Bemidji State swept in home opener by Mustangs
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
BEMIDJI, Minn. (BSU Baseball Field) -- The Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs scored six unanswered runs in the sixth and seventh innings to rally from a 6-3 deficit to stun the Beavers, 9-6, in Game 1 of a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference double-header, then used three home runs to spark a 7-0 victory over Bemidji State in the nightcap to complete a two-game sweep.

The sweep gives the Mustangs a 3-1 record over the Beavers in their four-game conference series this season, as BSU and SMSU split in Marshall, Minn. on April 8.

SMSU’s Derick Swenson led Game 1 off with a single to left field and then stole second with one out in the inning. He eventually moved to third of a ground out to shortstop by Andrew Kinney. With two outs, Derek West singled home Swenson putting the Mustangs up 1-0.

BSU strung together a two out rally in the home half of the first to take a 3-1 lead after one inning of play. Nick Jelacie (So., OF/C, Brainerd, Minn.) singled to left then stole second allowing him to score off a RBI single by Josh Juntunen (Sr., 1B/LHP, Elk River, Minn.) tying the game a 1-1. Justin Huether (Sr., OF/RHP, Brainerd, Minn.) would extend the rally with a single to left field followed by a RBI double off the bat of Ryan Sander (So., 3B/RHP, St. James, Minn.) putting the Beavers up 2-1. Huether would come into score when the Mustangs third baseman, Matt Bauer committed SMSU’s first error of the game giving BSU a 3-1 lead after one inning of play.

SMSU took advantage of a few pitching mistakes in the top of the second to tie the contest at 3-3. A RBI walk by Greg Laughlin and a passed ball would account for the Mustangs runs in the inning. Bemidji State added one run in the third, fourth, and fifth innings pushing their lead to 6-3. A RBI ground out in the third by Sander put BSU up 4-3. In the fourth, Colton Smith (So., 3B, Waddell, Ariz.) hit a RBI sacrifice fly to right field deep enough to score Anthony Turk (Sr., OF, Little Falls, Minn.) from third who led the inning off with a single putting BSU up 5-3. In the fifth inning the Beavers continued to play small ball as P.J. McIntee (Sr., 2B, Randolph, Minn.) drove in a run off a ground out to the shortstop giving the Beavers a 6-3 lead through five innings of play.

The Bulldogs plated three runs in the top of the fifth to spark their late-inning rally. Jake Munsch led the inning off with a single to left field and advanced to second off a wild pitch and third on a passed ball. Derick Swenson drew a walk and stole second to give the Mustangs runners at second and third with one out. Back-to-back RBI singles by Laughlin and Andrew Kinney brought the Mustangs to with in 6-5 with no outs in the inning. SMSU eventually loaded the bases and tied the game when Matt Seehusen was hit by a pitch pushing the tying run across, 6-6.

In the seventh the Mustangs bats continued to stay hot as back-to-back homers by Kinney and West put SMSU up for good, 9-6. Kinney smacked a two run homer to left field followed by a solo shot by West to left field giving the Mustangs a three run lead. BSU was sent down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh allowing SMSU to steal a Game 1 come-from-behind victory.

Ethan Branum (Fr., LHP, Brainerd, Minn.) started for the Beavers allowing just three runs (two earned) off eight hits with four strikeouts and three walks. Randy Amos (Sr., RHP, Wilmington, N.C.) gave up three runs (three earned) in just 1.1 innings pitched while Bryan Buhr (Sr., RHP, Frazee, Minn.) took the loss allowing three runs (three earned) off two hits. Brian Jamieson (So., RHP, Maplewood, Minn.) faced just one batter in the seventh inning.

The Mustangs cycled through four pitchers, with starter Adam Schrader lasting 5.2 innings giving up all six Beaver runs (five earned) off 10 hits with four strikeouts. Aaron Rocheleau picked up his first win of the season pitching just 1/3 of an inning while Tyler Paulson picked up his first save of the season with two strikeouts in the seventh inning. Max Zwart faced just one BSU batter in the sixth giving up a hit.

Juntunen went 3-for-4 with a double, one RBI and two runs scored to lead the BSU offense. Kinney and West combined for five of the Mustangs 13 hits while driving in five of the nine Mustang runs.

Game 2 looked like it was going to be a pitcher’s dual as there were no runs or hits through the first two innings of play.

In the third inning the Mustangs offense started as the first five batters reached base. Swenson led the inning off with a single to center field followed by a Laughlin single to right field. Kinney stepped to the plate and drove his second home run of the day over the left field wall putting the Mustangs up 3-0. Matt Bauer and Derek West continued the hot hitting with singles but BSU starter Kevin Morel (Sr., RHP, Shoreview, Minn.) would buckle down and get the next three batters out holding SMSU to just three runs in the inning.

The three runs would be more than enough for Mustang starter Curtis Smith as he pitched a complete game two hit shutout off just 87 pitches, 61 of which were strikes improving his record to 4-0 on the season.

A solo home run by Scott Rambow in the sixth put SMSU up 4-0 while Josh Nolan hammered a three run shot over the left field wall in the seventh to account for the Mustangs seven runs.

Juntunen broke up the no-hitter with a lead off double in the fifth while McIntee picked up the other Beaver hit with a single to left field in the sixth.

Morel took the loss for the Beavers seeing his record fall to 0-5. He worked 5.2 innings allowing four runs (four earned) off eight hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Josh Silvernagel (Jr., SS/RHP, Bismarck, N.D.) pitched 1.1 innings of relief work giving up three runs (three earned) off three hits with one strikeout and one walk.

Bemidji State fell to 11-26 overall and 4-15 in the NSIC with the sweep while Southwest Minnesota State improved to 17-4 overall and 7-3 in the conference. Bemidji State returns to Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action this weekend when it host the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs for a four-game series, Apr. 18-19. Both double-headers will get underway at noon.

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