BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University baseball team opens the 2020 schedule with a three-game series Feb. 21-22 against Rockhurst University at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.
- Who: Bemidji State (0-0, 0-0 NSIC) vs. Rockhurst (1-2, 0-0 GLVC)
- When: Friday, February 21 (4 p.m. / 6 p.m.); Saturday, Feb. 22 (12 p.m.)
- Where: Minneapolis, Minn. (US Bank Stadium)
Series History Under Bellew
- Overall Record: RU leads, 8-2
- Neutral Record: RU leads, 8-2
Bemidji State Overview
- Bemidji State enters the season after being selected to finish 15th overall in the 2020 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Baseball Coaches’ Poll.
- The Beavers finished 2019 with an 8-38 record overall and 6-26 mark in conference play. BSU ended the season with the sixth fewest strikeouts at the plate and ranked 11th in fielding percentage. From the mound, Bemidji State allowed the second fewest home runs and the sixth fewest walks.
- BSU returns 13 position players and eight pitchers as letter winners from last season.
- Senior catcher Isaiah Grancorvitz and junior pitcher Jackson Back were selected as BSU’s Players to Watch for the upcoming season.
- BSU enters under 15th year head coach Tim Bellew, who is the second winningest coach in Beaver Baseball history with a 218-448-1 record overall. Bellew trails Bob Montebello (1959-87) by 80 wins for the program’s most victories by a head coach.
- Three former Beaver Baseball student-athletes join Bellew on the coaching staff, led by head assistant coach Matt Ellinghuysen. 2020 is Ellinghuysen’s fifth season behind Bellew and is joined by Jesse Palafox, Dan Bennett and Doug Jones as assistant coaches.
- The Hawks are led by 26th year head coach Gary Burns, who has totaled a career record of 746-615 since taking over as head coach in 1994.
- Rockhurst was voted to finish 15th of 16 programs in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
- Through three games this season, RU is averaging 7.6 runs while allowing 8.0 runs per game this season.
- The Hawks played three games at the Ranger Roundup Feb. 7-9, going 1-2 through the tournament. Rockhurst opened its season with an 8-5 loss to Washburn University before rebounding with a 14-11 win over Northwestern Oklahoma State University. RU most recently fell to Truman State University, 5-4, on Feb. 9.
- Senior infielder Michael Ruffolo leads the team hitting .444 from the plate, which includes three RBI, three runs scored and one home run. Junior catcher Connor Ellefson leads the Hawks with five RBI on four hits, including one double.
- Senior pitcher Jacob Thigpen leads the team with 7.1 innings pitched. He holds an opposing batting average of .357 with two strikeouts and four earned runs allowed.
Player to Watch: Isaiah Grancorvitz
- Grancorvitz started 45 games at catcher during his junior season.
- He led BSU in total bases (65), hits (41), runs (27), walks (16), doubles (8), home runs (5) and slugging percentage (.427).
- Grancorvitz was second on the team in RBI (16), stolen bases (6) and on-base percentage (.360) while totaling a .989 fielding percentage.
- He recorded nine multi-hit games last season.
Pitcher to Watch: Jackson Back
- Back made nine appearances with seven starts on the mound last season.
- He allowed an opposing batting average of .364.
- Back totaled 33.1 innings with 23 strikeouts on the mound.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).