Bemidji State splits four game series with SMSU
Sunday, April 17, 2005

BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Baseball Field) - After dropping two games to Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) on Saturday, Bemidji State came out ready to play on Sunday. With the assistance of a five-run fifth inning in game one and a five-run fourth inning in game two, BSU swept both games of the double-header. With the 6-3 win in game one and a 7-3 win in game two, BSU improves to 4-29 (3-9 NSIC) while SMSU dropped to 14-13 (9-5 NSIC).

Game one proved to be a pitchers dual in the first four innings with the Mustangs gaining a slight advantage with a one-run in the second inning. SMSU would strike again in the top of the fifth, scoring one run to take a 2-0 lead, but Bemidji State would turn things around when they stepped to the plate in the bottom half of the fifth.

Senior Jarad Podraza (Carter Lake, Iowa) led off the fifth by reaching on an error. After sophomore Eric Pilgram (Park Rapids, Minn.) struck out, sophomore Matt Pesta (Long Prairie, Minn.) hit a two-run home run to even things up. Another run would cross the plate for BSU on a senior Michael Nordyke (Ukiah, Calif.) double that drove in junior Matt Asche (Durango, Minn.). Nordyke himself would be the fourth run of the inning on another two-run home run, this time from junior Matt Middendorf (Sauk Centre, Minn.)

Junior Chuck Erlandson (Moorhead, Minn.) got his first win of the season. Erlandson started game one for BSU and went 5.0 innings allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out four. With the win, Erlandson moves to 1-4 on the season while freshman Tony Meech (Sebeka, Minn.) collected his first save of the season. Meech pitch 2.0 innings for the Beavers and allowed just one unearned run.

After a strong finish in game one, BSU was eager to get game two underway. Bemidji State wasted no time, getting on the board first in the bottom of the first on a double-play that scored Nordyke from third.

The Mustangs tied the game in the top of the third when Nordyke lost a fly ball in the sun. The ball fell in, giving Derek Rignell a double that scored Bryan Kramer. With the game tied Bemidji State allowed SMSU to the lead when a ball-four, wild pitch allowed Rignell to run home. The Mustangs threatened to score even more in the third with the bases loaded and two outs when junior Dan Wagner (Campton, N.H.) struck out SMSU’s pinch-hitter, Joey Huey, to end the inning.

After a quick bottom half of the fourth, BSU brought in sophomore Bryant Salamone (Rockford, Ill.) to pitch. Salamone allowed yet another SMSU run to cross the plate after a wild pitch reached the back stop.

Trailing by two going into the bottom of the fourth, Bemidji State made it known that they were not going to give in as Podraza led of the inning with a solo home run to bring BSU back within one. The next batter, Pilgrim, doubled off the fence in left field before scoring on a single by Pesta. Pesta crossed the plate shortly thereafter from third on a double by Nordyke.

Following the double by Nordyke, SMSU replaced their starting pitcher, Tom Bendzick, with Aaron Lindstrom. Lindstrom inherited two base runners, allowing both of them to score later in the inning. A single that slipped through the left side of the infield scored sophomore Joe Ferguson (Robbins, Calif.) and placed the other inherited base runner, Nordyke, on third. BSU then loaded the bases when a confused SMSU defence allowed junior Tony Klaers (Elk River, Minn.) to reach first on a fielders choice. With the bases loaded, junior John Grindeland (Moorhead, Minn.) singled to right, plating Nordyke.

Lindstrom struck out Pilgrim to end the inning but the damage had already been done as BSU tallied five runs on seven hits in the fourth to take the lead for good, not allowing the Mustangs to score another run on the afternoon.

SMSU had their chances to score runs, leaving a total of 14 runners on base throughout game two. BSU, however, combined solid pitching with a strong defensive performance, leaving SMSU with the bases load in four of the seven innings.

Picking up the win for Bemidji State in game two was Salamone (1-2). Salamone went 2.1 innings allowing just one run on two hits in relief. Middendorf moved from short stop to pitcher in the sixth inning to pick up his first save of the season.

Bemidji State will return to action as they wrap-up their 14-game home stand in non-conference play against the St. Cloud State University Huskies on Tuesday at the BSU Baseball Field. The first pitch of the double-header is slated for 1:00 p.m. with game two getting underway approximately 20 minutes after the completion of game one.