Junior Weston Foxx (Elkhorn, Neb./Elkhorn) went 3-for-5 with a big three-run triple and two runs scored, while fellow junior Joe Paletta (Omaha, Neb./Millard South) added a game-high four base hits and one RBI, to help lead the offensive attack for the Buena Vista baseball team on Sunday night, as the Beavers held on to win 8-7 against North Park University (0-4). The game was the season-opener for BVU.
The Vikings got on the board first, getting a two-out, two-run single off starter Jon Ringblom (Omaha, Neb./Millard North) in the third for a 2-0 lead.
BVU came back with a big five-run fifth inning to take its first lead of the year at 5-2. Paletta got the rally started by leading off the frame with a double down the left field line. He came around to score two batters later when Brandon Wessels (Palmer, Iowa/Manson Northwest Webster), who missed all of last season with an injury, followed with a double of his own. He finished the contest with a career-best three hits. Nick Schlecht (Omaha, Neb./Skutt) walked and Dillon Plath (Omaha, Neb./Burke) singled to load the bases, setting up Foxx’s big bases clearing three-bagger.
North Park, who won 32 games a year ago, including a second straight CCIW title and an NCAA appearance, would claw its way back in the sixth, posting a three-spot on the Beavers to even things up at 5-5. The Vikings took advantage of a two-out error from BVU by getting a two-run triple and an RBI double.
Freshman Kendall Hazel (Sergeant Bluff, Iowa/Sergeant Bluff-Luton), who came on in relief to start the inning, got a big strikeout to end the frame and keep the go-ahead run at third.
Foxx was right in the middle of the rally yet again in the seventh for the Beavers, singling with one out and later stealing second. He then advanced to third on an infield single by Jesse Munsterman (St. Peter, Minn./St. Peter) and scored two batters later on an RBI single by junior transfer Jeremy Lambert (Alta, Iowa/Alta). Paletta, who picked up where he left off after going 12-for-24 in last year’s IIAC Tournament, chalked up an RBI single to make it a 7-5 advantage.
The Vikings got one run back in the bottom half of the inning before the Beavers pushed it back to a two-run lead at 8-6 with a run in the eighth.
North Park threatened again in the eighth, getting a double to lead off the inning, and after a strikeout and a wild pitch, made it an 8-7 contest by taking advantage of a fielding miscue from the Beavers. The Vikings then tried to even things up but were forced out at the plate on a fielder’s choice one batter later, and the threat ended with a flyout to left.
North Park got the tying run to second with just one out in the bottom half of the ninth, but sophomore Jake Bjorkgren (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale), who came on in relief during the eighth to make his collegiate debut, picked up his first career save by getting a popout and a fly out to end the game.
Plath and Munsterman also added two hits for BVU, which out-hit North Park in the contest, 16-10.
Ringblom allowed just four hits, struck out five and walked two in his five innings of work. Hazel went the next 1.1 innings, and despite being charged with four unearned runs, picked up his first collegiate win. Hatten allowed a pair of hits and struck out two in his inning of work before Bjorkgren closed out the final 1.2 innings, allowing a hit and striking out one.
North Park (0-4), which lost a third straight game by one run, had four players with two hits.
Buena Vista is 1-0 on the year and will now wrap up its season-opening trip with a Monday doubleheader, beginning with a game at #11 Webster University at 10:00am followed by a 2:00pm contest at Washington University (Mo.).
Check out photos of our student-athletes in action in the Beaver sports photo galleries.