BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Bemidji State University baseball will feature six newcomers as Interim Head Coach Matt Ellinghuysen announced its incoming class on National Signing Day. Beaver Baseball’s signees include three infielders, two catchers and one pitcher who will join the program prior to the 2023 season.
All student-athletes’ acceptances are contingent upon admission to BSU and compliance with NCAA rules, including certification by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Nick Ekstrum, a 5-foot-10-inch catcher from Chaska, Minn., is a letter winner in baseball at Chaska High School under Head Coach Craig Baumann. Ekstrum features an 80.4 catcher velocity, 86.4 infield velocity and 88.6 pull down velocity.
Ekstrum was born May 27, 2004 to Thomas and Shirleen Ekstrum. He plans to major in engineering technology at Bemidji State.
Luke Johnson, a 5-9 catcher from Mankato, Minn., is a letter winner in baseball at Mankato West High School under Head Coach Sam Stier. Johnson hit .320 from the plate as a junior and recorded a pop time of 1.95 seconds.
Johnson was born Jan. 23, 2004 to Paul and Cheryl Johnson. He is a member of the honor roll at MWHS and plans to major in exercise science at Bemidji State.
Lucas Pierce, a 6-1 left-handed pitcher from West Branch, Iowa, is a letter winner in baseball at West Branch High School under Head Coach Andy Lapel. Pierce was named All-River Valley Conference First Team and Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association All-District Second Team as a junior. He led the conference with a 1.06 ERA, a 0.85 WHIP, seven walks allowed, five earned runs allowed and 14 total runs allowed in 2021. Pierce also finished fourth in the RVC with 54 strikeouts, notching strikeouts on 44 percent of batters faced.
Pierce was born Aug. 21, 2003 to Brian and Shawn Pierce. He is a four-year member of the Honor Roll. Pierce’s cousin, Drake Wawro, played baseball at Bemidji State from 2016-19.
Tate Renning, a 6-3 infielder from Hutchinson, Minn., is a letter winner in baseball at Hutchinson High School under Head Coach Scott Renning. He is also a letter winner in football and hockey at HHS.
Renning was born April 24, 2003 to Scott and Abrah Renning. He is a member of the honor roll and National Honors Society, and plans to major in biology and minor in pre-optometry at Bemidji State. Renning’s father played baseball at the University of Louisville in 1992.
Jackson Schaffer, a 5-8 middle infielder from Hastings, Minn., is a letter winner in baseball at Hastings High School under Head Coach Ryan Stoffel. Schaffer was a Metro East All-Conference honorable mention and all-section selection as a junior and named a team captain.
Schaffer was born Jan. 27 to Scott and Bernadette Schaffer. He plans to major in sport management and exercise science at Bemidji State.
Jacob Smith, a 5-10 infielder from Walker, Minn., is a letter winner in baseball at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley High School under Head Coach Pat Richter. He is also a letter winner in basketball and football.
Smith was born Nov. 7, 2003 to Greg and Gina Smith. He is a member of the “A” Honor Roll at WHAHS and plans to major in political science at Bemidji State.
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).