DULUTH, MN – The Bethany Lutheran College baseball team swept through the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) tournament to claim their second consecutive title. The #2 seed Vikings opened the tournament with a win over #3 Northwestern and then followed up with a win over #4 UW-Superior. Today, on championship Saturday, the Vikings again defeated #4 UW-Superior by a score of 7-2. The win gives Bethany Lutheran an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional for the second time in program history, making it back to back appearances for the Vikings.
The Vikings took a 1-0 lead in the second after Jake LaBerge doubled up the middle to score Conner Side. LaBerge finished 2-4 in the game with two RBIs. The Vikings added three more runs in the fourth thanks in part to a triple from Jared Gesell which scored Conner Side and Brady Schuster. Gessell then scored the third run of the inning on a passed ball to make the score 4-0.
Adam Fjerstad made his second appearance of the tournament and pitched 4.1 innings, giving up three hits and one run with four strikeouts. Logan Nissen then came in to finish the game, pitching 4.2 innings with three hits, one run, and two strikeouts to earn the win.
After a Yellowjacket run in the top of the fifth, the Vikings added three more runs over the sixth and seventh to shut the door. BLC collected twelve hits in the game, led by Ross Beumer who went 3-4. Jake LaBerge and Jarred Gesell each chipped in two RBIs and Conner Side scored three runs.
The win gives the Vikings an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional for the second consecutive season. The Vikings are now 23-16 overall on the season and will carry a five game win-streak into the regional. The Vikings offense has been hot during the streak as they are averaging 8.6 runs per game.
The 2019 NCAA Regional playoff field will be announced in a selection show on Monday, May 13. The field consists of 58 teams. Forty bids will be awarded to conference automatic qualifiers and the national selection committee then decides who gets the 18 remaining at-large bids.