Bruins salvage split against UJ

Matt Evans was 4-for-7 at the dish on Friday against Jamestown
Matt Evans was 4-for-7 at the dish on Friday against Jamestown

WEST FARGO, N.D. -- The No. 5 Bellevue University baseball team suffered an 8-5 setback in game one but responded for a 2-0 win in game two to salvage a double-header split against the University of Jamestown on Friday afternoon in North Star Athletic Association action at Elmwood Park.

The loss in the opener snapped the Bruins' school-record 27-game win streak (tied with the 2004 team) but by earning the split BU now sits at 35-7 (13-1 NSAA) on the year. The Jimmies, meanwhile, see their record move to 30-12 (11-3 NSAA) for the season.

Bellevue saw their two-game lead in the North Star standings dip to a single game courtesy of a Mayville State double-header sweep over Dickinson State in other action.

The Bruins and Jimmies resume their series tomorrow with another twin-bill at Elmwood Park in West Fargo, N.D. First pitch is slated for noon.

Game One: Jamestown 8, Bellevue 5

Quinn Irey's two-out, three-run home capped a five-run ninth inning for Jamestown as the Jimmies ended Bellevue's win streak at 27 with an 8-5 come-from-behind victory.

Bellevue plated the game's first run in the top half of the opening frame on a balk but would have to wait until the seventh before striking again.

While Jerome Byndloss gave BU hitters fits over the next five innings, Jamestown scored three times to grab a 3-1 lead headed to the seventh inning.

The Bruins struck for three in the seventh to regain a one-run lead with a Matt Evans safety squeeze breaking a 3-3 tie.

Bellevue's lead remained 4-3 until the ninth when Todd Nicks provided a run on a safety squeeze of his own to chase home courtesy runner Brandon Salmon.

Jamestown put a pair of runners on with just one off to chase Bruin starter Ben McKendall. The Jimmies wasted no time picking up their first run of the inning with a bunt from Nico Kelly to score Taichi Sasaki and make it 5-4. Tyler Ludlow followed with a two-out, run-scoring single to tie the game and bring Irey to the dish for the walk-off a three-run home run to left.

Byndloss didn't factor in the decision but kept his club in the game by tossing 6.2 quality innings in which he allowed just three earned runs (four in total) on eight hits and struck out 10.

Bruins starter Ben McKendall turned in another strong performance on the bump logging 8.1 innings. He was charged with allowing five runs – just two earned – on eight hits while striking out seven against just one walk.

Max Dwyer (L, 1-1) who had been automatic out of the 'pen took the loss after yielding the three-run home run to Irey.

Brandon Radmacher (W, 1-0) earned the win, striking out the only batter he faced in his one-third of an inning of relief.

Game Two: Bellevue 2, Jamestown 0

Colten Barnes (W, 6-2) dropped his ERA to 3.38 on the year as he fired a complete game, four-hit shutout to lead Bellevue to a 2-0 win and a split with Jamestown. The junior southpaw struck out seven batters and didn't allow a walk and has not allowed more than one run in any of his last five starts.

Both teams put up matching zeroes on the scoreboard through the game's first four innings with BU holding a slender 4-2 edge in the hit column at that point.

Bellevue broke through in the fifth. With two outs and a runner on base, Diego Iribarren doubled to the left-center gap to score Hunter Kelley from first for a 1-0 BU lead. The next batter up, Miles Campbell, followed with a single to left that score Iribarren who was moving on contact.

Jamestown threatened in the home half of the fifth, putting runners on second and third with just one out, but Barnes struck out pinch-hitter Mark Kane and induced an infield pop-up off the bat of Kory Wolden to end the threat.

Neither team registered a base-runner the rest of the way as the Bruins held on for the win. In doing so the Bruins avoided losing back-to-back conference games to unranked opposition for the first time since 2012.

Matt Evans, Derik Bontempo, and Kelly each had two-hit performances for Bellevue as the Bruins out-hit Jamestown by a count of 8-4.

Brad Bennett (L, 4-3) was solid in his own right for the Jimmies but UJ couldn't muster any offense. Bennett took the tough luck loss despite limiting a potent Bruin offense to just two runs on seven hits.