Bemidji State drops non-conference twinbill at Minn.-Duluth
Thursday, May 5, 2005

DULUTH, Minn. - The Bemidji State baseball team wrapped up the non-conference portion of its 2005 regular season, dropping 10-3 and 3-1 decisions at Minnesota Duluth on Wednesday afternoon.

Matt Middendorf and Matt Asche each went 3-for-3 for BSU in Game 1, and Asche and Eric Pilgrim each had three RBI, but the Beaver bullpent was hit for 10 runs in three innings as Minn.-Duluth rallied for a 10-6 victory.

Bemidji State held a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning with three RBI off Asche’s bat. He chipped in an RBI single in the second inning and staked BSU to a three-run lead with a two-run home run in the fourth.

But the Bulldogs, who were held to one hit in the first three innings of the contest, broke loose in the home half of the fourth and took control of the game with a five-run frame on just three hits. Two BSU fielding errors led to two unearned runs, and five different Bulldogs had an RBI in the inning.

BSU briefly recaptured the lead on a three-run home run by Pilgrim to chase Bulldog starter Mike Yrjo with two outs in the sixth. The circuit clout put the Beavers on top, 6-5, but the Bulldogs again answered with five runs in the home half of the frame to put the game out of reach.

The Bulldogs scored all 10 of their runs in two innings - five each in the fourth and sixth - and had just five hits in those two innings. The Beavers committed three errors, walked eight batters and had a wild pitch in the two big innings for the Bulldogs.

Bub Lovas pitched the final four outs to earn the win for the Bulldogs. BSU threw four pitchers in the game, with Lee Pingel allowing five runs (two earned) on two hits in one inning of work to take the loss.

Minn.-Duluth scored a single run in the first and two in the fourth of Game 2, giving starter Freddie Hampe all the support he would need. Hampe went six innings on the hill for the Bulldogs, and held BSU to three hits and just a single run. He struck out five and walked six to earn his first win of the season.

Dan Wagner scored BSU’s only run of the game, unearned, in the top of the seventh inning after Mike Wagner reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced on an error to UMD second baseman Kyle Zweber.

As in Game 1, BSU used four pitchers in Game 2. Eddie Johnson started and took the loss for BSU, although he pitched only the first inning. He allowed three hits and one earned run. Tony Meech was perfect in two innings in relief of Johnson, and Bryant Salamone allowed two earned runs on two hits while pitching the fourth and fifth innings. Matt Middendort pitched the sixth to close out the game for BSU.

The loss dropped Johnson to 1-9 on the year. Hampe picked up the win for the hosts and improved to 1-0.

The loss in Game 2 was BSU’s 35th defeat of the season, setting a school single-season record. The previous record of 34 losses in a season was set in 1999 and tied in 2004.

The double-header sweep dropped Bemidji State’s record to 10-35 on the year, while Minn.-Duluth improved its season mark to 22-20. BSU wraps up its 2005 regular season with a four-game Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference series at Wayne State (Neb.) on Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8. Wayne State is 37-11 on the season and tied for first place in the NSIC standings with a 15-3 mark against league foes.

BSU remains mathematically alive for a berth in the four-team 2005 NSIC Tournament. BSU trails Winona State (23-23 / 9-11 NSIC) by one game for the fourth and final berth in the tournament. Winona State closes its regular season this weekend with a four-game NSIC series against Minn.-Crookston (1-33 / 1-17 NSIC).