SMSU BASEBALL: Minot State defeats SMSU twice behind a pair of late-game rallies

MINOT, N.D. – The Southwest Minnesota State University baseball team dropped a pair of games to defending conference champion Minot State on Friday afternoon in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play at Corbett Field.

Minot State used a pair of late-game rallies in both games to pull away and earn the sweep while improving to 25-12 overall, 18-6 NSIC. SMSU is now 6-21, 5-17 NSIC. The two games, along with today’s series finale, was scheduled to be played in Marshall but was moved due to poor field conditions. The two teams will play today with a single game at 12:30 p.m.

In Game 1, the Beavers jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first highlighted by a two-run home run to build a 3-0 advantage.

SMSU cut into the deficit in the fourth as Connor Johnson singled and later scored on an RBI single by Jayden Fleck. Tanner Strommen singled and Jake Hendricks walked to load the bases before Ben Heichel scored Fleck on a fielder’s choice to make the score 3-2.

The Beavers used a big two-out rally to extend the lead in the fifth putting together three straight hits to score a pair of runs and make the score 5-2. MISU added an unearned run in the sixth and then put the game away with a four-run seventh inning.

John Bezdicek (1-4) pitched the first six innings and allowed six runs (four earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts.

Strommen led SMSU’s six-hit offense with a pair of hits.

In Game 2, MISU hit a two-run homer in the third inning to build a 2-0 lead, but was held in check for most of the game by SMSU starter Cole Petersen (1-6). The senior lefty tossed eight-plus innings and allowed just two earned runs on five hits.

MISU made the score 3-0 in the eighth inning using an SMSU error to score an unearned run. The Mustangs, which were held to one hit in the game’s first six innings by Beaver starting pitcher Zach Newman, finally broke through in the eighth inning. Heichel reached base to start the inning via an error and later scored on a fielding error by the MISU left fielder following a base hit by Spencer Rudnik. Following two groundouts, another MISU error allowed Rudnik to score and cut the Beavers lead to 3-2.

MISU added two big insurance runs in the ninth without the aid of a single hit. SMSU pitching allowed two walks and hit two more batters which helped push the MISU lead to 5-2.

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