Bemidji State splits NSIC double-header at Northern State
Saturday, May 1, 2004
ABERDEEN, S.D. (Fossum Field) - Bemidji State split a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference baseball double-header with the Northern State Wolves this afternoon, using strong starting pitching to capture a 6-2 win in the opener and then seeing a seventh-inning rally fall one run short in a 9-8 heartbreaker in the nightcap.

• Stephen Heesen six-hit gem helps propel Bemidji State to 6-2 Game 1 victory
Stephen Heesen scattered six hits in a seven-inning complete game on the mound, firing Bemidji State to a 6-2 victory over the Wolves in the double-header opener. Heesen allowed just one earned run (two runs total) and struck out six. He pitched out of a bases-loaded jam with two out in the fourth without allowing a run, and allowed his only earned run on an RBI double by Charlie Woida in the fifth. Deacon Burns scored the other Northern run in the fifth, coming home unearned on a passed ball.

Heesen’s complete-game gem helped him improve to 3-2 on the season. His three wins are a team high.

While Heesen was in complete control of the Wolf bats for the first four innings, Bemidji State was busy building a 6-0 lead which would be more than enough to support his efforts on the hill.

John Grindeland singled to lead off the game, and Jared Podraza followed with a double down the left field line. Grindeland came around to score on a groundout by Shaun Ross, and Podraza scored on an RBI single by Tony Klaers to push BSU to a 2-0 lead.

Chris Dvorak reached on an error to lead off the second and later scored, unearned, on a sac fly by Grindeland, and Andy Bronczyk fired a two-run home run with two out in the third to push BSU’s lead to 5-0. Matt Middendorf led off the fourth with a single and later scored on a sac fly by Podraza to put BSU up 6-0 and round out the team’s scoring for the contest.

Wolf starter Joel Backous was lifted after the third inning. He allowed five BSU runs (four earned) on six hits; he did not record a walk or a strikeout en route to his third loss of the season. Jared Olson pitched the final four innings of relief and was strong, allowing just Middendorf’s fourth-inning run and retiring the final 12 BSU batters he faced.

Klaers went 2-for-3 at the plate in the winning effort for BSU. Bronczyk went 1-for-3 with two RBI, and six Beavers had at least one hit.

• Seventh-inning rally falls one run short as Beavers fall 9-8 in nightcap
Middendorf fired a one-out single to left field in the top of the seventh, and after Grindeland flied out to center Podraza singled to right to put runners at first and second with two out and the Beavers trailing, 9-5. Ross delivered a two-out, three-run home run to slice the Northern State lead to a single run, 9-8, but Klaers grounded out to second to end the rally and let the Wolves gain a split of the double-header.

A two-RBI double by Wes Fishbeck in the first inning staked the Wolves to a quick 2-0 lead, and Fishbeck later scored on a pair of passed balls to give NSU a 3-0 lead heading into the second.

BSU got a run in the second on an RBI single by Middendorf to score Bronczyk, but the Wolves responded with two runs in the second. Burns fired an RBI triple into left center, then later scored on a passed ball - BSU’s third of the game, and one of seven by the Beaver backstops in the double-header. Dvorak had five passed balls in Game 2 alone.

Northern State then put the game away with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. A one-out, two-RBI single by Valdie Magstadt was the big blow of the rally, and Fishbeck drove home Benji Kieffer on a fielder’s choice to give Northern State the edge it’d need to outlast Ross’s three-run shot in the home half of the seventh.

Bryant Salamone took the loss for the Beavers. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowing eight runs (six earned) on nine hits. He struck out one and walked four, including one intentionally. He fell to 1-6. Kyal Brandt notched the final two outs, allowing one earned run on three hits with a strikeout.

The split moved Bemidji State to 13-33 overall and 10-16 in the NSIC. Northern State moved to 16-25 overall, 9-15 in the NSIC. The Beavers and Wolves will wrap up their respective 2004 seasons tomorrow with a noon double-header.