Bemidji State swept by Wayne State, 5-3 & 25-1, in twinbill
Saturday, April 24, 2004
BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Baseball Field) - Bemidji State’s baseball team spent a frustrating afternoon trying to solve the Wayne State (Neb.) pitching staff, and never quite found an answer as the Wildcats swept a two-game Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference double-header by scores of 5-3 and 25-1. BSU generated just six hits on the afternoon, and were held to a single hit in the Game 2 loss.

Wayne State’s starters went through the sixth inning in both games and allowed a total of just six hits in the double-header. B.J. Wierzbicki scattered five hits with five strikeouts in a seven-inning complete game in the opener; he faced the minimum through four innings and allowed just one earned run. Nick Schumacher took a no-hitter into the fifth inning of Game 2, and allowed just one hit - a solo home run to center fielder Jared Podraza - in six innings of work. He struck out five and walked three before yielding to Matt Foral, who allowed just a walk in one inning of relief.

• Strong Wayne State pitching overshadows strong effort from Schwegel in 5-3 Game 1 loss
BSU starting pitcher Chad Schwegel held Wayne State in check through five innings, allowing just two earned runs on three hits while striking out six - including one stretch in which he struck out five consecutive Wildcat batters.

But the BSU offense could generate no support of Schwegel, managing just one unearned run without the benefit of an RBI in his five innings of work. That lone run came in the fifth, when Jon Czech scored from second on a fielder’s choice by Tyler Norland and a subsequent throwing error by shortstop Aaron Ligocki.

The Wildcats put the game away with three runs in the sixth, one credited to Schwegel after he allowed a leadoff walk to Brian Disch and was then lifted for reliever Scott Pugliese. After retiring the first two men he faced on a sacrifice bunt and a flyout to center, Pugliese walked three consecutive Wildcat hitters to close the book on Schwegel and load the bases for leadoff hitter Dustin Jones - who responded with a two-run single through the middle to give Wayne State a 5-1 lead.

BSU attempted a seventh-inning rally against Wierzbicki, leading off the frame with a walk to Shaun Ross and a single by Tony Klaers. Andy Bronczyk reached on an error and drove home Ross to pull BSU within 5-2, and Eric Pilgrim - pinch-running for Klaers - would later score unearned on a two-out sacrifice fly by Dan Wagner. But Matt Middendorf flew out to center to end the rally and send BSU to the 5-3 loss.

• Beavers held to one hit in 25-1 Game 2 loss
The second game of the afternoon’s double header was over almost as quickly as it begun. Wayne State put the game out of reach with an eight-run third inning, and led by a score of 21-0 before BSU had even managed its first base hit of the game. Wildcat starter Nick Schumacher was outstanding, pitching six innings and allowing just four baserunners - three walks, and the solo home run to Podraza in the sixth to end his no-hit bid and break up the shutout.

The Wildcats piled up 20 hits against six different BSU pitchers, and scored in every inning but the fifth. First baseman Tim Richt hit a three-run home run and a grand slam, finishing 2-for-5 with three runs scored and seven RBI; catcher Matt Fjelland went 4-for-5 with a grand slam, six RBI and three runs scored; and Ligocki went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and three runs scored. The trio spearheaded a Wildcat offense which saw seven players record more than one hit and eight players score two or more runs, with six different players scoring three times. Every Wayne State player who had an at-bat in the game scored at least one run, and only the two players who split time at DH failed to record at least one hit.

It marked the fourth time this season BSU allowed 20 or more runs in a game, setting a school record. BSU’s lone hit marks its lowest single-game total since April 14, 2000 when the Beavers were no-hit by Winona State in a 9-0 loss.

Game 2 was BSU’s 40th game played this season, marking just the 10th time in school history the Beavers have played 40 or more games in a season. Game 2 was also BSU’s 14th consecutive home game, tying a school record set on two previous occasions for longest home-stand in a single season; BSU played 14 consecutive home games in 1965 and 2003. BSU has four home games remaining on its 2004 schedule.

The sweep dropped Bemidji State to 11-29 overall and 8-12 in the NSIC. Wayne State improved to 33-14 on the year, 13-6 in the league. The teams wrap up a four-game series tomorrow afternoon with a double-header; first pitch is scheduled for noon at BSU Baseball Field.