Baseball Wins a Pair of Thrillers to Begin 2014 Season

Baseball Wins a Pair of Thrillers to Begin 2014 Season



The Buena Vista baseball team got the season off on the right foot Friday, by picking up a pair of thrilling one-run contests, including a 2-1 victory to begin the day against ninth-ranked St. Thomas.

The Beavers got a stellar pitching performance from their ace, Jon Ringblom in the opener with the Tommies, as the senior righthander went eight innings, scattering eight hits, allowing just the one earned run, while striking out eight and not walking a batter.

BVU got on the board first when senior Ryan Titman came through with an RBI single in the second inning to scoreWeston Foxx from second.

The Tommies evened things up at 1-1 with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the fourth inning before the Beavers got the lead right back with a run in the fifth. Tanner Truesdell's RBI single plated Neil Marshall from second.

St. Thomas, which was 30-7 a year ago, was held to just three hits over the final five innings and didn't have a runner reach third base during that stretch.

Ringblom worked around a two-out single in the eighth, and then junior Ian Grigsby, who came on to work the ninth, pitched around a two-out error to pick up his first career save.

Neil Marshall, making his first career start, finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk and a run scored, while also stealing a base.  Senior Joe Paletta and freshman Bryce Wessels also had hits for the Beavers, who were out-hit in the game, 8-6.

After a short break, BVU was back out on the field to take on UW-La Crosse in its final game of the day.

The Eagles jumped on BVU starter Jake Bjorkgren, who was making his first career start, with five runs (two earned) over the first two innings to take a 5-0 lead.

BVU slowly began to chip away at that lead, getting a run in the third on an RBI single from Brandon Wessels before Jeremy Lambert and Foxx added run-scoring singles in the fifth to make it a 5-3 contest.

That's the way the score stood until the eighth inning when the Beavers scored three times to take their first lead of the contest at 6-5.  Junior Alex Brown got the rally started with a single to left center.  Ryan Duncan came onto pinch run and moved up to second two batters later when Marshall walked.

Nick Schlecht brought BVU within a run with an RBI single just past a diving first basemen.  Brandon Wessels was then hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out before Truesdell came through with a sacrifice fly to center to tie things up at 5-5.

Both runners moved up on the fly ball and Schlecht would score when Paletta hit a ball past the pitcher that the second baseman couldn't come up with cleanly, allowing him to reach safely.

The Eagles, who went 21-21 last season, weren't going to go down quietly.  They would load the bases with one out, and freshman Jacob Hadaway would give the ball over to his brother, Lucas, who got a big strikeout for the second out.  Then, on a 1-1 pitch, UW-La Crosse would get the lead back at 7-6 with a sharp single to left.  Hadaway would then get his second strikeout of the inning to end the threat.

BVU got help from some sloppy defense in the bottom half to boost its rally.  After Foxx grounded out to start the inning, Duncan would reach safely on a throwing error from the shortstop and would reach second safely when the shortstop then threw wildly trying to get him out on a fielder's choice.  After Marshall walked to load the bases, Schlecht again came through in the clutch, working the count and drawing a walk to tie things up at 7-7.

Brandon Wessels then hit a grounder to second, but the throw home to try and force out Titman was in the dirt and not fielded cleanly by the Eagles, allowing the winning run to cross for BVU.

The Beavers, who totaled 12 singles in the contest, had four players finished with two hits.  Schlecht was one of those players, as he also added two RBI and scored once.  Titman also tallied two hits and stole a base.

Bjorkgren went six innings, allowing just two earned runs on eight hits, while walking one.  Jacob Hadaway then worked the next 2.1 innings, and was charged with two runs without allowing a hit.  He struck out four and walked three.  Lucas Hadaway was credited with the win, despite allowing the one base hit, and did strike out two.

The Beavers went 3-1 on the weekend and will be off until March 15-16 when they travel to Nebraska Wesleyan for a three-game weekend series.