Two NSIC victories at Minnesota Duluth snap 10-game skid
Monday, April 18, 2011
Two NSIC victories at Minnesota Duluth snap 10-game skid

DULUTH, Minn - The Bemidji State University baseball team snapped a 10-game losing skid with 9-5 and 2-1 (11 innings) victories at University of Minnesota Duluth Monday. Game three of the day was called after four complete innings due to darkness, five innings need to be played for the contest to count as a complete game. BSU was up 2-0 at the time.

Pitching was the strong point for the Beavers in the two games, as BSU’s most consistent starters came to the mound and threw gems. Sophomore Phil Bray (LHP, Chatfield, Minn.) went eight strong in game one and senior Ryan Sander (1B/RHP, St. James, Minn.) threw and 11 inning complete game. Combined the two pitchers struckout 13 batters and walked just four. 

In the first game of the day, the Beavers (11-18, 5-10 NSIC) had to consistently battle back until taking a 6-5 lead after the sixth inning. BSU was down 3-0 before posting a two-run fourth, thanks to a bases loaded error that scored senior Brian Murphy (1B, Longville, Minn.). The second run came off a sacrifice fly by senior Brian Ahlers (MIF, Champlin, Minn.) that plated freshman Zach Braun (Lakeville, Minn.).

The Bulldogs (8-17 overall, 4-9 NSIC) answered back in the bottom half of the inning and tacked on one run to take a 4-2 advantage. After loading the bases again in the fifth a two out single by sophomore Lewis Baumann (MIF, Colorado Springs, Colo.) made UMD pay and the game was tied 4-4.

The Beavers then took its first lead of the game with another two-run inning in the top of the sixth.  The Bulldog pitching staff handed the lead to BSU, walking four batters in the inning, including handing out free passes to Braun and junior Juan Molero (OF, Maracaibo, Venezuela)  with the bases loaded for the easiest RBI in baseball.

UMD got one back in the bottom of the sixth and the scored remained 6-5 until the Beavers decided on some insurance runs in the top of the ninth, tallying three on the board to own a four-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. Senior right-hander Bryan Jamieson (Maplewood, Minn.) then relieved BSU starter Bray and shut the Bulldogs down in order to hand the Beavers their first win since March 28 at Upper Iowa University.

Bray moved to 2-2 on the season. He threw eight complete innings, allowing the five runs (three earned) on 11 hits, with five strikeouts and three free passes. Murphy posted a 2-for-4 game with two runs and two RBI, while drawing two walks. Baumann went 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored. Senior Colton Smith (OF, Waddel, Ari.) posted his team-leading ninth multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. BSU was walked 11 times in the game.

Game two of the day was a pitchers duel between Bemidji State’s Sander and the Bulldogs’ Ben Jungers. After allowing a run to score in the bottom of the second, Sander went on lockdown and only allowed five hits the rest of the way. After controlling the Beaver batters through four frames, BSU finally broke through and produced a run in the top of the fifth inning. Eight-hole hitter sophomore Matt Ellinghuysen (3B/C, Saint Charles, Minn.) started the inning with a lead-off double to left center. Freshman Cody Bergquist (INF, Chisago Lakes, Minn.) then replaced him on the base paths as a pinch runner. Ahlers moved Bergquist to third on a sacrifice bunt, then Smith plated him on a sacrifice fly to left to tie the game 1-1.

The contest remained 1-1 into extra innings and finally ended in the 11th. Sophomore Logan Kalis (1B/RHP, Little Falls, Minn.) got the inning started with a single through the right side. Murphy did his job and moved Kalis to second with a sacrifice bunt. Senior Joe Chism (Great Bend, Kan.) played hero with a single through the left side that scored Kalis from second. 

Trusting his senior pitcher, head coach Tim Bellew left Sander in the game and he didn’t waste anytime in the 11th inning, downing the Bulldogs 1-2-3 for his third complete game of the season. He allowed the one run on eight hits, fanning eight batters and keeping to his trend of one of the most controlled pitchers in the league and walking just one, moving to 2-2 on the season. With the win the Beavers are now 3-1 in extra inning games and 4-1 in one-run contests.

Molero had the only multi-hit game for BSU, going 2-for-4. Bergquist was 1-for-2 with one run scored.

The Beavers have a scheduled doubleheader at home with University of Minnesota, Crookston at BSU Baseball Field April 20 beginning at 1:30 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).