Narrow misses
Sunday, March 29, 2009
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Ronken Field) - The Bemidji State University baseball team wasn’t able to keep the momentum going as it dropped two Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference games against Augustana College 4-3 and 7-6 Sunday.

The Beavers (8-17, 1-6 NSIC) and Vikings (13-7, 5-3 NSIC) locked up three times this weekend, with the fourth and final game being cancelled. Today’s first game was a makeup from Saturday, with AC prevailing 4-3.

Both teams exchanged runs in the first, and BSU took a 2-1 lead after the third when Colton Smith (So., INF/P, Waddell, Ariz.) drove home Dan Bennett (Jr., C, Hayfield, Minn.). A scoreless top of the fourth left the door open for the Vikings, who responded with three in the home half of the inning. A single response from the Beavers in the top of the fifth wasn’t enough to mount a comeback.

Kevin Morel (Sr., P, Shoreview, Minn.) has struggled on the mound this year, and he fell to 0-4 after allowing four runs on five hits in 3.2 innings. He walked four and struck out three, and was relieved by Bryan Buhr (Sr., P, Frazee, Minn.). Buhr and Ethan Branum (Fr., P, Brainerd, Minn.) threw the final 2.1 innings without allowing a hit.

Kenny Lidke earned the win to move to 3-0 this season. He pitched 4.2 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits, while striking out two and walking two. Bret Severtson came on in relief duty for the final 2.1 innings, and he allowed one hit and struck out one.

BSU outhit the Vikings 6-5, and Smith led the way for the road team with a 2-for-4 performance from the plate. Josh Silvernagel (Jr., INF, Bismarck, N.D.) was 1-for-2, and he scored two of Bemidji State’s three runs. JaColby Anderson was 2-for-3 at the dish for the Vikings, scoring once and driving home a run. Drew Heithoff drove home two and Nate Baumann scored twice.

In the second game, Augustana jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings, but Bemidji State evened it up with two in the fourth and one in the fifth. A three run top half of the sixth gave the Beavers a 6-3 lead, but the Vikings answered with four in the bottom half of the frame, taking the game 7-6.

Josh Juntunen (Sr., 1B/P, Elk River, Minn.) pitched 5.0 innings for BSU in a no-decision. He allowed three runs on nine hits, and also struck out six and walked two. Randy Amos (Sr., P, Wilmington, N.C.) had a tough time filling in for Juntunen. He came on in the bottom of the sixth, but failed to record an out before allowing three runs. He only allowed one hit and walked two. Ryan Bohannan (Sr., OF/P, Goodyear, Ariz.) was tagged with the loss, falling to 0-3, after allowing the final run in the sixth. He pitched 1.0 inning, gave up a run, a hit, a walk, and struck out one.

Per Nestingen began the game on the hill for Augie, and he lasted 4.1 innings before being relieved by Tim Duffy. Nestigen allowed five hits, five walks and three runs while only striking out one. Duffy went 1.1 innings, allowing three runs on four hits. He struck out four. Jeff Green finished the game and earned the win, improving to 3-0 this year. He didn’t allow a hit, striking out two and walking one.

Juntunen had another strong performance at the plate for Bemidji State, going 3-for-4 with two runs batted in and a run scored. He was one of six different Beavers to cross home plate, and the only one to collect multiple RBI.

Ian Strum and Andy Ahrendt both went 2-for-2 for the home team, with the latter scoring twice and the former driving home a couple. Green also had two hits, going 2-for-3, and was one of five other Vikings to score.

Bemidji State returns to action Apr. 4-5 with two scheduled doubleheaders at Winona State University.

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