BASEBALL: BSU slip up snowballs into doubleheader losses

BEMIDJI -- The letdown of a last-inning loss trickled into Saturday's doubleheader finale on the Bemidji State baseball team. The Beavers let a 6-3 lead slip into a 7-6 loss against Minnesota Crookston at the BSU baseball field, and the Golden Ea...

BSU senior Koty Kissack (21) throws to first for the double play in the first inning against Minnesota Crookston in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday at BSU. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- The letdown of a last-inning loss trickled into Saturday’s doubleheader finale on the Bemidji State baseball team.

The Beavers let a 6-3 lead slip into a 7-6 loss against Minnesota Crookston at the BSU baseball field, and the Golden Eagles rode the momentum to a 5-0 encore win in game two.

“It’s tough. I know the wind was out of my sails,” Bemidji State head coach Tim Bellew said. “It’s tough to come back from that. … It’s just tough to have that emotion after you lose a game like that. It might have been a different story if we had won that first game, but it is what it is. It didn’t happen.”

The losses drop the Beavers to 6-34 overall on the season. Only the first game counted toward the conference standings on Saturday, but it sunk BSU to 5-22 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference ranks with a playoff berth out of reach.

“We’re sitting in dead last in the league, and I don’t think we’re that bad,” Bellew said. “We just don’t quite have that killer instinct when we have leads. We’re lacking a little bit: a big play, a big pitch, a big at-bat. We’re lacking there, and that’s what it takes to win.”


Bemidji State rocketed into a 4-0 lead in the first inning of game one. Matt Kummet started the offense with an RBI single, and then Kade Nelson and Drake Wawro plated runs on a fielder’s choice and an error, respectively. Caleb Carlson followed with an infield single to finish off the flurry.

UMC (25-18, 17-11 NSIC) answered with three runs in the second inning, but BSU got two back with Koty Kissack’s RBI bunt single in the third and Kummet’s solo home run in the fourth.

No one altered the 6-3 score until the top of the ninth, when Reed Hjelle picked up the first RBI of the rally on an infield hit. Brock Reller followed with a two-RBI single, and Ben Thoma brought in the eventual winning run on a two-out single to right.

In the bottom of the ninth, Bemidji State managed to put two runners on base with two outs. But when Jacob Carlson sent a fly ball out to right, Reller tracked it down for the game-ending catch.

“When it was first hit, I honestly thought we won the game,” Bellew said. “I thought it was going to go over the right fielder’s head and we were going to score two to win. Instead, he made a play.

“I don’t know that (the loss) was anything we did wrong. It’s what they did right. That’s what good teams do.”

The letdown carried into game two, where submarine-style pitcher Henry Pesch blanked the Beavers and allowed just two hits in a complete-game gem.

“Their kid on the mound was a little funky with the complete submarine (delivery),” Bellew said. “We just didn’t have any answers for it. The balls we did hit hard, they made about three really good plays. And that’s the ballgame.”


Three runs for Minnesota Crookston in the second, plus two more in the sixth, were more than enough to walk out with the 5-0 win to complete the sweep of the four-game series.

After the game, Bemidji State honored seniors Tommy Geisenhof, Alex Meyer, Jesse Palafox, Ben Bauer, Kissack and Wawro for their years in the program.

Bemidji State has a six-game road trip to end the season. First up is a Wednesday, May 1, doubleheader against Minot State in Minot, N.D., which starts at 1 p.m.

Minnesota Crookston 7, Bemidji State 6

UMC 030 000 004 -- 7-10-1

BSU 401 100 000 -- 6-13-1

WP: Nelson (5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)

LP: Geisenhof (1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K)


S: Grose (12)

Minnesota Crookston 5, Bemidji State 0

UMC 030 002 0 -- 5-10-0

BSU 000 000 0 -- 0-2-5

WP: Pesch (CG, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K)

LP: Webb (4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K)

Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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