BASEBALL: SMSU sweeps BSU in doubleheader
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A doubleheader loss against Southwest Minnesota State Thursday afternoon dropped the Bemidji State baseball team out of playoff position with four games left in the regular season.
SMSU (23-20, 14-13 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference), beat the Beavers 4-1 in the first game of and 13-2 in the second game. The games were moved from SMSU's home field in Marshall to Karras Park, on the campus of Augustana in Sioux Falls.
The sweep puts the Mustangs a half-game ahead of the Beavers for eighth place. BSU (19-20, 13-13 NSIC) is now in ninth.
The top eight teams in the conference make the NSIC playoffs, scheduled for May 7-10 in Sioux Falls.
The Beavers host Minot State in a pair of doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday to determine their playoff fate.
On Thursday, BSU kept it close in the first game thanks to a strong pitching performance from Tyler Saeugling, who gave up four runs on seven hits in six innings.
The teams went into the bottom of the sixth tied at 1-1 but the Mustangs' Sam Haas broke the tie with an RBI double that turned out to be the game-winner.
Ryan Engels followed two batters later with a key two-out, two-run single to extend the lead to 4-1.
The Beavers couldn't score in the top of the seventh and lost the game 4-1.
BSU scored its lone run in the fifth inning on Tyler Nelson's triple to left center that scored Logan Ridel.
SMSU starter Steven Wehr gave up the one run on seven BSU hits and one walk. Joey Hanowski went 2-for-3 to lead the Beavers at the plate.
In game two, however, it was all SMSU from the start.
The Mustangs scored a run in the first inning off BSU starter Mike Hanson and proceeded to score five runs on three hits and two walks off Hanson, who lasted just three innings and took the loss.
SMSU scored three in the third, two apiece in the fourth and fifth and five in the sixth to dominate the game.
The Beavers scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings off Mustangs starter Joe Axelson, who picked up the win.
Hanowski and Tyler Nelson each went 2-for-3 in the game for BSU, who finished with seven hits.
SMSU finished game two with 10 hits as Kontz finished 3 for 4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Korger and Rients each finished with two hits, while Rients tied a career-high with six RBIs.
SMSU 4, BSU 1
BSU 000 010 0 -- 1 7 2
SMSU 100 003 X -- 4 7 1
BSU: Saeugling (L) and Braun.
SMSU: Wehr (W) and Neale.
SMSU 13, BSU 2
BSU 000 011 0 -- 2 7 1
SMSU 103 225 X -- 13 10 1
BSU: Hanson (L), Heisick (4), Benge (5), Oslin (6) and Schmitz.
SMSU: Axelson (W), Ecalbarger (7) and Neale.