Duluth hands Mudcats double setback
The Duluth Xpress handed the Bemidji Mudcats a double jolt in their hopes of an Arrowhead League championship, sweeping a double header 4-1 and 8-3 Saturday at the BSU diamond.
It lifted Duluth to 4-0 in league play and dropped Bemidji to 5-2.
The Cats are back in action Monday at Nashwauk, with lefty Keenan Humphrey set for his first start.
With neither Paul Fenner nor Tyler Norland available for mound duty, Bemidji expected to have problems with Duluth.
But in the long run it was their lack of offense that did them in.
Jake Nystrom set down the Cats on four hits in the opener.
Jake Snyder took a two hitter into the final inning of the nightcap before yielding the three Bemidji runs.
Only two of the 10 Mudcats' hits went for extra bases.
Dan Bauer matched Nystrom pitch for pitch in the opener, allowing only two hits through the first five innings.
The Cats took their only lead in the third when Simon Anderson bounced a single through the left side, was sacrificed to second and scored on Kyle Figgins' single up the middle.
Bemidji gave that run back in the fourth. Tanner Viola singled and advanced on a ground out.
Jeff Adams then out legged a single to deep short. But when the throw back to third, trying to trap Viola went wild, the Xpress right fielder scored.
The game was decided in the sixth when a walk and four singles sent home three runs.
Matt Stasch worked a scoreless seventh.
Bemidji stranded runners in all but the sixth inning, leaving two aboard in the second and fourth and the bases loaded in the fifth.
Duluth had only six singles with Viola and Adams getting two.
Nystrom fanned six and walked three.
Bauer's defeat was his first.
Bemidji was never in the second game as Doug Peterson struggled from the start, leaving after five allowing five runs and 11 hits.
The Xpress had 15 hits, stranding runners in every at bat.
They scored single runs in the second, third and fourth and two in the fifth for a 5-0 lead.
Stasch allowed three more in the seventh.
Snyder allowed singles in the first and third but was breezing until the seventh.
Then Greg Skerik doubled and Brian Murphy singled him home.
Younger brother Kevin Murphy walked and Andrew Hengel's single scored Brian Murphy.
After a strikeout, Bauer singled to plate Kevin Murphy. But Hengel was thrown out at the plate trying to follow him home to end the game.
Andy Manos and Tom Juberian had three hits for Duluth. Viola and Rejean Carlson had two.
Bauer had two of the six Bemidji hits. Snyder fanned three and walked four.
Peterson's loss was his third in four decisions.
Nystrom and Jazierski
Bauer (0-1), Stasch (7) and Clark
Mudcats 000-000-3---3-- 6--2
Snyder and Jazierski
Peterson (1-3), Stasch (6) and Klaers