The Buena Vista baseball team was back in action on Friday afternoon to kick-off both its 2013 home schedule, while opening Iowa Conference play at the same time, hosting Luther College. The Norse (5-5, 1-1 IIAC) took the opener, 4-1, before the Beavers scored four times in the seventh of game two en route to a 5-2 triumph.
The Norse scored single runs in both the second and third innings of the opener off of BVU starter Jon Ringblom (Omaha, Neb./Millard North), who had allowed just two total runs over his first 19 innings to start the year. They then got a pair of key insurance runs in the fifth to push it to 4-0.
The Beavers got on the board in the bottom of the fifth, when junior Joe Paletta (Omaha, Neb./Millard South) sent a hard ground ball down the third base line and out of the reach of a diving third baseman, scoring Nick Schlecht (Omaha, Neb./Skutt) from second. BVU had the bases loaded after Jeremy Lambert (Alta, Iowa/Alta) followed with a walk, but the Norse, who then made a pitching change, got a pop out to end the threat.
The two teams combined to leave 18 men on base in the contest, including 10 by Luther.
Six different players turned in one hit for the Beavers, who were outhit, 13-6, in the contest.
Ringblom suffered his first loss of the year after being charged with all four runs on 11 hits over 4.2 innings of work. He did run his season strikeout total to 24 with five more in today’s contest, while also walking three.
Lucas Hadaway (Sheldahl, Iowa/North Polk) came on in relief and worked the final 2.1 innings, allowing just two hits and also striking out five.
Game two was a pitcher’s duel throughout with the two teams combining for just two runs and three hits over the first six innings.
BVU took the early 1-0 lead in the first when sophomore Dillon Plath (Omaha, Neb./Burke) tripled to deep right field with one out and scored when Paletta followed with a sacrifice fly.
Luther took advantage of a leadoff walk in the third to tie things up at 1-1 with a sacrifice fly for the first out. BVU got out of the inning after doubling up a runner at first after shortstop Ryan Titman (Boone, Iowa/Boone) went out to shallow left field to catch a pop up before throwing back to first for the third out.
Luther got the lead back in the seventh after the leadoff man walked, followed by a hit-by-pitch. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to third, a sharp single to center plated a run. Luther threatened to do more damage after a walk loaded the bases, but Griffin Hatten (Bancroft, Iowa/North Sentral Kossuth), who relieved starter Scott Harris (Dallas Center, Iowa/Dallas Center-Grimes) after that walk, got a big 4-6-3 double play to end the frame.
Harris was charged with two runs on two hits over a career-best 6.1 innings of work, while striking out a career-high six and walking three.
BVU came roaring right back in the bottom half of the seventh, as five of the first six batters of the inning singled, including three straight RBI base knocks from senior Ryan Scheetz (Omaha, Neb./Millard North), sophomore Jesse Munsterman (St. Peter, Minn./St. Peter) and Titman. Plath added the fourth RBI single of the inning to make it a 5-2 margin.
After hitting the first batter he saw in the eighth, Hatten again induced another 4-6-3 double play ball to erase the runner before striking out the next hitter to end the inning.
Sophomore Jake Bijorkgren (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale) came on to pitch the ninth and struck out the first two and got a ground out to third to end the game. It’s his fourth save of the year, moving him into a tie for seventh on the program’s all-time single season list. The school record is eight set two years ago by James Stone.
Plath, along with Brandon Wessels (Palmer, Iowa/Manson NW Webster) tallied two of the team’s nine hits in the contest, as the Beavers out-hit the Norse, 9-2.
Buena Vista is now 7-5 overall (1-1 IIAC) and will play two more games against the Norse tomorrow afternoon beginning at 1:00pm.
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.