Bemidji State sweeps Minn.-Crookston in home opener, 9-5 and 13-6
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
April 15, 2003

BEMIDJI, Minn. - [game 1 box][game 2 box] The Bemidji State baseball team finally made its 2003 home-field debut, completing a four-game season sweep of the Minn.-Crookston Golden Eagles with 9-5 and 13-6 wins this afternoon at BSU Baseball Field.

• Game 1 - Bemidji State rallied from a five-run deficit, scoring in all but the first inning en route to a 9-5 victory. The Golden Eagles took advantage of timely hitting and BSU miscues in the field to grab their early edge. Dominick Hammer rapped a two-RBI single to drive home Ryan Kill and Aaron Motl. Justin Thelen later scored on a fielding error by BSU first baseman Isaac Smieja on a pickoff attempt to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.

BSU went in order in the first, and Crookston would plate two more runs in the top of the second. Smieja’s two-out fielding error extended the inning for the Eagles, who would plate a pair of unearned runs on Kill’s two-out, two-RBI triple to give Crookston a 5-0 lead. It was all the Golden Eagles would get. BSU rallied slowly, picking up a pair of runs in the second, a run in the third and tied the score with a pair of runs in the fourth. Jeremy Mellen’s RBI single brought BSU within a run, and Smieja made up for his earlier miscues with a sacrifice fly to right to score Mellen and even the scoreboard at five runs apiece.

The Beavers grabbed the lead for good with a three-run fifth. Tony Klaers singled with one out, and later came around to score on a fielding error by Hammer to put the Beavers ahead for the first time in the game, 6-5. Tyler Norland drove home Dan Marshall with a sac fly to right and Mellen scored on a wild pitch to give BSU an 8-5 lead.

John Czech finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Mellen, Klaers, Marshall and Norland had two hits apiece. BSU had seven players with one RBI apiece. Alan Ryan scattered five hits in 5.0 innings, allowing five runs (two earned). He struck out three and walked one.

• Game 2 - The nightcap proceeded almost identically to Game 1, with the Eagles building a big early lead with the help of BSU mistakes in the field and the Beavers rallying for the win.

The Eagles scored four unearned runs in the first, taking advantage of a two-out error by first baseman Shaun Ross. The Eagles also took advantage of a walk and two hit batsmen, scoring their four runs off just three base hits, but left the bases loaded.

BSU got a pair of runs back in the home half of the first, getting RBI singles from Ross and Klaers. But Aaron Challoner staked the Golden Eagles back to a four-run lead with a two-run homer over the scoreboard in left field. But again, BSU’s pitching and defense solidified and held the Eagles scoreless in the game’s final five innings. Meanwhile, the offense would pick up four runs in the second to even the score and took the lead for good when John Grindeland scored on a wild pitch in the third.

BSU blew the game open with six runs in the sixth, as the Eagles were unable to get out of a bases-loaded situation with one run home and one out. The big blow of the inning came on a two-RBI single from Klaers.

Bemidji State improved to 9-18 on the season after the sweep and saw its NSIC record improve to 7-5. Minn.-Crookston dropped to 3-26 overall, 3-13 against the league. BSU is back in action tomorrow with a scheduled double-header at North Dakota. The series was originally scheduled to be played in Bemidji but was moved due to expected better weather conditions in Grand Forks.