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BASEBALL: Solid pitching, potent offense carry BSU to sweep

BSU’s Tyler Nelson slides wide of the attempted tag by Concordia-St. Paul catcher David Henke to score during BSU’s 2-0 victory in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader. The Beavers completed the sweep by taking a 13-1 win in the nightcap. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer1 / 3
Bemidji State pitcher Tyler Saeugling throws a pitch during the first game of their doubleheader against Concordia-St. Paul Friday afternoon. Saeugling threw six-plus innings in BSU's 2-0 win. Saeugling wears a protective mask to protect his jaw. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer2 / 3
BSU catcher Zach Braun (top) tags out Concordia-St. Paul's Elliott Powell at the plate in the third inning of the first game of their doubleheader Friday afternoon.3 / 3

BEMIDJI — After six innings of shutdown pitching Friday afternoon against Concordia-St. Paul, Bemidji State starter Tyler Saeugling was just three outs away from his first complete game shutout of the season.

He had been efficient all game, scattering just six hits over six innings and keeping a normally-potent Golden Bears offense off the scoreboard.

However, one mistake cost the junior righty a shot at going the distance.

Concordia left fielder Drew Turk knocked an 0-2 pitch through a gap to the right side of the infield to kick off the seventh inning.

“I was mad at myself,” Saeugling said. “I had him 0-2, then I gave him three pitches he could hit and you can’t do that. He made me pay.”

BSU head coach Tim Bellew went to his bullpen to finish off the game and Drake Huggans got the job done.

Huggans struck out the next three Concordia-SP hitters in order — all looking — and the Beavers held on to win the first game of their NSIC doubleheader 2-0. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Beavers.

In Friday’s rematch BSU made sure there was no chance of a Golden Bears comeback in the final inning as Mark Kosmalski tossed a 6-hit shutout and the Bemidji State offense erupted for 13 runs in six at-bats. The result was a 13-1 victory and a sweep of the twinbill.

“We felt like that last inning if anybody got on base, we’d go to Drake,” Bellew said of the decision to make the switch in the seventh inning of the opener. “But Tyler pitched as well as you want. He shut out a good-hitting team for six innings. But the leadoff guy on and I figured we got a hoss in the bullpen that can shut guys down.”

Huggans earned his sixth save of the season while Saeugling improved to 3-4.

The Beavers needed just two runs to support Saeugling’s third win of the spring.

Zach Braun’s two-out single to left field in the first inning scored Tyler Nelson to make it 1-0, then Joey Hanowski doubled to left in the third to score Nelson from first.

“We didn’t have a lot to show for it but we hit a lot of balls hard in that game,” Bellew said. “We got two clutch two-out hits. If you win two-out battles on defense, on the mound and at the plate, typically you’re going to win. That was huge.”

Saeugling said he struggled at the beginning of the game but managed to use his breaking pitches to great effect as the game went on.

“In the beginning of the game I couldn’t get ahead but finally I kinda settled down,” he said. “I started getting ahead in the count. My slider was working real well and finally my curveball started working near the end of the game.”

Saeugling only walked one in the game and did a good job of limiting the damage when he allowed runners on base.

In the third inning, the BSU defense bailed him out with two out and two on. Concordia’s Tyler Krekling singled to left field and the Concordia-SP coaches sent Elliot Powell home from second base on the play.

Beavers’ third baseman Hanowski threw him out with a perfect relay throw from left fielder Logan Ridel. By the time catcher Braun caught the ball Powell was out by 10 feet.

The Golden Bears also threatened in the sixth inning, with two out and runners at the corners, but Saeugling forced Eric Fasnacht to fly out to end the threat.

Tyler Brekke took the tough-luck loss for the Golden Bears (18-9, 10-7 NSIC), going all six innings and giving up two runs on just four hits; he fell to 2-2 on the season.

BSU cruises in nightcap

Friday’s rematch was scheduled for nine innings but BSU’s dominance at the plate and on the mound enabled the home team to win via the 10-run rule after seven innings.

Mark Kosmalski handled BSU’s mound duties and limited the Golden Eagles to six singles and one unearned run. He struck out five and walked only one during his complete-game performance.

The Beavers wasted no time kick-starting their offense as they tagged Concordia-SP starting pitcher Zach Rengel for five runs in the first inning. Singles by Tyler Nelson, Joey Hanowski and Zach Braun loaded the bases and a run scored when Bo Schmitz’ grounder was booted.

After Cole Bjorge forced Hanowski at the plate Dylan Webb cleared the bases with a double down the left field line.

Webb eventually scored when Terry Hadden’s fly ball to center was misplayed.

BSU scored single runs in the second and third innings and, after the visitors tallied a solo run in the top of the fourth, the Beavers settled the issue with five more runs in the home half of the stanza.

Hanowski ripped a 2-run single to center to highlight the rally and Zach Braun contributed an RBI double.

Nelson had a memorable game as he had four hits in as many at-bats and scored five runs. Hanowski was 3-for-3 with a run and two RBI while Braun drove home a pair of teammates and scored a run after belting three hits in four at-bats.

Friday’s sweep upped BSU’s record to 15-14 overall and 9-7 in NSIC action. Concordia-SP fell to 18-10 and 10-9.

Weather permitting the teams will play another doubleheader today at the BSU diamond starting at noon.

First Game

BSU 2, Concordia-SP 0

C-SP 000 000 0 — 0 7 0

BSU 101 000 X — 2 4 0

Brekke (L) and Henke. K-1, BB-1.

Saeugling (W), Huggans (7, S) and Braun. K-7, BB-1.

Top Hitters

C-SP: Dalton 2-2, BB; Krekling 1-3; Beike 1-3.

BSU: Hanowski 1-3, 2B, RBI; Braun 1-3, RBI; Nelson 1-2, BB, 2 R.

Second Game

BSU 13, Concordia-SP 1

C-SP 000 100 0 — 1 6 3

BSU 511 501 x - 13 15 0

Rengel (L), Kivi (4), Fredericks (4) and Beilke. K-3, BB-5

Kosmalski (W) and Schmitz. K-5, BB-1

Top Hitters

C-SP: Poppitz 2-3

BSU; Nelson 4-4, 5 R; A.Braun 3-4, 2 RBI, 1 R; Hanowski 3-3, 2 RBI, 1 R

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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