Beavers open conference play with six games in three days
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Beavers open conference play with six games in three days

The Bemidji State University softball team will begin its Northern Sun Intercollegiate softball slate this week with three doubleheaders. To kick off the conference season, BSU will travel to the Irish Sports Dome in Rosemount, Minn. to square off against the University of Minnesota Crookston. Friday, the Beavers will play the first two of four games in Savage, Minn. on the weekend against Concordia University- St. Paul before wrapping up a six-games-in-three-days stretch Saturday against Minnesota State University, Mankato. All six games will be played indoors.

Last Time Out
The Beavers have not seen the field in 10 days, since wrapping up spring training with two exhibition wins. In its last games that counted, Bemidji State improved to 6-11 on the season with back-to-back shutout wins over Gallaudet University of Washington D.C. BSU won 22-0 and 8-0 on March 17 and finished with a 4-5 ledger in spring training. The Beavers were supposed to begin league play Tuesday in Crookston, but their doubleheader against the Golden Eagles was moved to Thursday. 

About the Beavers
Bemidji State got off to a 2-6 season after going 1-3 at both the NSIC Crossover in Minneapolis and the Kelly Laas Invite in St. Cloud, Minn. The Beavers sandwiched four consecutive losses between a 2-1 first say and a 2-0 final day in spring training to finish 4-5. Overall in nonconference action, BSU went 6-11 after going 8-13 against non-NSIC foes en route to a 10-37 final record in 2012. The Beavers will picked to finish 15th in the league’s coaches poll before the season.

Bemidji State has been paced by junior outfield Nicole Dupay’s .462 batting average. Dupay, one of two Beavers to start in all 17 games this season (senior Crystal Bowen being the other), has 24 hits, eight of which are extra-base knocks. Senior Molly Arola got off to a strong start after joining the squad following BSU’s women’s hockey season. The Walker, Minn. native racked up nine hits, eight runs, and eight RBI in 25 at-bats in spring training.

In the pitching circle, fellow hockey team member Allie Duellman has started 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA. Leading the way from a pitching standpoint, however, has been senior hurler Kelsey Saralampi, who is 4-5 with a 3.76 ERA in a team-high 11 appearances. She also has 36 strikeout and a 1.90 strike-to-walk ratio. 

About the Golden Eagles
Minnesota Crookston begins NSIC play with 1-10 mark after traveling to Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia for spring training. The Golden Eagles picked up their lone 2013 win to this point with a 5-4 win over Union College (Ky.) March 17.

Brooke Timmins leads UMC at the plate, entering Thursday hitting .389 on the season. Senior Sara Wiedmaier is batting .259 with two runs scored and three runs batted in while Ashley Manusos is tops on the team with three runs scored and six RBIs. Junior pitcher Cateline Fafard has been Minnesota Crookston’s top pitcher at 0-2 with a 3.82 ERA. 

About the Golden Bears
Selected to finish fifth in the league, Concordia-St. Paul has gotten off to a solid start to its 2013 campaign, going 15-5 in non-league play before salvaging a split with preseason favorite Minnesota State with a 3-2 win this week.

The Golden Bears have two players hitting over .400 though 22 games this season, Brynn Larsen and Alicia Meiser. At .407, Meiser leads the team with 24 hits, while Larsen has team-best .411-average and three-homerun marks. Jamie Fleischhacker has driven in 16 runs so far this season. In the circle, Ashley Kluever has gone 8-4 with a 2.56 ERA, while Stephanie Kappes is 6.2 with an ERA of 2.87. 

About the Mavericks
Like CSP, Minnesota State is 16-6 on the season with a 1-1 mark in NSIC play. The Mavericks, coming off a 49-10 conference championship season in 2012, were tabbed to repeat as champion by the league’s coaches. MSU returned 10 players from last year’s squad.

Minnesota State junior Lindsay Erickson, the NSIC Preseason Player of the Year, has backed up her preseason honor by racking up the numbers offensively. Erickson has gotten on base in 55.6 percent of her at bats with a .492 average, 23 RBIs, and 18 runs. Her 30 hits in 20 games include four home runs and four doubles. Pitching-wise, Courtney McKelvogue has impressed with a 9-4 record, 1.93 ERA, and 66 strikeouts in 76.1 innings. 

On Deck for BSU
After this weekend, Bemidji State is slated to pick up play Tuesday at NSIC newcomer Minot State University. At the end of the week, the Beavers will have their home opener against Wayne State College Saturday before finishing the week against conference heavyweight Augustana College again at home. As always, game times and locations are subject to change.