BASEBALL: No place like home: Beavers earn first sweep in first home series
BEMIDJI -- If only for a day (for now), baseball has returned to town. The Bemidji State baseball team finally filled its own dugout on Wednesday, marking the first time the Beavers have been able to play on their home field this season. And, as ...
BEMIDJI -- If only for a day (for now), baseball has returned to town.
The Bemidji State baseball team finally filled its own dugout on Wednesday, marking the first time the Beavers have been able to play on their home field this season. And, as the icing on the cake, they topped Upper Iowa 2-1 and 8-5 for their first sweep of the year.
“Especially up here, any time you get any home games is a huge bonus. Playing here, you could tell the guys had a little more fire today,” BSU assistant coach Matt Ellinghuysen said. “I thought we did a really good job. I think this is probably the best we’ve honestly played all year.”
Though Bemidji State has been the home team on the scoreboard in Mankato, Winona and Sioux Falls, S.D., this spring, there’s no substitute for the BSU baseball field.
“You feel a lot more comfortable,” sophomore Wyatt White said. “You know what kind of lips are out here. You know where the ball is going to take some bad hops, where it’s going to carry a little bit more. You just know the field better.”
And in the first chance they got, the Beavers defended their home turf.
In game one, the Bemidji State grabbed a third-inning lead when Noah Boser scored on an RBI groundout from Isaiah Grancorvitz.
UIU knotted it up with a run in the sixth, however, but Kevin Smith and Jesse Palafox combined to hold the Peacocks (8-17, 5-15 NSIC) to one run over seven innings, which allowed the BSU bats a chance to win it at the plate.
White did just that, scoring Jacob Carlson from third with a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh.
“I got to a 2-0 count, and I knew he was going to throw me offspeed because there was a base open still,” White said. “I sat on a curveball, and he threw a curveball. I hit it to left field hard. I ran to first, got with the guys and celebrated.”
Bemidji State carried things over into game two.
The Beavers manufactured three runs apiece in the fourth and fifth innings -- none scoring on a base hit -- to assume a 7-4 lead in an offensive power struggle. A run-producing base hit then surfaced on a Kade Nelson RBI single in the eighth, and Travis Carruth silenced Upper Iowa in the ninth inning with the tying run at the plate.
“We pitched well, we played defense well and we had timely hits (in game one). The same goes for the second game,” Ellinghuysen said. “We grinded, we battled, we pitched well, hit well and played solid defense. … Our guys have earned everything they got today. They’ve worked for it.”
Wins have been hard to come by for BSU this year, as the sweep bumped up its record to 5-24 and 4-13 within Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play. So Wednesday’s wins were as sweet as they come.
“When you get in one of those spells when you start losing a lot, it’s tough to get out. But today we put everything together,” Ellinghuysen said. “Credit to our guys. As rough as it’s gotten -- obviously they’ve been frustrated, which is understandable -- they kept going, they kept pushing, they kept grinding.”
Weather permitting, Bemidji State has the chance to extend its newfound winning streak at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 13, against Southwest Minnesota State. And they the Beavers will have the home-field advantage while back on the BSU baseball field.
“Hopefully we can get on a winning roll,” said White, who tallied three RBIs in game two and four on the day. “Winning is just as contagious as losing. Once you start winning, you get a feel for it and start realizing how to do it every game.”
Bemidji State 2, Upper Iowa 1 (Game 1)
UIU 000 001 0 -- 1-6-2
BSU 001 000 1 -- 2-5-0
WP: Palafox (1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K)
LP: Snider (6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 7 BB, 5 K)
Bemidji State 8, Upper Iowa 5 (Game 2)
UIU 101 030 001 -- 5-13-1
BSU 100 330 01X -- 8-6-1
WP: Wells (5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K)
LP: Thiesse (3.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 0 K)