brian Beuning pitched the game’s final inning and a third to earn the win in relief as the fifth of five BSU arms to see action in the game.

The Beavers then picked up their fourth win in five starts in Game 1 of their March 14 double-header, downing Teikyo Post 7-4. Shaun Ross went 2-for-3 with two RBI, and Scott Petrowski went 1-for-3 with two RBI to support a strong effort on the hill from John Marben. Marben picked up the win, pitching six innings and allowing just two runs (one earned) on four hits. He struck out five and walked only one.

Indianapolis snapped BSU’s two-game winning streak with a 9-4 win in Game 2 of Bemidji State’s March 14 twinbill. Indianapolis jumped out to a 6-0 lead with a five-run third and after BSU had closed within 5-3 salted the game away with a three-run ninth. Derek Owen was 1-for-3 with two RBI for the Beavers, and Nate Olson and Shaun Ross had two hits apiece in the losing effort. Nate Olson pitched six innings, allowing nine earned runs on 11 hits to pick up his first loss of the season.

Bluefield State handed BSU its second consecutive setback, rallying from a 4-0 first-inning deficit to pick up a hotly-contested 8-7 win. Shaun Ross had another big day at the plate for BSU, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI. Ross had a two-RBI double in BSU’s four-run first and an RBI double in the fifth. Derek Owen went 2-for-3 with two RBI for BSU. Justin Reid got the start on the hill and threw four innings. He allowed two runs on three hits. Nate Beuning took the loss in relief, allowing one run on three hits in two innings pitched.

The Beavers wrapped up their successful run through the Classic with a 7-5 win over Ashland that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. After taking a 3-0 lead with two unearned runs in the second and an RBI single from Brian Beuning in the fourth, Ashland hit BSU starter Shaun Zenner for five runs in the bottom of the fourth. But BSU evened the score at five with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth, then took the lead for good with two more runs in the sixth on a throwing error and an RBI double. Zenner picked up his second win of the week, going six and a third innings and allowing five runs (all earned) on 11 hits and five walks. Brian Beuning recorded the game’s final two outs and picked up his second save.

Bemidji State’s stay at the Classic was dictated by close games, as six of its seven contests were decided by three runs or less, including two one-run games. But overall, defenses from both dugouts struggled during the week. Bemidji State committed 16 errors in the eight-game tournament which led to 11 unearned runs, but conversely BSU’s opposition committed 19 errors leading to 18 unearned runs for the Beavers.

Five BSU players hit better than .470 for the week, led by a .529 effort by Derek Owen. Owen played in six games during the week, starting five, and went 9-for-17 with four doubles, one home run and eight RBI. Nate Olson and Shaun Ross each tied for the team lead with 12 hits apiece, while Olson, Brian Beuning and Gunner Geller each hit safely in all eight games of the Classic.

Beuning also had a solid week on the mound. He made five appearances in relief, striking out a team-high eight batters and not issuing a single walk in six innings of work. He allowed just one earned run. In total, BSU’s pitching got off to a solid start. After recording a staff ERA of 7.25 a year ago, after the Classic it stands at 5.58 - a reduction of nearly two runs per game. The BSU bullpen also recorded three saves, already triple the staff total from a year ago (1).

Bemidji State is back in action March 28-29 with a four-game series at Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference foe Concordia-St. Paul. The teams will play a pair of double-headers, with the first pitch of Game 1 on March 28 slated for 1:30 p.m. Central time. First pitch for Game 2 will be March 29 at noon.