Four runs in the second inning put Bemidji ahead for good, and senior pitcher Ty Lundeen’s sterling complete-game effort on the mound helped the Jacks pull out a 5-3 win against Section 8AAAA foe St. Cloud in a weather-interrupted Senior Day on Tuesday at the BSU Ballpark.
The Jacks honored their eight senior players during pregame ceremonies, but had to respond to an early deficit when a second-inning error with two outs brought home the opening run of the game for the Crush.
Bemidji responded immediately in the bottom half of the inning, starting with an RBI single that Dan Clusiau pulled between first and second base.
The Jacks captured the lead on the next at-bat with a two-run double from catcher Ryan Loewe that carried into the left-center field gap.
Peyton Neadeau tacked on another run with an RBI single that brought home Loewe’s courtesy runner Owen Frazer to produce a 4-1 lead by the end of the frame.
The lead was maintained thanks to Lundeen’s sharp pitching and several outstanding plays in the outfield–most notably Will Zellmann’s diving grab in left field during the third inning.
With a Crush runner on third and two outs in the top of the fourth inning, the umpires called a halt to the game due to lightning spotted in the distance. After a wait of about 45 minutes due to more lightning causing a reset of the delay timer, the game resumed with Lundeen hoping to escape the jam. However, St. Cloud was gifted a run when the first pitch was popped up–and subsequently fell among a crowd of Lumberjack infielders–to bring the runner home.
Bemidji’s collective resumption of play only grew shakier in the fifth when the Crush plated another run to suddenly draw within one.
Needing a swing of momentum, the Lumberjacks found one on an opposite-field RBI single by Ben Corradi that gave the hosts a 5-3 lead at the end of five innings.
St. Cloud put a runner on second with two outs in the sixth, but Lundeen navigated the threat with a strikeout of Blake O’Hara to end the inning.
The Jacks’ senior pitcher entered the seventh with a small number of pitches remaining before reaching his daily maximum, but he quickly recorded two outs and then struck out Elian Mezquita–the final batter he could face before being removed from the game–to bring the contest to a dramatic close.
Lundeen finished the game allowing three runs–one earned–on just three hits with a single walk and six strikeouts, though he also hit three batters. At the plate, Loewe recorded two RBI while Clusiau, Neadeau, and Corradi also finished with a run batted in apiece. Neadeau also recorded three total hits.
Bemidji has won three straight to improve to 14-4 heading into its final gameday of the regular season. The Jacks will play two games in Brainerd on Thursday, starting with Andover at 1:30pm and then the host Warriors at 6:30 in the evening. Both games will be on The BUN Sportsradio 104.5 and Lumberjacks1 online, with pregame 15 minutes prior to each game.