WARRENSBURG, Mo. (Crane Stadium) - The Bemidji State baseball team won one of its three games at the Holiday Inn Express Classic hosted by Central Missouri State. The Beavers toppled No. 6 Central Missouri State, 9-6, on Friday, and dropped a pair of games in a Saturday double-header - an 8-2 loss to No. 10 Emporia (Kan.) State and a 6-2 loss to Washburn (Kan.).
The Beavers used a five-run fifth inning to erase a three-run deficit, and scored nine total runs in the fifth through seventh innings to pull away in their Classic-opening victory over the sixth-ranked Mules.
The Mules jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the strength of a two-run first-inning home run by Cody Berg and a fourth-inning RBI double by Cole Armstrong before BSU assembled its rally in the fifth.
Dan Wagner (Hermantown, N.H.) grounded out to open the pivotal fifth inning, and from there the next seven BSU batters reached safely. The five-run rally began when Tony Klaers (Elk River, Minn.) singled with the bases loaded followed by a John Grindeland (Moorhead, Minn.) later added a two-run single to left later in the inning and RBI singles from Matt Pesta (Long Prairie, Minn.) and Matt Asche (Cedar Falls, Iowa).
The Mules cut the lead to 5-4 with a run in the home half of the fifth, but BSU pushed its lead to three with a two-run sixth on RBI singles by Grindeland and Pesta. Central Missouri added two runs in the sixth to again cut the BSU lead to one, 7-6, but BSU responded with a two-run seventh to again push its lead to three, 9-6.
Chad Schwegel (St. Joseph, Minn.) was BSU’s second reliever out of the pen, coming on to start the sixth for Casey Allar (Sartell, Minn.). The Mules got two runs on three hits off Schwegel in the sixth, but he was stellar over the final three innings, allowing just two eighth-inning singles as BSU held on for the victory.
Allar picked up the win, his first of the season, for working the fifth inning. Bryant Salamone (Rockford, Ill.) started and allowed three runs on four hits with three strikeouts and a pair of walks in four innings of work.
Each of BSU’s top four hitters had two hits in the victory, and Justin Welle (Little Falls, Minn.) finished 3-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored.
In BSU’s second game of the Classic against Emporia (Kan.) State on March 26, the Beavers got an RBI single from Pesta in the bottom of the first to tie the score at one run each. But the Hornets scored single runs in the second, third, fourth and sixth innings to grab a 5-1 lead, then blew the game open with a three-run eighth.
Pesta added an RBI groundout in the eighth to pull BSU within 8-2, but the Beavers went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.
In Game 3, Washburn built a 6-0 lead through the seventh inning, but the Beavers managed only a two-RBI double from Tony Klaers in the eighth inning as the Ichabods held on, 6-2.
Washburn held BSU to five hits, with Pesta going 0-for-4 to snap a five-game hitting streak which saw him go 10-for-21 with 14 RBI and three runs scored.
Eddie Johnson (Bemidji, Minn.) threw 5.1 innings in the start for BSU, allowing five run (three earned) on nine hits with five strikeouts. Tony Meech (Menahga, Minn.) came on in relief with one out in the sixth, and held Washburn to one run on one hit with two strikeouts over the game’s final two and two-thirds of an inning. Johnson fell to 0-2 with the loss.
BSU moved its record to 2-8 at the Classic. The Beavers are back in action Saturday, March 25, when they open Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play with a four-game series at Winona State. First pitch for the weekend double-headers are slated for 1:30 p.m. on March 25 and noon on March 26.