Home runs from Ty Lundeen, Ben Corradi, and Hunter Brodina helped propel Bemidji baseball to a doubleheader sweep of Duluth East in 9-7 and 8-5 victories on Tuesday at the BSU Ballpark.
Game 1: Bemidji 9-7 Duluth East
The Lumberjacks built an 8-0 lead going into the sixth inning before holding on for a close final margin in the first game of the afternoon.
Four unearned runs scored in the bottom of the first inning for Bemidji, starting with a double steal by Ben Corradi and Caden Bolte that allowed the latter to reach home.
Windy conditions allowed for three consecutive fly balls to become RBI hits, which were supplied in order by Ethan Biehn, Cam Justice, and Dan Clusiau to open up a 4-0 advantage.
The Lumberjacks turned in a sensational play on the infield from Biehn at shortstop and Justice at first to deny the Greyhounds a baserunner and continue Lundeen’s excellent start on the mound.
Three more runs were knocked in by the home team in the bottom of the second, which opened with Peyton Neadeau sending a deep double off the wall in right field.
The lead had expanded to 6-0 by the time Bemidji used a baserunning pickle to plate another run just moments before the inning ended. Corradi was tagged out in a rundown after a pickoff throw to first, but not before Brodina scored from third during the ensuing chase.
Though Bemidji left the bases loaded to end the third inning, Ty Lundeen made the score 8-0 one frame later when he blasted off for a solo home run to left field.
The junior departed the mound after five scoreless frames and with a large lead intact, but Duluth East started to make inroads in the sixth thanks to a three-run shot to right field from Charlie Sutherland against new Bemidji pitcher Cam Justice.
Corradi answered in the bottom half of the inning by drilling a solo dinger to right field to increase the lead to 9-3.
Yet again however, the Greyhounds drew closer with their final chance in the seventh. With one run already home in the inning, Sutherland returned to the plate with two outs and uncorked another drive to right field for a second consecutive three-run home run that suddenly left Bemidji leading just 9-7.
Brodina was called upon to work a one-out save, which he promptly secured with a quick groundball out to wrap up the first game of the afternoon.
Corradi, Neadeau, and Will Zellman all posted two hits in the first game for the Lumberjacks, while Biehn drove in two runs in the victory. Lundeen’s five scoreless frames gave him the win on the mound, as he surrendered just three hits while walking one and striking out four.
Game 2: Bemidji 8-5 Duluth East
Another large late-game lead was threatened by Duluth East before Bemidji secured a sweep of the two matchups.
The Greyhounds took the lead in the opening inning with a two-out RBI double off Biehn by Dylan Manchester that scored Sutherland.
With runners on the corners and nobody out in the second, Biehn notched consecutive strikeouts before Lundeen saved at least one run with an tremendous catch on the run in center field to end the inning.
Bemidji’s bats had gone collectively quiet since the opening three innings of game one, but they kicked back into gear in the third inning of game two thanks to a double by Neadeau where he eventually ended up on third with help from a fielding error.
Neadeau would score on a sacrifice bunt from Parker Mistic to tie the game at one for the Lumberjacks, who would later get an RBI single from Corradi to take the lead.
Bemidji found another big scoring inning in the fifth when five runs came across the plate. Brodina followed Mistic’s leadoff single by drilling a line drive home run to right field for a 4-1 lead.
The runs kept coming when Justice followed Lundeen and Biehn’s consecutive singles with a bounding grounder for an RBI knock. Zellman then brought in two more by pounding a single that suddenly opened the lead up to 7-1.
Brodina relieved Biehn for an inning of relief in the sixth, leaving the bases loaded with a strikeout for the third out and a scoreless Duluth East frame. The Bemidji junior then reached on a bunt single before coming around to score on three wild pitches.
The Lumberjacks’ 8-1 lead was quickly threatened by Duluth East in the top of the seventh thanks to five consecutive hits to begin the inning. Consecutive RBI singles were followed by Manchester’s deep two-run double that suddenly left the score at 8-5 with nobody out.
Corradi quickly worked an infield pop fly for the first out before a 6-4-3 double play ended the game with Bemidji once more holding off a final-inning threat from the Greyhounds.
Brodina reached four times in the second game, going 3-for-3 with two runs batted in and three runs scored. Justice went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI, while Zellman tacked on two RBI of his own. Biehn took the victory on the mound, allowing one run on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts in five innings.
Bemidji (8-3) will return to the road on Thursday for a doubleheader at Grand Rapids beginning at 4pm.