Bemidji State swept in NSIC twinbill at Minn.-Duluth
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
DULUTH, Minn. (Bulldog Park) - Bemidji State wrapped up its four-game Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference baseball series with Minn.-Duluth this afternoon, with the Bulldogs completing a four-game season sweep of BSU with wins by 14-4 and 3-0 counts. The teams played a split home-and-home series this year, with Duluth capturing 7-5 and 4-2 wins in Bemidji on April 21.

The twinbill marked the last time BSU and UMD will meet on the baseball diamond as NSIC rivals; the Bulldogs will join the North Central Conference for 2004-05.

• Bulldogs pound out 15 hits in 14-4 Game 1 win, BSU unable to take advantage of nine-hit day from offense
Bemidji State grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, as John Grindeland and Jared Podraza reached base via a walk and a base hit, respectively, and would later come around to score. But the Beavers would be unable to take advantage of scoring chances against Bulldog starter Adam Baker, and BSU found itself unable to keep pace with a Duluth offense on its way to a 14-run, 15-hit afternoon.

BSU had runners at first and second after back-to-back walks with two out in the second, went 1-2-3 after a leadoff double in the third, wasted a one-out walk with a double play in the fourth and saw a double-play end a fifth inning which saw the bases loaded with one out.

Baker was pulled after retiring the Beavers in order in the sixth, and BSU was able to plate two runs off reliever Bub Lovas via a two-run home run by Shaun Ross in the top of the seventh. But BSU again failed to capitalize on scoring chances; the Beavers put runners on second and third with one out following Ross’s home run, but two flyouts ended the rally and sent BSU to the 14-4 setback.

Minn.-Duluth responded to BSU’s two-run first by plating three runs in the home half of the inning, including a two-run home run by Tim Battaglia, and never looked back. The Bulldogs added three in the second and four in the fourth to put the game out of reach, and would score in all but the fourth inning. UMD added three in the fifth and a single run in the sixth for good measure.

Alex Johnson went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and three runs scored for the Bulldogs; Battaglia finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI, including the first-inning two-run homer. Joe Korneta hit a two-run shot in the third and Tim Garceau hit a three-run bomb in the fifth to give the Bulldogs five home runs in the game.

Chad Schwegel started for BSU. He lasted just two innings, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits; he struck out three and walked five, while allowing three of the five Bulldog home runs. Schwegel took the loss and fell to 2-5. Kyal Brandt and Dave Zothman cleaned up; Brandt threw three innings in relief and allowed five runs (all earned) on five hits with two strikeouts. Zothman allowed an unearned run on two hits in the sixth.

• Tim Battaglia hurls three-hit shutout against Beavers in 3-0 Game 2 loss
Tim Battaglia added to his Game 1 heroics at the plate by throwing a three-hit shutout from the pitching mound in Game 2, sending BSU to a 3-0 loss and completing the season sweep for the Bulldogs.

Battaglia gave himself all the support he would need with a solo home run to lead off the fourth inning. Korneta walked and later scored on an RBI single by Brian Bataglia in the same inning to put UMD up 2-0, and Adam Keeler scored on a single by Mike Hanson in the sixth for the game’s only scoring.

For the Beavers, Tony Klaers singled to lead off the second and was later erased on a fielder’s choice; Jon Czech singled to lead off the fifth and Matt Pesta singled later in the fifth for the team’s only hits off Battaglia. BSU left five men on base in the game, but had only three runners reach second base and only one - Andy Bronczyk in the fifth - reached as far as third base.

The offensive drought overshadowed a strong effort by lefty Scott Pugliese on the mound. Pugliese, who has been dominant out of the bullpen of late, threw a six-inning complete game and scattered seven hits. He allowed three Bulldog runs (all earned), struck out three and walked just one. The loss dropped him to 2-6 on the year.

Game 2 of a double-header has been nightmarish for BSU during its last six games. In its last three Game 2s, BSU has generated a grand total of four hits has been shut out twice and has scored just one run.

The sweep dropped Bemidji State to 12-32 overall and 9-15 in the NSIC. Minn-Duluth improved to 20-13, 13-8 in the NSIC. Bemidji State closes the book on its 2004 baseball campaign Saturday and Sunday at Northern State. The Beavers and Wolves square off in a 1:30 double-header on May 1, and wrap things up with a noon twinbill on May 2.