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BASEBALL: BSU rallies to sweep doubleheader in home openers

BEMIDJI — A pair of pitchers making their first starts of the season combined to give the BSU baseball team a major boost in the Beavers’ home opener.

Freshman Derek Masberg threw a complete game 1-hitter in BSU’s 2-1 win over Wayne State, then junior Mike Hanson struggled early but settled down as the Beavers completed the NSIC doubleheader sweep with a 7-3 victory.

“We don’t quit,” BSU head coach Tim Bellew said. “We just fight and scrap. Wayne State is an awful good baseball team, so that’s two really quality wins.

The Beavers (13-10, 7-3 NSIC) came from behind to win both games, including the opener.

Wayne (15-13, 8-6 NSIC) took an early 1-0 lead when Skye O’Neil’s double scored Nick McIntee.

Masberg, making his first start of the season after breaking his finger six weeks ago, has walked McIntee to start the inning. He settled down after giving up the run and got two more outs to end the damage there.

First baseman Dylan Webb picked up his pitcher in the bottom half of the second, cranking a two-run home run to left field off Wildcats starter John Roberts that scored Bo Schmitz to make it 2-1.

“Webby came in and singlehandedly put us ahead in that game,” said Masberg, thankful for the run support. It makes it a lot easier on us pitchers.”

Masberg gave up the lone hit to O’Neil then didn’t allow another one the rest of the way. He struck out six and walked four in the seven-inning game.

“It’s awesome to finally get out here in front of the home crowd in the home opener,” he said. “And we got two wins. Couldn’t be any better.”

In the second game the Beavers fell behind early. Michael Herman doubled in the first inning off starter Hanson, scoring Zach Leighton. In third inning the Wildcats scored two runs to make it 3-0 — including another double from CJ Nolen that scored Leighton.

Hanson, a Cass Lake-Bena graduate, said catcher Schmitz helped him settle down.

“He saw my curveball was working very well so we worked together on that,” Hanson said. “It worked well against hitters and I was able to get some guys out.”

After giving up three runs on five hits — and an error — in the first inning, Hanson said it was the offense that helped him get going again.

After the rough top of the third inning, the BSU bats came alive, plating four runs on three hits to take the 4-3 lead with a combination of walks, singles and sacrifice plays.

Chad Hansen and Tyler Nelson put the Beavers on the board with a pair of singles, then Joey Hanowski grounded out to second to score Hanson and tie the game at 3-3.

Zac Braun’s lineout to left scored Nelson and put BSU on top for good.

“When your offense puts up seven runs that always helps you,” Hanson said. ”Wayne’s a good team. We’ve struggled against them in the past but we have a lot of faith in each other. We knew our hitting was coming and it did today.”

The Beavers scored three more runs in the fourth inning to give Hanson a bigger cushion. One odd play scored two runs when Nelson hit a check-swing grounder in front of the catcher. Logan Ridel raced home and scored when starting pitcher Spencer Morris threw to first base.

The first baseman dropped the ball, which allowed Ben Boser to score from second.

Hanson was thrown out trying to go from first to third, but the damage was done.

“We pitched well today, we played good defense and we scrapped,” Bellew said. “You saw that play where we scored two runs on that poorly hit ball in front of the plate... we have kids that are athletic, can run a little bit, they create problems for the other team.”

Those two innings were all the offense BSU would need.

Hanson retired the side in order in the fourth then managed to get out of the fifth unscated after walking a pair of batters.

Nate Heisick pitched four-innings of one-hit ball to earn the save and secure the doubleheader sweep.

“We played well, and played with confidence,” Masberg said of the doubleheader sweep. “We’re starting to play good ball now. It’s fun to win. we’re starting to get going. I hope we can continue doing this, because it’s fun.”

The Beavers will look to continue their five-game winning streak this weekend when they’ll host Winona State in a pair of NSIC doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday.

Game 1 Bemidji State 2, Wayne State 1 WSC 010 000 0 — 1 1 0

BSU 020 000 X — 2 7 0

WSC: Roberts (L), Kim (6) and Kreft. K-9, BB-2.

BSU: Masberg (W) and Braun. K-6, BB-4.

Game 2 Bemidji State 7, Wayne State 3 WSC 102 000 000 — 3 6 1

BSU 003 400 00X — 7 11 2

WSC: Morris (L), Schultz (4), Ragen (5), Everett (6), Faulkner (7), Zweck (8) and Anderson. K-4. BB-3.

BSU: Hanson (W), Heisick (5, S) and Schmitz. K-7, BB-4.

Jack Hittinger

Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.

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