Back on the diamond for the first time since June 2019, Bemidji baseball made an emphatic reintroduction with 10-0 and 9-4 victories over Moorhead in a doubleheader Friday afternoon at the BSU Ballpark.
Game 1: Bemidji 10-0 Moorhead (F/6)
Propelled by brilliant pitching from starter Isaiah Biehn and Brandon Lussier in relief, the Lumberjacks were aided by five Moorhead errors and a five-run fourth inning to cruise to a 10-run victory in a shortened first game.
While the bats took time to get going, Biehn was locked in from the start on the mound. The Bemidji senior permitted just one baserunner in the first via a walk before striking out the side in the top of second inning.
Fellow senior Josh Nyberg plated Bemidji’s first run with an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning, scoring Grant Declusin from second after he had singled and stolen a base earlier.
The lead grew in the third when Lussier, JD Kondos, and Aaron Heger all reached base to open the inning. An ensuing sacrifice fly to right field from Ben Corradi was enough to plate Lussier and double the lead.
Kondos would later score on a throwing error from Moorhead catcher Kai Weigel checking on him down at third to give Biehn a 3-0 lead going into the top of the fourth. Despite allowing two baserunners to start the inning, the hurler sat down all of Moorhead’s middle of the order via strikeout.
Bemidji’s offense exploded for five runs in the bottom half of the inning to put the game out of reach. An RBI double from Lussier was followed by a bunt RBI by Kondos that triggered a fielding error and plated another run to increase the lead to 6-0.
Heger added some fireworks with an RBI triple to score Kondos, then raced in on a wild pitch that left Bemidji’s lead at 8-0 by the end of the fourth.
Nyberg contributed two notable plays in the late innings, first turning an impressive double play from first base to second on a sliding stop in the fifth that helped aid Lussier in relief on the mound.
He then closed out the game with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth to score Corradi to complete a 10-run rule victory for the Lumberjacks in the opener.
Biehn finished with 10 strikeouts in four scoreless innings with just one hit and two walks surrendered. Lussier closed the game out with just a hit and walk allowed while striking out three.
At the plate, Biehn, Lussier, and Kondos all tallied two hits, while Lussier, Kondos, and Heger scored twice. Nyberg also brought in two runs while going 1-for-3.
Game 2: Bemidji 9-4 Moorhead
An early two-run deficit was quickly overturned by a five-run second inning to help the Lumberjacks complete a sweep of the Spuds.
Starting the second game on the mound, Heger found himself in trouble in a 41-pitch first inning where he walked four batters while giving up only one hit. But a groundout RBI with the bases loaded and a baserunning mistake with two outs limited the Spuds to just two runs.
Bemidji got rolling with a massive second inning that started with a two-out single and steal from Nyberg before Ethan Biehn poked an RBI single to the shallow outfield to score him.
The next three runs from the Lumberjacks all followed the same formula, with a steal from the baserunner followed by an RBI hit from the batter. Isaiah Biehn plated his brother in that very manner, then stole a base before Lussier brought him home on another single.
A steal from Lussier set him up to score on Kondos’ RBI double, leading to a second triple of the day from Heger that rounded off a five-run frame that was entirely accomplished with two outs.
The Biehn brothers combined to pick up another run in the fourth inning, with Ethan reaching second on an error and stolen base and Isaiah bringing him home with a single to stretch the lead to 6-2.
Isaiah would eventually come around to score on a sacrifice fly from Heger, who had by now found his form on the mound as well. He retired the final 12 batters of his outing, including striking out the side in the top of the fifth on his way to exiting with a 7-2 lead.
Single runs from the Lumberjacks in the fifth and sixth innings provided further cushion against a two-run top of the sixth from Moorhead to preserve the season-opening sweep.
Heger took the win by allowing just the two runs on one hit with four walks and five strikeouts over five innings. He helped his own cause at the plate by going 2-for-3 in game two with two runs knocked in. Isaiah Biehn (3 RBI), Lussier, Kondos, and Nyberg each totaled two hits, while Ethan Biehn joined his brother in scoring twice.
The Lumberjacks will stay home at the BSU Ballpark this week with single games against Brainerd on Tuesday and St. Cloud Tech on Thursday. Both single games will begin at 4:30pm and can be heard on the Lumberjack Radio Network.