Bemidji State splits twinbill with Minn.-Duluth, 4-8 and 5-4
Friday, April 25, 2003
April 25, 2003
BSU drops 8-4 decision in Game 1; Berner’s nine strikeouts lead BSU to 5-4 win in nightcap

BEMIDJI, Minn. - [game 1 box][game 2 box] Bemidji State sophomore Russell Berner struck out nine batters, the most by a BSU pitcher this season, and Brian Beuning picked up his team-leading third save of the season in a 5-4 win over the Minn.-Duluth Bulldogs this afternoon at BSU Baseball Field. The victory gave BSU a split of the double-header, as Minn.-Duluth used a five-run sixth to post an 8-4 win in Game 1.

• GAME 1: The first four Minnesota-Duluth batters of the contest reached base on two singles, a double and a walk as the Bulldogs got to BSU starter Al Ryan early and led 3-0 after one inning. From there, however, Ryan settled and a two-run second inning helped BSU claw back into the contest.

Tony Klaers led off the second for BSU with an infield single and later scored on a John Grindeland RBI double to get the Beavers on the board. Dan Marshall then scored on a sacrifice fly from Isaac Smieja to pull BSU within a run, 3-2.

Ryan, who surrendered three hits in the first, retired the side in the second, pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the third without allowing a run and retired the side in the fourth and fifth. At one point, he retired seven consecutive Bulldog hitters.

But he ran into trouble in the sixth. The first five Bulldog hitters of the inning singled, and Ryan would give up two-RBI singles to both Greg Aker and Brandon Broxey in what became a five-run frame for the visitors. The outburst sent Ryan to the showers, and gave UMD what would be an insurmountable 8-2 advantage.

BSU tried to get back into the game with a rally in the sixth, picking up a pair of runs on an RBI single from Tyler Norland to score pinch runner Mike Carlson and a sac fly from Grindeland to plate Klaers. BSU then got its first two batters on base in the seventh, but Bulldog reliever Shawn Tremaine shut the door on the rally by striking out Jeremy Mellen and Klaers to end the contest.

Luke Hagman picked up the victory on the hill for the Bulldogs, remaining unbeaten at 6-0. Ryan took the loss and fell to 1-6.

Klaers went 2-for-4 with two runs scored for BSU; it marked his fourth multi-hit game in BSU’s last six outings. John Czech went 2-for-3.

• GAME 2: The nightcap of today’s double-header was a pitching duel early, as both BSU’s Russell Berner and UMD’s Tim Battaglia took turns striking out just about any batter they chose. Berner struck out seven Bulldogs in the first four innings and Battaglia fanned four Beavers in the same span, and at one point seven consecutive batters in the game (for both teams) were retired via strikeout.

The only run scored during the early pitching clinic came on a solo home run from Bulldog catcher Nathan Cernak to lead off the second.

BSU finally solved Battaglia in the fifth, touching the Bulldog junior for five runs. Chris Dvorak led off the frame with a single to kick-start the rally, which in total saw BSU notch six hits in the inning. Isaac Smieja followed Dvorak’s knock by grounding out to third base, but the top of BSU’s order responded by recording five consecutive singles. Shaun Ross provided the big blow with a two-RBI single to center, his 98th career base hit. He later scored on a fielding error by Bulldog right fielder Brandon Broxey, who had come on as a pinch hitter in the top of the frame.

UMD likewise got to Berner in the top of the sixth, picking up two unearned runs. Berner was hooked after retiring the first two batters of the inning, then walking Joe Korneta and surrendering a double to Cernak. Brian Beuning came on for Berner, and after throwing two balls to Tim Garceau induced a grounder to third. But John Czech’s throw was high, allowing both Korneta and Cernak to score and pull UMD within 5-3.

The Bulldogs plated a run in the seventh as Nate Taran scored on a wild pitch, but with runners at first and third Beuning retired the last two men he faced to earn the save and give BSU the tight 5-4 victory.
Tony Klaers went 1-for-3 for BSU to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Beuning went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, and Czech went 2-for-4.

Berner picked up the win and improved to 2-3 on the year, while Beuning carded his third save of the season. Berner finished with nine strikeouts, the most by a BSU pitcher this season. Battaglia dropped to 6-2.

With the split, Bemidji State’s record moved to 11-21 on the season, 9-6 in NSIC play. BSU needs just three wins in its final six NSIC contests for first-year head coach Chris Brown to tie the school record for most league wins by a rookie head coach (12). Minn.-Duluth dropped to 25-8, 10-2 in NSIC play. The Game 2 loss was the first by the Bulldogs in NSIC play since April 18, when UMD was defeated 9-8 by Winona State in a six-inning contest.

BSU has now won three of its last four games against UMD. The teams are scheduled to wrap up their four-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m.