It marked just the eighth time in Bemidji State’s 150-game series with Winona State dating back to 1958 the Beavers have won back-to-back games from the Warriors. BSU had beatend Winona State just twice in the last 14 meetings dating back to 1997, the year BSU last won consecutive games in the series.
• Beavers use sixth-inning marker to break draw in pitching-dominated Game 1
Game 1 between Bemidji State and Winona State was a classic pitching duel between BSU’s Stephen Heesen and Winona State’s Josh Schultz. Both went the distance and combined to allow just 11 hits and strike out seven.
But Heesen prevailed, picking up his team-leading second win of the season. He became the first BSU pitcher to go seven innings this season and allowed just four hits and two runs - although neither run was earned. He struck out five and walked three in the strongest effort of the season by a BSU starter.
Schultz scattered seven hits in six innings of work, and allowed three runs (all earned) in suffering his first loss of the season. He struck out two and walked one, but also hit two batters.
Winona State got on the board first, plating a run in the top of the fourth when Craig Dolenc’s sacrifice fly scored Dale Zwack, who had reached on an error to lead off the inning. The run was all Winona State would get in the fourth, despite three BSU errors in the frame.
BSU picked up two in the home half of the fourth. After Tony Klaers doubled to right center to lead off the frame, Jon Czech powered his team-leading sixth home run of the season over the right field wall to give BSU a 2-1 lead.
Winona State evened things up in the top of the sixth. Zwack led off with a double and later scored, unearned, when Dolenc reached on an error by BSU shortstop Matt Middendorf.
But BSU got the eventual game-winner in the bottom of the sixth. Klaers led off the frame with a single through the middle of the infield,and was lifted for pinch-runner Matt Simonson. Czech walked and Isaac Smieja was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Simonson scored the winner on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Norland.
Winona State went 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh to give BSU the 3-2 victory in its 2004 home opener.
• Five-run fifth fuels 8-5 Bemidji State victory in nightcap
On the strength of RBI singles by Brett Schmit and Zwack in the top of the first and an RBI single by Andrew Pohlena in the top of the third, Winona State held a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth in Game 2.
BSU got on the board with a single run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Jared Podraza to score Klaers, unearned. The Beavers then took advantage of the third Warrior error of the day to blow the game open in the fifth.
After Klaers led off with a single, Czech reached on a fielding error by Dolenc at first. Dan Wagner struck out for the first out of the inning, Norland singled and Chris Dvorak was hit with a pitch to drive in a run and pull BSU within a run, 3-2. After Middendorf flied out to center, leadoff hitter John Grindeland laced a bases-clearing double into right center to propel BSU to a 5-3 advantage. Podraza would later double to score Grindeland to cap the five-run frame and give BSU a 6-3 lead.
BSU added two in the sixth to take an 8-3 lead on a solo home run by Klaers and an RBI fielder’s choice by Middendorf.
Winona State got two in the top of the seventh, but pinch-hitter Mike Spaeth flied out and Joe Magee grounded out to end the rally.
Chad Schwegel picked up the win for BSU; he went five innings and allowed just five hits. He allowed three runs (all earned) with four strikeouts and five walks to pick up his first career victory. Kyal Brandt pitched an inning and a third of relief, allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits, and Scott Pugliese notched the final two outs to record his team-leading second save.
The sweep moved Bemidji State to 6-22 overall, 4-6 in the NSIC. Winona State fell to 18-10-1 overall and dropped to 7-3 in the conference. BSU has now won four of five games and six of its last nine. The teams will wrap up their four-game NSIC double-header tomorrow with a double-header. First pitch is scheduled for noon Central time at the BSU Baseball Field.