Beavers salvage series split in 2009 opener with Northern State
Thursday, February 5, 2009
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (H.H.H. Metrodome) -- The Bemidji State University baseball team salvaged a season series split with the Northern State University Wolves to open up the 2009 series last night at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. The Beavers dropped the first game of the twin bill, 8-9, but bounced back in game 2 to earn a 7-2 victory.

The Wolves opened the scoring in the second inning of game 1. Bemidji State pitcher Josh Juntunen (Sr., Elk River, Minn.) the first batter of the inning, Trent Bestland and then gave up a double by James Martin, followed by a walk to Mitch Locke to load the bases. After striking out Dustin Harvey, Juntunen’s control problems continued as he walked in the first run of the game when he walked Payton McCleary. James Paul gave the Wolves a 2-0 lead on a sacrifice fly RBI to right field scoring James Martin from third and NSU would score its third run of the inning off a RBI single to right field by Aaron Kappes giving NSU a 3-0 lead.

BSU used back-to-back-to-back hits in the top of the third to close NSU’s gap to 3-2. Nick Jelacie (So., C/LF, Brainerd, Minn.) led the inning off with a single, followed by RBI triple by Ryan Sander (So., INF/P, St. James, Minn.) and a RBI single by P.J. McIntee (Sr., 2B, Randolph, Minn.) to get the Beavers on scoreboard for the first time in 2009.

NSU platted two more runs in the bottom of the third pushing its lead back to three runs (5-2). Dustin Harvey knocked in the two runs on a double to left field for his lone two RBI of the contest. The Wolves held BSU scoreless in the top of the fourth and added two more runs in the fourth pushing their lead to 7-2, largest of the game. The three and four hitters for NSU, Nathan Zacher and Scott Iano picked up RBI singles in the inning for the Wolves scoring in the fourth.

The Beavers took advantage of an error by NSU third baseman, Dustin Harvey to pile up four runs in the fifth on four hits. McIntee reached base on the error to start the inning, which opened the flood gates. Josh Silvernagel (Jr., SS, Bismarck, N.D.) knocked Justin Huether (Sr., OF/P, Brainerd) in from third with an RBI triple and Silvernagel scored off a Juntunen double for the first two runs of the inning. Ryan Bohannan (Sr., OF/P, Goodyear, Ariz.) walked to put runners on first and second with two outs. Colton Smith (So., 3B, Waddell, Ariz.) stepped to the plate and drove in two runs with a double to center field to bring BSU back to within 7-6.

Northern State once again pushed its lead back to three in the top of the fifth (9-5) with three hits. Paul and Kappes picked up the RBI in the inning, both singling to left field.

BSU made one last attempt at a comeback with two outs in the top of the seventh inning. NSU pitcher Nick Wallentiny had control issues walking Bohannan and hitting Smith to put runners on first and second. Jelacie hit a towering fly ball to left field that the Wolves left fielder lost in the teflon of the Metrodome ceiling allowing Bohannan and Smith to come around to score bring the Beavers to within one (9-8). Sander grounded out to the pitcher ending any hopes of a come-from-behind win in game 1.

Juntunen, Bryan Jamieson (So., P, Maplewood, Minn. and Matt Fossen (So., P, Bemidji, Minn.) were the three pitchers for the Beavers. Juntunen got the start giving up three runs (three earned.) on three hits in two innings of work seeing his record fall to 0-1 on the season. Jamieson gave up four runs (four earned) on five hits in two innings of work while Fossen surrendered two runs (two earned) on four hits also in two innings of relief.

Northern State’s Mitch Gardner worked 4.2 innings allowing five runs (two earned) off seven hits with three strikeouts picking up his first collegiate win. Nick Wallentiny earned the save, working 2.1 innings giving up three runs (none earned) with four walks and two strikeouts.

Eight different Beavers picked up one hit in the game while Smith led the Beavers with two RBI and Bohannan scored two runs.

Game 2 was a pitchers dual until the bottom of the fourth inning. With the game tied a 1-1 the BSU offense erupted for six runs in the last three innings to earn a 7-2 win and salvage the double-header split with NSU.

Bemidji State starting pitcher, Brent Vollbrecht (Sr., Morristown, Minn.) had a shaky start in the first inning as she walked the first two batters of the game and then allowed Kai Alexander to score off a wild pitch giving NSU the early 1-0 lead. BSU eventually tied the contest at 1-1 in the bottom of the second. Jelacie reached base on a error by NSU second baseman and then scored off a throwing error by the Wolves pitcher.

The game stayed tied until the fourth inning when the Beavers platted two runs. Paul Newman (Sr., DH, Durhamville, N.Y.) started the rally with a two out walk and then advanced to second off a Alex Messick (So., C, Lakeville, Minn.) to center field. McIntee provided the big two out hit with a two RBI double to give BSU a 3-1 lead. NSU added a run in the top of the fifth as Dillion Talley led off with a triple to center field and then scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by James Martin to reel BSU to within 3-2.

BSU put the game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth. Smith tripled to center field and scored on a RBI single to left field by Newman to lead off the inning. McIntee provided the big hit once again as he smacked his second two RBI double of the game to right center field giving BSU a 6-2 lead. Ryan Johnson capped off the scoring for BSU with a RBI single to left field scoring McIntee, pushing BSU’s lead to five (7-2) heading into the top of the seventh.

BSU continued to keep the NSU offense in check and held on for its first victory of the season, 7-2.

Vollbrecht allowed two runs (two earned) on one hit with three strikeouts and two walks in 5.0 innings of work seeing his record improve to 1-0 on the season, his first career victory. Bohannan worked 2.0 innings of relief allowing just two hits with four strikeouts earning his first save of the season and fifth of his career.

Lucas Jung took the loss for the Wolves falling to 0-1 on the season allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Jordan Zenk worked 0.2 innings of relief allowing two runs (two earned) on two hits with one strikeout and one walk.

McIntee led the Beavers at the place as he went 3-for-3 with two doubles and four RBI with one run scored.

With the double-header split the Beavers improve to 56-43 all-time versus NSU.

Bemidji State (1-1; 0-0 NSIC) will be back in action on Feb. 6 as the Beavers will return to the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. to take on the University of Minnesota, Crookston Golden Eagles (0-2; 0-0 NSIC). The first pitch of the double-header is slated for 2 p.m.

Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).