BASEBALL: Beavers rally in game two to split doubleheader with Concordia
BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji State baseball team needed something positive in game two of their NSIC doubleheader with Concordia-St. Paul.
Anyone looking at Concordia's linescore for game one could have surmised just how badly the Beavers wanted to erase that game from their collective memory.
The Golden Bears scored 23 runs on 24 hits in a 23-9 victory Saturday afternoon at the BSU baseball diamond.
"It was pretty ugly," BSU head coach Tim Bellew said. "They hit the baseball and did a lot of good stuff. You can't take anything away from that, that's a really good team. We got down 9-2 early and couldn't climb back."
The Golden Bears teed off on five different BSU pitchers in seven innings; after the teams each scored two runs in the first inning Concordia scored seven runs in the second inning and chased BSU starter Derek Masburg before he could get out of the second.
The game got worse for BSU from there, but game two was a different story.
In what had been a back-and-forth game, Cole Bjorge's one-out double down the first-base line gave BSU the 6-5 lead in the eighth inning and the Beavers hung on to win by the same score.
"That first game was tough," Bjorge said. "But you gotta come back and erase the memory. We battled with this team and took advantage of our opportunities in the second game."
The win gave BSU the victory in their four game series after the Beavers swept Friday's doubleheader.
The Beavers (16-15, 10-8 NSIC) took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning of game two but the Golden Bears (18-10, 10-8 NSIC) scored a run in the fourth then took a 3-2 lead in the fifth with a pair of singles off BSU starter Terry Hadden.
The Bears added another run in the sixth inning -- Ryan Poppitz singled off BSU reliever Nate Heisick -- but BSU tied the game in the bottom half of the sixth with BSU catcher Bo Schmitz's two-run single off Concordia hurler Josh Lenz.
Schmitz went 2-for-4 in game two with three RBIs, helping spark the Beavers following the game one rout.
"We definitely needed to get one today," Schmitz said. "We swept yesterday but after that meeting we needed to come back. It was hard to get energized after that game but we did."
But the Golden Bears would take the lead once more in the eighth inning before Bjorge's heroics.
Concordia shortstop Alex Laporte doubled to deep centerfield off BSU reliever Drake Huggans after the wind carried the ball deeper than Beaver center fielder Chad Hanson was expecting. Laporte reached third on a wild pitch then scored on Tyler Krekling's suicide squeeze.
In their half of the eighth inning, though, BSU took advantage of Concordia control issues.
Kevin Woebke walked the first two hitters in the inning -- Joey Hanowski and Zach Braun -- and was relieved by submariner Colton Petron.
Petron struck out Schmitz but gave Bjorge a gift fastball that he whalloped up the first base line for a standup double, scoring Hanowski and Braun.
"We needed someone to step up and Cole did," Schmitz said. "That was huge for us."
BSU threatened more in the inning, with Bjorge reaching third, but the Golden Bears got out of the inning.
Huggans retired the first two batters then let the next two reach base before he forced Laporte to ground out, ending the game and earning the victory in relief.
"That's a good weekend," Bellew said. "It was going to be almost impossible to sweep all four from a team like that. But coming back from that first game, our kids really showed some character and some battle."
BSU is scheduled to host Minnesota-Crookston Wednesday in another NSIC doubleheader but Bellew said the game might be moved to Tuesday due to the weather forecast.
Concordia 23, Bemidji State 9
CU 272 830 1 -- 23 24 0
BSU 201 013 2 -- 9 15 2
CU: Suzuki (W), Lindstrom (6) and Beilke. K-4, BB-2.
BSU: Masberg (L), Katz (2), Oslin (4), Benge (5), Brinkman (7) and Braun, Tuholsky (6). K-5, BB-6.
CU: Beilke 5-5, HR, 2B, 7 RBI; Poppitz 4-6, 3 RBI, HR, 2B; Dalton 3-5, RBI, 2B, HR.
BSU: Nelson 2-3 3B; Mastantuono 2-2, 2 RBI, 2B; Hanowski 3-3, 4 RBI, 2 2B; Schmitz 2-3, 2 RBI, 2B.
Bemidji State 6, Concordia 5
CU 000 121 010 -- 5 13 2
BSU 200 002 02x -- 6 7 2
CU: Lenz, Woebke (L, 7); Petron (8) and Beilke. K-9, BB-3.
BSU: Hadden, Heisick (5), Huggans (W, 7) and Schmitz. K-4, BB-4.
CU: Poppitz 2-4, 2B, RBI BB; Beilke 2-5, RBI; Bargfrede 3-4, RBI, BB.
BSU: Schmitz 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI, 2B; Nelson 2-4, 2 RBI; Bjorge 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI.