Bemidji junior Ty Lundeen belted a two-out, walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Lumberjacks to a 4-3 victory over Grand Rapids before the Thunderhawks captured game two 5-2 in a baseball doubleheader on Thursday at the BSU Ballpark.
Game 1: Bemidji 4-3 Grand Rapids (F/8)
The doubleheader had originally been scheduled to take place in Grand Rapids, but was moved to Bemidji on the day of due to stormy weather in the Grand Rapids area. Lundeen’s solo shot on a 2-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the eighth gave Bemidji the victory in an opener that had started as a classic pitcher’s duel between the Lumberjacks’ Dan Clusiau and the Thunderhawks’ Myles Gunderson.
The two pitchers combined to allow just one hit between them in the first four innings, with Clusiau powering in strikeouts and Gunderson mixing pitches to great effect. The Bemidji junior struck out the side in each of the first two innings, needing only 10 pitches to accomplish the feat in the second.
Grand Rapids broke through for its first hit–and baserunner–in the fourth inning and forced 30 pitches out of Clusiau, but could not take advantage of a significant scoring threat and then saw the southpaw record his 12th strikeout to keep the game scoreless in the top of the fifth.
It took until the bottom of the fifth for the Lumberjacks to finally pick up a hit–an liner from Cam Justice that opened the inning. A bunt single and sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third for Peyton Neadeau, who brought in Justice’s courtesy runner Caden Bolte with a squeeze bunt on the infield.
Parker Mistic followed suit with a bunt single of his own that allowed Will Zellman to race home and give Bemidji a 2-0 edge through five innings.
The Thunderhawks answered back in the sixth inning against Hunter Brodina, plating three runs to go in front 3-2.
Lundeen reached base to begin the bottom of the sixth and looked to have a chance to score after an errant throw to first by Gunderson attempting to retire Ethan Biehn. However, a strong throw home from right field foul ground left Lundeen out at home.
Biehn’s advancement to third on the play set up a sacrifice fly from Justice that brought Biehn in for the tying run.
Both teams worked quickly through the seventh and Brodina retired the Thunderhawks in order in the top of the eighth. A groundball double play left Bemidji with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and hitter Ben Corradi in need of help returning to the dugout after an injury on the swing.
But Lundeen would send the Lumberjacks home with the game one victory on the next at bat thanks to his first-ever walk-off home run.
Brodina worked the final three innings in relief for the victory on the mound, striking out three while allowing three runs on three hits.
Game 2: Grand Rapids 5-2 Bemidji
The Lumberjacks mustered just two hits against Thunderhawks starter Easton Sjostrand and two relievers and five combined runs in the fourth and fifth innings from Grand Rapids helped them take home a split of the doubleheader.
Peyton Neadeau’s pitching was a match for the starting work of Sjostrand during the first three innings and then included a fine defensive play on the mound in the fourth.
Grand Rapids was once again the first team to find a hit in the game, getting an RBI double from Kyle Henke to go ahead 1-0 in the fourth before plating another run later in the inning.
Lundeen followed his game-one heroics with Bemidji’s first hit of game two, but the Jacks ultimately saw a double play groundout end their threat in the fourth.
Neadeau surrendered three more runs in the fifth frame on three hits and an error, but bounced back with an important strikeout that started a run of three consecutive outs to leave Bemidji down 5-0 going into the bottom of the fifth.
A leadoff single from Zellman set the stage for him to score later on Mistic’s sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Despite drawing four walks in the seventh–including a bases-loaded walk by Lundeen to bring the deficit to 5-2–the Lumberjacks saw Justice ground out to first to end a late threat and leave the games split for the afternoon.
Bemidji (9-4) will wrap up the week with a Senior Day game against Sartell at BSU this afternoon at 4:30pm. Pregame will be at 4:15pm on KBUN+ 100.1 and Lumberjacks2 at kbunsportsradio.com.