Ninth inning rally lifts Drury over Bemidji State, 8-7
Saturday, March 7, 2009
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Meador Park) -- A walk off, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth by Drury Universities Tyler Gross lifted the Panthers past Bemidji State 8-7 in the Beavers second game of the Heffington Optical Invitational in Springfield, Mo.

BSU opened up the scoring platting two runs in each of the first two innings to take a 2-1 lead after two innings of play. Colton Smith (So., 3B/RHP, Waddell, Ariz.) doubled to left field and then scored off a error by Drury shortstop, Joe Rohlfing scoring the first run of the ball game giving BSU the early 1-0 lead.

The Beavers added to its lead in the top of the second when Joe Chism (Jr., C/OF, Great Bend, Kan.) reached base after he was hit by a pitch and then came around to score when Ryan Johnson (So., OF, Bemidji, Minn.) reached base off a throwing error by Drury pitcher Chris Barratt giving BSU the early 2-0 lead.

Joel Potts got the Panthers on the board in the bottom of the second when he hit a RBI single to left field scoring Dane Hughes from third. In the bottom of the third inning the Panthers took its first lead of the game as they platted three runs to go up 4-2. Maury Wilmes reached on a fielding error by BSU third baseman Colton Smith and then scored when the very next batter Kendall Findley sent the pitch over the center field wall giving DU its first lead of the game, 3-2. Later in the inning the Panthers pushed their lead to 4-2 when Jason Hall hit a RBI double to left center field.

A fielding error in the fourth by the Panthers allowed Anthony Turk (Sr., OF, Little Falls, Minn.) to come around to score to bringing BSU back to a one run deficit, 4-3. Drury pushed its lead back to two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning but a three run sixth gave BSU the lead at 6-5. The Beavers took advantage of an error and wild pitching in the sixth to plate their three runs. Justin Huether (Sr., OF/RHP, Brainerd, Minn.) and Josh Juntunen (Sr., 1B/P, Elk River, Minn.) picked up the RBI’s in the inning. Huether earned his RBI when he drew a base loaded walk while Juntunen was hit by a pitch with the bases load allowing BSU’s final run of the inning to score.

The Beavers clung to the one run lead, 7-6, heading into the bottom of the ninth. BSU brought in their closer Ryan Bohannan (Sr., RF/RHP, Goodyear, Ariz.) who had been perfect in save attempts this season until tonight. Bohannan struggled to find the plate allowing the Panthers to load the bases with just one out. Tyler Gross stepped to the plate and delivered a game-winning two RBI single down the left field line giving DU the 8-7 come from behind victory improving their record to 7-7 on the season and 1-0 all-time versus the Beavers.

Brent Vollbrecht (Sr., RHP, Morristown, Minn.) earned the start for the Beavers allowing five runs (four earned) off eight hits with three strikeouts. Ethan Branum (Fr., LHP, Brainerd, Minn.) and Randy Amos (Sr., RHP, Wilmington, N.C.) combined to work three innings of relief allowing one run (one earned) off five hits with two strikeouts. Bohannan saw his record fall to 0-1 on the season as he surrendered two runs (two earned) off one hit.

Chris Barratt pitched 5.2 innings for the Panthers allowing six runs (zero earned) off just two hits, three walks and six strikeouts. Drury used five pitchers out of the bullpen who worked 3.1 innings giving up five hits and just one run. Stephen Bloss picked up the win for the Panthers.

The Beavers were led at the plate by Smith who garnered two hits off four at bats. Josh Juntunen (Sr., 1B/LHP, Elk River, Minn.) recorded two RBI while Chism and Turk each scored two runs apiece.

Bemidji State (7-9) will wrap up its play in the Heffington Optical Invitational tomorrow afternoon when the Beavers play Arkansas Tech at 1:30 p.m. for the first in the BSU baseball programs history.

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