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BASEBALL: Beavers get walk-off, comeback win over Winona in NSIC tournament

Bemidji State’s Jaryd Marks throws a pitch in a game earlier this season. Marks started against Winona State in their NSIC tournament game Thursday night in St. Cloud. Marks pitched eight innings then delivered a walk-off base hit single in the bottom of the ninth to help the Beavers advance, 5-4. Jack Hittinger | Bemidji Pioneer

ST. CLOUD — Weather has been screwing with Bemidji State’s baseball schedule all season.

So when the Beavers had their Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament game against Winona State pushed back from the afternoon until later Thursday night, it took them awhile to get going.

But as they’ve done a lot this season, the Beavers came back strong at the end.

Starting pitcher Jaryd Marks delivered a bases-loaded, two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Beavers a 5-4 walk-off victory over Winona State.

The eighth-seeded Beavers overcame an early 4-0 deficit to chip away at Winona’s lead and come back for the upset.

The Beavers (24-22) are set to take on second-seeded Minnesota State Mankato at 3:30 p.m. — weather permitting — today for a spot in Saturday’s championship round.

The Mavericks (33-8) defeated Wayne State 7-0 in their playoff game.

Bemidji State manufactured most of its runs in the game, but caught a break in the bottom of the ninth when WSU reliever Scott Freidburger loaded the bases with nobody out.

Riley Hirsch walked, then Chad Hanson doubled, forcing Freidburger to walk Zach Braun to load the bases.

With the infield in, Trevor Purvis and Logan Kalis both reached on a fielders’ choice but got a pair of outs.

That set things up for Marks, who laced a single to right field, scoring Braun and ending the game.

Marks, who started on the mound for the Beavers, struggled in the early innings but settled down late.

He gave up five hits and walked six in eight innings of work, but all four Winona runs came in the early innings.

The Warriors (23-16) scored three times in the top of the second. Marks walked the first two batters of the inning (Cody Strang and Kyle Sill) before Brett Young took advantage, homering to score them both and make it 3-0.

The Warriors added another run in the fourth inning when Ben Sebesta tripled and scored on Jonathan Nelson’s sacrifice fly.

The Beavers finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth, manufacturing a run after Joey Hanowski reached on an error. He came around the bases to score on a single, sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly.

In the sixth inning, Hanowski hit a single down the line to score Kalis and Marks, cutting WSU’s lead to 4-3.

BSU finally tied it in the seventh, again manufacturing a run.

Hanson singled, advanced to second on Braun’s groundout, took third on a wild pitch and scored the game-tying run on Purvis’ single.

Jack Hegarty pitched the ninth inning and got the win for the Beavers.

Brandon Verthien started and took the loss for Winona State, going six innings and giving up three runs on four hits and three walks.

In all BSU managed to get eight hits off Warriors pitching; Hanowski went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored to lead the way while Marks also went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.

Winona 030 010 000 – 4 5 3

Bemidji 000 012 101 – 5 8 0

Verthein, Lundquist (7), Freidburger (L, 9) and Sill. K-4, BB-5.

Marks, Hegarty (W, 9) and Hirsch. K-5, BB-6.

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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