BROOKINGS, S.D. (Bob Shelden Field) - Three South Dakota State pitchers limited Bemidji State to three hits over 14 innings as the Jackrabbits posted a pair of 6-0 victories over the Beavers in a non-conference double-header this afternoon. Christian Larson pitched a two-hit shutout in the Game 1 victory, while Caleb Thielbar limited BSU to a single hit in six innings of work in Game 2.
The Jackrabbits scored three runs in the first inning and three runs in the second to give Larson all the support he’d need in Game 1. The first three South Dakota hitters of the contest reached safely on a walk and two singles, and all three later scored to put the Jackrabbits ahead 3-0.
BSU starter Bryant Salamone (Rockford, Ill.) issued a pair of walks with one out in the second, and the Jackrabbits capitalized and later took advantage of a throwing error on a rundown play and a passed ball to push their lead to 6-0.
After the first two innings BSU’s pitching staff settled and held the Jackrabbits without a hit over the game’s final four innings. South Dakota saw two men reach in the third on a walk and a hit batsman and got a two-out walk in the fifth.
Despite the efforts of the pitching staff, BSU was unable to rally against Larson. Casey Allar (Sartell, Minn.) broke up Larson’s no-hitter with two outs in the third, and BSU picked up its second hit when Eric Pilgrim (Park Rapids, Minn.) led off the seventh with a single.
BSU had more than one runner on base at the same time just once in the game, that coming in the third inning. Dan Wagner (Hermantown, N.H.) was hit by a pitch with one out in the third and reached second base when Allar singled with two out.
Salamone allowed just three hits in four innings, but walked six and allowed six runs (five earned). He struck out four, and fell to 1-4 on the year. Allar threw two innings of no-hit ball in relief, allowing only one walk.
Larson struck out two and walked one while improving to 2-1 on the year.
The Jackrabbits blew open a 1-0 game with four-run third inning in Game 2, and rode Thielbar’s one-hit effort to complete the sweep.
BSU starter Chuck Erlandson (Moorhead, Minn.) pitched a one-two-three first inning, but a leadoff single, a walk and three stolen bases helped the Jackrabbits score Nick Adams and grab a 1-0 lead in the second.
The Jackrabbits then erupted for four runs in the third inning to essentially put the game out of reach. Four consecutive South Dakota State hitters reached safely after the first out was recorded, and Kasey Keller’s two-run single helped all four score to complete the rally. The Jackrabbits left the bases loaded in the third, then added an insurance run in the fourth to push their lead to 6-0.
Thielbar retired the first 13 batters he faced in the game and saw his perfect game bid halted when he walked Tony Klaers (Elk River, Minn.) with one out in the fifth. Klaers advanced to second on a balk and became the only hitter to reach second base against Thielbar. He retired the next four BSU hitters he faced after Klaers’ walk, and allowed his first hit to Matt Middendorf (Sauk Centre, Minn.) with two down in the sixth. Middendorf was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double, and Isaac Johnson pitched a perfect seventh to close out Thielbar’s gem.
The win evened Thielbar’s season record at 3-3.
Erlandson allowed five hits in three innings, surrendering five runs (five earned). He walked five and fell to 0-8 on the year. Tony Meech (Menahga, Minn.) allowed a run on three hits while pitching the fourth inning in relief, and Allar continued his strong day on the hill by allowing one hit and one walk in two innings of work to close out the game for the Beavers.
The back-to-back shutouts marked the first time BSU has been blanked in both games of a double header since April 20, 2001 when it dropped 4-0 and 9-0 decisions to Wayne State (Neb.). BSU had not been shut out in both games of a non-conference twinbill since April 12, 1994, when North Dakota picked up 8-0 and 10-0 wins over the Beavers.
Bemidji State was originally scheduled to play a non-conference double-header at St. Cloud State this afternoon, but wet field conditions in St. Cloud forced the cancellation of that matchup early yesterday morning. BSU officials added the South Dakota State twinbill shortly afterward.
Bemidji State fell to 8-31 overall with the sweep and saw its season-best three-game winning streak come to an end. South Dakota State improved to 20-22 overall. Bemidji State is back in action tomorrow with a non-conference double-header at Minn.-Duluth. First pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m. Central time in Duluth, Minn.