BigRich Sports Report: The stuff of legends


Richard Rhoden, Editor-in-Chief

It became the stuff of legends, something that you wouldn’t believe if there wasn’t visual evidence.

It’s like Babe Ruth calling his shot or Bo Jackson hitting a baseball off the crown in centerfield of Kauffman Stadium.

Things like that just aren’t supposed to happen.

If I told you that your favorite baseball team scored 20 runs in a single game, you’d safely assume that your team ran away with the game and jump for joy at your offensive’s prowess.

Unfortunately for NSIC companion Bemidji State, scoring 20 runs was a nightmare. Not because of their offense, but rather because of Minnesota State Mankato’s offense. Bemidji may have scored 20, but Mankato scored 41 in a 41-20 smashing that would have Charlie Hustle grinning ear to ear and The Ryan Express in shambles.

The teams combined to break the NCAA Division II record for the most hits in a game with 56 in the second game. That record had stood since 1993, when Southern Indiana and St. Joseph’s (Ind.) combined for 52 in a game. The 61-run total in the second game is the second-highest mark in Division II history; St. Francis (Ill.) and Robert Morris (Ill.) scored 71 in a 1996 game.

MSU Mankato’s 41 runs in Game 2 set a school record. Boosted by Dylan Dresel’s grand slam, MSU Mankato (21-4, 11-3 NSIC), ranked seventh in Division II, led 9-0 in the second inning of Game 2, then watched the Beavers (10-21, 7-9) climb back to make it 9-7.

Mankato slapped the ball around for 10 runs in the top of the third. Midway through the fourth inning the Mavericks led 22-8.

Stay with me, folks.

The Beavers scored 10 runs in the next two innings to make the score 22-18 through six innings. I know, I’m not the best at math, either.

Even more offensive explosion by Mankato in the seventh took the already insane score to 27-18. The Beavers added two more runs while the Mavericks tacked on another 14 runs in the final inning of play to force the mercy rule to win 41-20.

Just a few matters to chew on here, and these may be questions for those involved. Did they have to replace some bats at some point? How many baseballs were used in this game? Was a ball hit so hard it tore apart like in the movie “The Sandlot”? Were they using a pitching machine or even setting the ball on a tee like when we were four?

Mankato outscored Bemidji in just the third and eighth innings alone, 10 and 14 respectively.

Let’s compare them to the big leaguers, shall we? The MLB season started close to a week ago. Using Mankato’s 41 runs, that would put them in the fifth spot in total runs, with only Kansas City, Detroit, Oakland and Boston scoring more (Kansas City has 52 while Boston has 43). But don’t worry, even Bemidji doesn’t come in last on this list. Bemidji would be tied with Miami at 24 with their 20 runs, beating out St. Louis, Chicago White Sox, Houston, Washington, Minnesota and Philadelphia (Philly has 16 in last).

Collin Eckman for Bemidji State recorded a hat trick with three home runs in the game, tying L.A. Dodger Adrian Gonzalez as the only player I can think of this year with three homers in a game. Eckman would be tied for third in MLB with those three homers.

And if I use the other three games from the two-day doubleheaders, some MLB teams might not catch up by the end of the month. For Mankato, 88 runs on 92 hits, including 18 home runs. Even Bemidji, with 34 runs by the end of the weekend, could hold off Philly for a while.

Mankato’s Max Waletich would lead the majors in homers if you use all four games, as he hit seven homers over the two-day stretch. Mankato would lead in batting average as well, as they hit .511 over the weekend.

Even take Mankato’s football team that played in the NCAA Div. II Championship game, they only defeated Bemidji 34-19 last fall.

Each team used four pitchers in the scoring extravaganza. Bemidji State committed six errors. Six Mankato batters walked up to the plate for eight appearances. The game lasted 3:55 with only 125 people in attendance.

That number will grow substantially through legend.

“I was there.”