BASEBALL: Sam Kalberer streak hits 30, Beavers send off seniors with wild win

Sam Kalberer's first-inning walk clinched the first known 30-game on-base streak in Bemidji State program history.

051221.S.BP.BSUBASE Sam Kalberer LEAD.JPG
Bemidji State junior Sam Kalberer jogs to first base after a first-inning walk during a game against Minnesota Duluth on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at the BSU baseball field. Kalberer extended his program-record on-base streak to 30 games with the free pass. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- After he watched ball four in the first inning on Saturday, Sam Kalberer trotted triumphantly down the line. He turned toward the home dugout, quickly flashed a three and a zero with his fingers, and safety touched first base like he has in every game since March 27.

For the first time in recorded Bemidji State history, a Beaver had a 30-game on-base streak.

“It’s the payoff for a lot of hard work,” Kalberer said of the milestone. “Whether it’s the end result or the work you put in in total, it’s nice to be rewarded with something like getting your name in a record book at the No. 1 spot.”

As for the game itself, Kalberer insisted that it wasn’t about him. The season finale at the BSU baseball field saw Bemidji State defeat Minnesota Duluth 11-10 in a slugfest that doubled as an appropriate senior send-off.

“Today, it was about these seniors and sending them off the right way,” said Kalberer, a junior from Tucson, Ariz. “They put in a lot of work the last five years, four years, three years, whatever it is. We’re all brothers here.”


Following a roller coaster disguised as nine innings, the seniors were honored on the field and lingered for a final huddle, postgame hugs and, yes, maybe even a few tears.

“We were trying to do everything we could to send them off on the right note,” Kalberer said. “I’m glad we were able to do that. We owed it to them.”

Offensively, that attitude rang true throughout the lineup. BSU racked up 14 hits, and six batters had multi-hit days. Kalberer finished 0-for-4 after his walk, which snapped a 13-game hitting streak that is tied for the ninth-longest in program history, but he had plenty of bats to back him up.

Isaiah Grancorvitz blasted a towering three-run home run as part of Bemidji State’s four-run first inning. The Bulldogs (17-23, 14-20 NSIC) came back with six runs in the second, but Carter Simon brought the firepower in the third, launching another three-run homer to help build an 8-6 edge.

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Bemidji State freshman Carter Simon (18) celebrates with teammates after hitting a three-run home run in the fourth inning of a game against Minnesota Duluth on Saturday, May 8, 2021, at the BSU baseball field. (Micah Friez / Bemidji Pioneer)

“Baseball is a very big mix of individual and team sports, obviously,” Kalberer said. “When your guys are able to pick you up when you’re not having the best day, and you’re able to win, it takes a lot of pressure off.”

Tom Keohen tacked on an RBI single in the fourth inning for a 9-6 advantage, but the lead dried up by the eighth inning as UMD scored twice in the sixth and once more in the eighth for a 9-9 deadlock.


But it didn’t stay tied for long.

Parker Borg belted a clutch two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth, handing the Beavers an 11-9 lead. Minnesota Duluth didn’t go quietly, scoring once and even getting the tying and go-ahead runs on base, but Will Lavin struck out the final batter to big cheers on the field and a strong ovation from the stands.

“We obviously sent the seniors off right,” Kalberer said, “and we’ve got a little bit of momentum going into next year.”

Simon and Borg each tallied three hits and three RBIs, while Grancorvitz also knocked in three during his two-hit day. Lavin picked up the win from the mound, pitching the final four innings of relief and allowing two runs off four hits while striking out a pair.

BSU finishes the season 8-32 overall and 7-28 in conference play, the program’s 18th losing season in the past 19 years.

“(The offseason) gives us a lot of time in order to reflect and get better at things,” Kalberer said. “Now, people have a little experience under their belt. They’re going to be able to work towards getting better and getting the results we wanted and didn’t get this year.”

Bemidji State 11, Minnesota Duluth 10


UMD 060 002 011 -- 10-12-1

BSU 404 100 02X -- 11-14-2

WP: Lavin (4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)

LP: Blaschko (1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 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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