SOFTBALL: Beaver offense held in check as SMSU sweeps Bemidji State

The Beavers fell a hit or two shy of two wins on Friday, instead suffering 6-5 and 3-1 losses to Southwest Minnesota State.

040721.S.BP.BSUSOFT Lexi Derrick.jpg
Bemidji State senior Lexi Derrick (15) hits a double in the first game of a doubleheader against Southwest Minnesota State on Friday, April 2, 2021, at the BSU softball field. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- Hitting is easy when it’s contagious, but the Bemidji State softball team is looking for solutions when it’s not quite that simple.

“It’s just someone who wants to step up and do it. It takes action,” head coach Brittany Gomez-Olson said. “It takes somebody action-wise to step up and keep it going.”

The Beavers fell a hit or two shy of two wins on Friday, instead suffering 6-5 and 3-1 losses to Southwest Minnesota State at the BSU softball field.

“You can talk about (successful hitting) all you want,” Gomez-Olson said, “but unless somebody steps up and does that job, I’m not sure how well it would get done.”

Bemidji State’s bats did come to life in game one. After a 3-0 deficit, Lexi Derrick stepped up in the bottom of the third with a two-run double to get the Beavers (5-13, 1-3 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) within a run.


The Mustangs (12-6, 3-1 NSIC) jumped back out to a 5-2 edge with two more runs a half inning later, but Sami Dullum then launched a three-run home run in the fifth to tie the game at 5-all. Dulum’s blast came immediately after Lisa Kossan and Kora Martin started the inning with back-to-back singles.

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The Beavers celebrate with senior Sami Dullum (5) after she hit a home run against Southwest Minnesota State on Friday, April 2, 2021, at the BSU softball field. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

“We hadn’t seen that in a little while, us getting people on and then scoring them,” Gomez-Olson said. “That was a win for us, actually scoring some people once we got them on. We just need to keep it going then, too, and being confident in ourselves that we can get it done on that side of things.”

SMSU had the final say, however, as Jillian Noel doubled in the game-winning run in the top of the sixth. BSU went down in order over the next two frames to finish with the loss.

That quiet theme carried over into game two, as Bemidji State was retired quickly for much of the afternoon. The Beavers finished with just three hits, none of which came in the same inning, and Southwest Minnesota State built a 3-0 advantage through six innings.

“It’s hard when we don’t get a chain reaction,” Gomez-Olson said. “We get a hit here and there, but it’s not right after each other. Hard for us to really get those runs in at that time, but we put ourselves in that position.”

Mustang pitcher Shelby Bloemendaal had retired 11 of the past 12 batters before Ashley Herold was hit by a pitch with one out in the seventh inning. Maddy McCann came in to pinch run, and things got interesting when Stephi Dullum singled her in and put runners on the corners. Yet the spark was squashed for good once Alison Schak struck out looking and Lizzie Schwenn struck out swinging to end the threat.


Kaidron McClafferty was stuck with the loss in the circle despite spinning a complete game, allowing three runs on six hits and zero walks with four strikeouts.

Stella Dolan took the loss in game one, throwing four innings in relief, also allowing three runs on six hits.

At the plate, Stephi Dullum, Sami Dullum, Kossan, Martin and Derrick all led the way with two hits apiece on the afternoon. Sami Dullum had a team-best three RBIs.

BSU won’t have long to focus on their shortcomings, though. Bemidji State will wrap up a six-game homestand with a noon doubleheader against Sioux Falls on Saturday, April 2.

“I think for the players, they push it away rather quickly,” Gomez-Olson said of the losses. “… They learn from their at-bats, they get better from it and then they forget it if it’s something that needs to be forgotten.”

SMSU 6, Bemidji State 5

SMSU 021 201 0 -- 6-14-0


BSU 002 030 0 -- 5-9-2

WP: Cull (5 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

LP: Dolan (4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K)

S: Christians (1)

SMSU 3, Bemidji State 1

SMSU 110 100 0 -- 3-6-2

BSU 000 000 1 -- 1-3-0


WP: Bloemendaal (6.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)

LP: McClafferty (CG, 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)

S: Christians (2)

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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