VALLEY CITY, N.D. -- JT Patterson's fifth multi-home run game of the season led the No. 21 Bellevue University baseball team to a 26-5 victory over Valley City State University in Monday afternoon's North Star Athletic Association Championship Game at Charlie Brown Memorial Field.
#21 Bellevue: 43-14
Valley City State: 22-24
Recap: (1) Bellevue 26, (3) VCSU 5
Patterson's three-run bomb in the fourth inning put the Bruins ahead 7-4, and his grand slam in the fifth inning broke the game wide open – extending the lead to 14-5 as top-seeded Bellevue rolled to the conference title. The Bruin offense had been quiet all tournament, averaging just six runs per game, but erupted for 23 hits in the championship game.
Valley City State ends its season with a 21-24 overall record.
Valley City State struck first with a single run in the top of the second inning, recording three straight one-out singles. Hits by Kody Lane and Sal Avila put runners on first and third, and then Nathan Demarais blooped a soft single into center field to score Lane for a 1-0 lead. Bellevue starter Anthony Alvarado limited the damage with a strikeout for the second out, and then Avila was thrown out trying to steal third base.
The Bruins answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning, both of which were unearned after a pair of Viking errors. Stuart Eurich delivered the big blow with a two-out RBI triple to right field, scoring Austin Alexander to tie the game at 1-1. Eurich then scored on an error to put the Bruins ahead 2-1.
The Vikings regained the lead in the third inning after two hits and a walk loaded the bases with two outs. Kody Lane then delivered a bases-clearing triple deep down the right-field line, putting the Vikings ahead 4-2.
The Bruins tied the game right back in the bottom half of the inning. Two straight two-out hits and a walk loaded the bases and then Austin Alexander singled up the middle, scoring Tommy Hansen and Cody Banks to tie the game. VCSU starter Jesse Johnson prevented further damage with a strikeout to end the inning.
Patterson gave the Bruins the lead for good with his 23rd home run of the season, blasting a fourth-inning pitch over the right-field fence for three runs and a 7-4 lead.
Jorun Hamre's RBI single in the top of the fifth got one back for the Vikings, but Bellevue broke the game wide open in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Bruins erupted for 10 runs, including a grand slam by Patterson, as they opened up a 17-5 lead after five innings.
Anthony Alvarado (5-2) picked up the win for Bellevue University, pitching eight innings and scattering 10 hits and five runs. Alvarado walked just one and struck out five.
VCSU starter Jesse Johnson (2-3) took the loss, going four innings and allowing nine hits and six earned runs. He walked one and struck out three.
Patterson was 3-for-6 with three runs and seven RBIs to lead Bellevue's offense. His home run and RBI totals for the season now stand at 24 and 86, respectively, for the season. Both of those totals rank tops in BU history.
Wataru Kazama went 4-for-5 with two runs and four RBIs, and Stuart Eurich was 2-for-5 with three runs and four RBIs. Austin Alexander had three hits and two RBIs, while Riley Baasch and Kory Longaker each had two hits and two RBIs. The Bruins totaled 23 hits in the victory.
Kody Lane led the Viking offense, going 2-for-4 with a run and three RBIs. Jorun Hamre was 2-for-4 with a run and RBI, and Christian Peery finished 3-for-5 at the plate. VCSU had 10 total hits.
With the victory, Bellevue secures the North Star's automatic bid to the 2019 NAIA National Tournament. The Bruins will find out their opponent and Opening Round location when the entire field is announced on Thursday, May 9 at 4 p.m. on the NAIA Facebook Page.
- The title was Bellevue's 15th conference championship dating back to their time in the MCAC.
- For BU, it was the third NSAA Title in the last four seasons and the fourth conference tournament title in the last five years.
- Bellevue will be making their ninth-straight NAIA Opening Round Appearance and 22nd NAIA National Tournament Appearance.
- The 26 runs scored by Bellevue are the second-most in a conference tournament game (27 vs. College of the Ozarks, 2000) and third-most in any post-season game (29 vs. Jamestown, 2004).