Bemidji State splits weekend series with Southwest State
Monday, April 8, 2002
April 8, 2002
[game 1 box][game 2 box][game 3 box][game 4 box]
LAMBERTON, Minn. - Bemidji State played its first baseball games in nearly three weeks over the weekend, splitting a four-game Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference series with the Southwest State Mustangs at Red Rock Central High School. Southwest State swept both games of the April 6 double-header by scores of 8-3 and 9-1, while BSU rallied to sweep the April 7 twinbill, 9-4 and 7-1 in 10 innings.

Ben Woodford led off Game 1 with a single to left center for BSU and later scored on a Nate Olson single to give the Beavers an early 1-0 advantage, which would stand 1-0 through the top of the fourth inning. Southwest State broke the game open with six runs in the bottom of the fourth, as the first six Mustang batters in the inning reached base. In the inning, the Mustangs scored on a two-RBI double and a two-RBI triple and BSU starting pitcher Shaun Zenner hit two batters, committed an error and threw a wild pitch.

BSU cut the deficit to 6-3 with a two-run fifth, but Southwest State plated two runs in its half of the fifth to stretch the lead to 8-3, the game’s final margin. Chris Monaco with 3 for 4 with three RBI to lead the Mustangs. Brad Johnson and Shaun Ross had two hits apiece for BSU.

Southwest State again used a big fourth inning to blow open Game 2 en route to a 9-1 win and a sweep of the double-header. Chris Monaco homered to lead off the bottom of the first for Southwest State, but BSU evened the score with a run in the top of the fourth on Derek Owen’s RBI infield single to score Gunner Geller, who had doubled to lead off the frame.

But after their first two batters had been retired in the bottom of the fourth, the Mustangs saw eight consecutive batters reach base with two out in the inning. Southwest State plated five runs in the fourth, three of which were unearned after an error by BSU third baseman Nate Heim. The Mustangs would then plate two runs in the fifth and a single run in the sixth to close out the 9-1 win.

Southwest State out-hit BSU 14-3 in Game 2, with its No. 1 through 4 hitters combining to go 10-for-16 with seven runs scored and three RBI. Pat O’Brien pitched his first career complete game for Southwest State and had a career-high eight strikeouts. Ben Woodford, Gunner Geller and Derek Owen had BSU’s three hits. Alan Ryan pitched 3 2/3 innings for BSU, allowing four runs (three earned) to take the loss.

The Beavers rebounded on Day 2 of the series, sweeping the two games by 9-4 and 7-1 scores.

BSU jumped out to a 3-0 lead in Game 3, picking up two unearned runs after Gunner Geller reached on a leadoff error. He scored on Isaac Smieja’s single to short, and Brad Johnson scored on Ben Woodford’s single to right to give BSU a 2-0 lead. The Beavers then added a run in the third on an RBI single from Johnson.

Southwest State battled back to even the score at 3-3 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third and a single run in the fourth, but BSU took control with a five-run sixth.

BSU took a 4-3 lead when Brad Johnson scored on a single down the left-field line from Smieja, but Neil Huewe grounded out to the pitcher in BSU’s next at-bat for the second out of the inning. Woodford was intentionally walked to load the bases with two out, and Brian Beuning made the Mustangs pay with a two-RBI single to right scoring Smieja and Scott Petrowski. Beuning’s double chased Mustang starter John Petersen, and Shaun Ross and Nate Olson would notch RBI singles off reliever Cody Cotton to round out the five-run frame.

BSU tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh and Southwest scored a single run in the bottom of the seventh to round out scoring in the 9-1 BSU win.

BSU’s win snapped a 13-game losing streak to Southwest State. The Beavers had not beaten the Mustangs since April 4, 1998 - ironically, also in the first game of a double-header in Lamberton. Southwest State still leads the all-time series, 68-48.

BSU out-hit Southwest State 13-11 in Game 3, with every BSU player recording at least one hit. Brad Johnson was 3-for-3 with three runs scored; Ben Woodford went 2-for-4 with a run scored and one RBI; and Brian Beuning and Isaac Smieja had two RBI apiece. Nate Olson pitched a complete game, allowing four runs (four earned) with two strikeouts and one walk to earn his first win of the year.

Game 4 was a classic pitching duel. Both teams scored one run in their respective halves of the first inning, but from there pitching dominated. The score remained 1-1 until the 10th inning, when BSU blew up for six runs en route to a 7-1 win.

Brian Beuning led off the 10th with an infield single, and after a wild pitch moved him to second he stood on third base after an infield bunt from Shaun Ross. John Marben struck out and Gunner Geller was intentionally walked to load the bases for Scott Petrowski. BSU took the lead, 3-1, when Southwest State reliever T.J. Schmidt hit each of the net two BSU batters to score Beuning and Ross.

Eric Dolan came on in relief of Schmidt for the Mustangs and promptly surrendered a Tyler Norland RBI single to center to put BSU ahead, 4-1. BSU would add an RBI single from Ben Woodford and a two-RBI single from Beuning in the inning before Ross popped up to short to end the rally.

The Mustangs went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 10th to end the 7-1 BSU win.

Southwest State had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. Derrick Jenniges was issued a leadoff walk and then advanced to third on a sacrifice to third and a groundout to second base. BSU intentionally walked Schmidt and Joe Westphal to load the bases, and Jacob Swartout struck out swinging to end the inning and leave the bases full of Mustangs.

Woodford, Beuning and Ross had two hits apiece for BSU. Beuning finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored. Nate Heim started on the mound for BSU and allowed just four hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. He allowed one earned run, striking out one and walking four in the no-decision. Beuning threw 4 2/3 innings in relief for BSU, allowing just one hit and striking out two with five walks to earn the win and improve to 2-1 on the year. Beuning did not allow a hit in the extra innings, and two of the four walks he issued in the extra frames were intentional.

Woodford’s 2-for-5 afternoon ran his hitting streak to eight games. He raised his average from .211 to .278 over the weekend. Scott Petrowski and Gunner Geller each saw eight-game hitting streaks come to an end in Game 1 of the series, while Shaun Ross extended his streak to eight games with a 2-for-3 effort in Game 1 before going 0-for-1 in his only at-bat in Game 2 to snap the streak.

Schmidt scored the only Mustang run with his first home run of the year with two out in the first. He pitched 5 1/3 innings in relief, allowing five runs (five earned) on five hits. He struck out six and walked only one, but threw a wild pitch and hit the critical two batters in the 10th to take the loss and fall to 0-2 for the year. Brandon May started on the hill, allowing one run on just one hit in 4 1/3 innings of work. He struck out two and walked six.

The four-game series split moved BSU to 7-5 on the season, 2-2 in the NSIC. Southwest State’s record moved to 10-11 overall and also stands 2-2 in the NSIC. Next scheduled action for Bemidji State comes April 10 when the Beavers continue NSIC play with a double-header against Minnesota-Crookston. First pitch for BSU’s home opener is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Central time.