CROOKSTON, Minn. (UMC Baseball Field) - Bemidji State posted its highest single-game run total since the 2002 season, cruising to an 18-6 win over Minnesota Crookston in Game 1 of a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference double-header. The Beavers then held on for a 5-4 victory in Game 2 to complete a four-game season-series sweep of the Golden Eagles.
Bemidji State pounded out 20 hits in Game 1, marking the team’s first 20-hit outing since April 19, 2004 - when it also had 20 hits against Minn.-Crookston - and its 18 runs scored were the team’s most since a 20-12 win over Robert Morris at the Gene Cusic Classic in Ft. Myers, Fla. on March 13, 2002.
Minn.-Crookston led 3-1 after scoring three runs in the home half of the first inning, and a two-out RBI double by first baseman Wes Hanson chased BSU starting pitcher Chuck Erlandson (Moorhead, Minn.) after just two-thirds of an inning.
BSU then blew the game open with a 10-run third inning to jump out to an 11-3 advantage and essentially seal the game. BSU sent 15 batters to the plate in the inning, hit two home runs and saw three hitters post multiple RBI in the frame. Michael Nordyke (Ukiah, Calif.) led off the inning with a solo home run, then after back-to-back walks with one out Jared Podraza (Carter Lake, Iowa) laced a two-RBI double down the left field line and BSU was off to the races.
Seven consecutive BSU batters reached and scored, and the Golden Eagles did not record the second out in the inning until Nordyke flew out to right in his second at-bat of the inning. Matt Asche (Durango, Iowa) hit a three-run home run during the onslaught, and Tony Klaers (Elk River, Minn.) had a two-RBI double with two out.
For good measure, BSU threw in five runs in the fifth and two in the top of the seventh to complete the blowout. The Golden Eagles plated three runs in the bottom of the seventh for the game’s final 18-6 margin.
Five different BSU hitters had multiple hits in the game, including each of the first four batters in the order. Nordyke went 4-for-6 with an RBI and three runs scored; Matt Middendorf (Sauk Centre, Minn.) went 3-for-5 with two RBI; Klaers finished 3-for-4 with five RBI and three runs scored; John Grindeland (Moorhead, Minn.) went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored; and Asche went 3-for-4 with five RBI and a run scored.
In Game 2, BSU again saw its starting pitcher get an early hook after just two-thirds of an inning, but again rallied for the win. BSU starter Dan Wagner (Campton, N.H.) walked the first two Golden Eagle batters of the game, then after recording two outs walked the next three batters he faced to force in a run and put Crookston ahead 2-1.
BSU retook the lead with two runs in the second, picking up an RBI triple from Matt Pesta (Long Prairie, Minn.) and an RBI single from Nordyke. The Golden Eagles pulled even at 3-3 with a run in the bottom of the third, but BSU went back ahead by scoring two in the top of the fifth on RBI doubles by Grindeland and Bryan Martinka (Bemidji, Minn.), then squashed a UMC rally in the bottom of the fifth at one run.
Scott Sand (Sauk Rapids, Minn.), who came on to pitch for Wagner in the first, threw 6.1 innings of relief and allowed just four hits. He allowed just two runs (two earned) and walked only two with seven strikeouts, and retired seven of the last nine batters he faced as BSU held on for the victory.
Grindeland led BSU with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate in Game 2, giving him five hits in the double-header.
Nordyke dominated the Golden Eagle pitching staff in the series. After going 6-for-8 at the plate yesterday, he went 4-for-6 with a solo home run, an RBI and three runs scored in Game 1, then went 1-for-4 in Game 2. For the series, Nordyke went 11-for-18 (.611) with two doubles, a home run, three RBI and tied for team-high honors with eight runs scored.
Klaers also dominated at the plate, going 8-for-14 (.571) with two doubles, a triple, two home run and 10 RBI. He slugged at 1.286 in the four-game set with a team-high 18 total bases.
The double-header sweep extends BSU’s winning streak over Minn.-Crookston to 17 consecutive games, dating back to the 2001 season. Bemidji State’s last loss to the Golden Eagles came by a score of 5-3 in Game 1 of a double-header on March 4, 2001. BSU has won 19 of the last 20 games in the series.
The sweep gives Bemidji State seven wins in its last eight games, improving the team to 9-30 on the season, 7-9 in NSIC play. Minn.-Crookston saw its season record fall to 1-29 overall, 1-13 in NSIC play. BSU is back in action Tuesday, April 26 in a non-conference double-header at North Dakota. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Central time in Grand Forks, N.D.