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Legion baseball: Rutledge, Hirt pitch Bemidji to sweep of Alexandria

Collin Rutledge scores for the Bemidji Legion in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s first game against Alexandra when pitcher Danny Kuhn misplayed a squeeze bunt and tossed the relay to the plate over the catcher’s head.1 / 2
Ryan Hirt of the Bemidji Legion baseball team takes an extra base as the throw to third eluded Alexandria third baseman Travis Kruege. Hirt went from first to third on a single by Connor McNallan and eventually scored Bemidji’s first run in a 4-1 victory. Making the call is umpire Brian Schultz.2 / 2

BEMIDJI -- It took Bemidji four innings to solve the riddle of Alexandria right-handed pitcher Danny Kuhn but the Legion baseball team's bats eventually came to life. Ryan Hirt's walk to open the home fifth sparked Bemidji to four runs in its final two at-bats and that late surge gave the Legion a 4-1 victory in the opening game of Wednesday's doubleheader at the BSU diamond.

In the nightcap Hirt stepped onto the mound and allowed only two runs and one hit over four innings. Cody Anderson relieved in the fifth and completed the one-hitter as Bemidji coasted to a 7-3 victory.

In Wednesday's first game, Bemidji (2-4) did not have a baserunner during the first four innings as Kuhn had the Legion offense hitting balls to the infield. Erik Fitzgerald's liner to center and Hirt's fly ball to left were the lone balls off the Legion's bats to reach the outfield during the first four stanzas.

Collin Rutledge fared almost as well on the Bemidji mound as he blanked Alexandria during the first three innings. The visitors, however, turned a double and a single into a 1-0 lead in the upper fourth.

That run proved to be the lone blemish on Rutledge's outing as the lefty finished with a four-hitter. He struck out 10 and walked only two.

Trailing 1-0 in the lower fifth Bemidji finally generated some offense. After Hirt opened the stanza by drawing a walk, Connor McNallan ripped a single to left. Hirt raced to third on the play and tied the game two batters later when Dan Johnson delivered a sacrifice fly to left field.

The Legion continued its attack in the sixth as three hits, two errors and two sacrifice bunts combined for three runs.

Parker Lucas' single ignited the eventual winning rally and he raced to second courtesy of James Hendricks' sacrifice bunt. All hands were safe when Erik Fitzgerald's grounder to short was booted and Rutledge's single to right plated the lead runner.

Hirt followed with an RBI single and Bemidji's final run crossed the plate when McNallan's squeeze bunt scored Rutledge.

Bemidji's offense managed only four hits -- singles by Rutledge, Hirt, McNallan and Lucas.

Second Game

The visitors took a 1-0 lead in the first inning but the Legion countered with three runs in the lower second. Tony Geerdes singled to begin the frame and, after Morgan walked, Lucas belted an RBI double. Hendricks capped the inning with a 2-run single.

The Legion iced the win with four runs in the fifth. Hendricks was hit by a pitch to start the rally and he raced to third with the help of a stolen base and a wild throw.

Rutledge followed with an RBI grounder and, after Hirt walked, McNallan plated him with a double. The inning continued when Geerdes reached on an error and Lucas Goins completed the rally with a 2-run single.

Bemidji returns to action today with a doubleheader at Fergus Falls.

First Game

Alexandria 000 100 0 - 1 4 2

Bemidji 000 013 x - 4 4 0

Kuhn (L), Parker (6) and Hemmerbock. K-2, BB-1

Rutledge (W) and Morgan. K-10, BB-2

Second Game

Alexandria 101 001 0 - 3 2 1

Bemidji 030 040 x - 7 5 1

Thompson (L), Parker (5) and Hemmelbock. K-5, BB-4

Hirt (W), Anderson (5, S) and Morgan. K-5, BB-5

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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