The Buena Vista baseball team returned to action on Sunday afternoon for the first time since March 4 and split a non-conference road doubleheader at Nebraska Wesleyan. The Beavers took the opener, 1-0, before the Prairie Wolves edged BVU, 7-5, in the finale.
Game one was a pitcher’s duel from the start, as the two teams combined for only nine total hits, including one extra-base knock.
The game was scoreless until the sixth when senior Ryan Scheetz (Omaha, Neb./Millard North) was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame. Freshman Ryan Duncan (Iowa City, Iowa/Iowa City High) then came on to pinch run and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt from junior Jeremy Lambert (Alta, Iowa/Alta). A balk then moved Duncan to third before junior Joe Paletta (Omaha, Neb./Millard South) continued his torrid start to the year by singling threw the right side for his team-leading fifth RBI of the year.
Sophomore Jesse Munsterman (St. Peter, Minn./St. Peter) had a pair of singles for BVU, which tallied just six hits. Senior Neil Eddie (Owatonna, Minn./Owatonna) doubled with two outs in the second for the game’s only two-bagger and his first of the year.
Junior Jon Ringblom (Omaha, Neb./Millard North) gave the Beavers a stellar outing on the hill, going the distance for his third career complete-game shutout. He allowed just three singles and struck out 10. The only threat the Prairie Wolves had all game came in the first when they loaded the bases with two outs. After the first two struck out, a pair of hit-by-pitches sandwiched around a single put runners on each base, and then Ringblom struck out his third batter of the inning to end the inning.
NWU jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the finale, including a two-out rally in the first which plated two of those runs. After the Beavers turned a double-play to erase a lead-off single, the Prairie Wolves took advantage of a hit batter and a single by later scoring both runs on wild pitches.
Scheetz got the rally started for BVU in the fourth, singling to right center with one out before moving to third one batter later when Paletta doubled to left center. Scheetz would score on a dropped fly ball by the right fielder which also moved Paletta to third. Eddie capped the scoring by droving home Paletta with a sacrifice fly to right, pulling BVU back within a run.
The Prairie Wolves got both runs back in the fifth to make it 5-2 before the Beavers fought all the way back with three runs in the sixth, including four straight singles with one out. Paletta was right in the middle of the action with an RBI single to drive home the first run before Lambert later followed with an RBI of his own. Brandon Wessels (Palmer, Iowa/Manson NW Webster) knocked in the tying run with a line-out to center.
NWU then took advantage of a passed ball on a drop third strike to lead off the bottom of the sixth, which also included a throwing error. A wild pitch pushed him to third before he scored on a single to left. After a strikeout, the Prairie Wolves then made it a two-run advantage with an RBI double. Sophomore Jake Bjorkgren (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale), who came on in relief to start the inning, got his second strikeout and a line-out to end the frame.
Scheetz, Paletta and Lambert all finished 2-for-3 at the plate to help lead BVU offensively, with Scheetz and Paletta also scoring twice. Paletta is now 12-for-20 to start the year and has a slugging percentage right at .750.
Senior Reggie Kock (Breda, Iowa/Ar-We-Va) got the start on the mound and worked the first 1.1 innings. He was charged with two runs on three hits, while walking one.
Sophomore Scott Harris (Grimes, Iowa/Dallas Center-Grimes) took over and pitched the next 2.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits, while striking out five. Griffen Hatten (Bancroft, Iowa/North Sentral Kossuth) worked the fifth, allowing a hit and walk, while striking out two before Bjorkgren pitched the sixth.
Buena Vista is now 3-2 overall on the year and gets set to play five games in Tucson, Ariz., as part of its Spring Break trip. First up is Pomona-Pitzer next Saturday, March 23. The junior varsity will also play a pair of games while on the trip.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.