Beavers pick up first win of ‘07
Monday, April 9, 2007
Beavers pick up first win of ‘07

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Sophomore Mara Johnson (INF, Bemidji, Minn.) hit a home run in each of Bemidji State University’s three games on Monday at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Crossover in St. Paul, Minn., but the Beavers were able to win just once. The victory came in the nightcap, 3-1 over Wayne State, while BSU lost 3-2 to Winona State in the opener and 8-2 against Southwest Minnesota State.

Johnson, who transfered to Bemidji State from Minnesota Duluth after her freshman campaign, helped BSU break a nine-game losing streak in the last game of the day. The Beavers also got breakout performances from pitcher Ali Willard (So., Hutchinson, Minn.) on the mound and Ashley Leopold (Fr., DH, Afton, Minn.), who also hit a solo home run, against Wayne State.

Willard shut down the Wildcats, hurling a complete game and giving up just one run on three hits while striking out eight batters. Johnson, Leopold, and leadoff hitter Bridget Smith (So., SS, Burnsville, Minn.) each punched out two hits in the game. Johnson’s home run was her fourth of the season, while Leopold’s was her first dinger of the year.

Earlier in the day, the Beavers weren’t as fortunate. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in its opening game against Winona State, BSU with a two-run homer from Johnson, the Beavers’ offense went cold. From the second inning on BSU collected just three more hits and struck out 15 times in the game against Winona State’s Kristen Fossell.

On the mound for BSU, Kristen Paine (Jr., Chisholm, Minn.) kept the Warrior offense in check allowing just three runs on six hits in a complete-game outing. Paine’s record dropped to 0-4 on the season.

BSU managed just five hits against Fossell, including extra-base hits from Johnson and right fielder Jamie Docken (Jr., Owatonna, Minn.) who doubled and later scored on Johnson’s four-bagger.

Against Southwest Minnesota State in its second game of the day, BSU had a disastrous second inning in the field and couldn’t find enough offense to offset the damage. SMSU scored eight runs in the second frame and held BSU to just two runs for an 8-2 victory.

The Mustang offense got to BSU pitcher Lindsey Imhof (Sr., Littlefork, Minn.) early and often, managing five hits and drawing three walks to pile up eight runs and put the pressure on Bemidji State’s offense.

BSU got a solo home run from Johnson in the fourth and moved Kasey Callison (So., INF, Eagle River, Alaska) around to score with some small ball in the fifth for its two runs in the game.

Willard entered the game on the mound before Imhof recorded an out in the second and finished the last five innings of the game. She gave up zero runs and just three hits, while striking out three Mustang hitters.

The Beavers record moves to 1-9 on the season and 1-2 in the NSIC.

Next up for Bemidji State is the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs on Wednesday, April 11, with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. Weather pending, this game marks the home opener for BSU. The Beavers are 2-2 in their last four home openers including a 1-0 win over Mayville State last season.

Notes: Willard leads the pitching staff with a 3.81 earned run average, while Paine leads the staff with four complete games... Leopold played in her first three games of the season going 2-for-5 at the plate.... Johnson is leading the team with a .357 batting average, four home runs and eight RBI.