NCAA BASEBALL: Axelson tosses no-hitter

TUCSON, Ariz. – Joe Axelson tossed the eighth no-hitter in program history and helped Southwest Minnesota State to a 5-0 victory over Bemidji State in Game 2 of a doubleheader at the Kino Sports Complex. SMSU won the opener 4-2 to sweep the non-conference twinbill and has now won six straight games to improve to 8-4 overall, including 7-1 on its 12-game trip to Tucson.

Axelson struck out seven BSU (3-4) hitters, walked just two and did not allow a runner to reach second base. He faced just two batters over the minimum. He is the first SMSU pitcher since Ryan Morse in 2005 to toss a no-hitter. Axelson ended the game throwing 78 pitches with 52 for strikes.

SMSU took advantage of wild BSU pitching to score three runs in the first inning – without a base hit – putting together four walks and two hit by batters. The Mustangs pushed across another run in the second as Ben Korger – who led off the inning with a double – scored on a drop fly ball by the BSU centerfielder to make the score 4-0.

SMSU added another run in the sixth as Sam Haas reached on an error, stole second and later scored on an RBI single by Korger.

SMSU had just two three hits in the game with Korger finishing with two hits, two runs scored and an RBI. Mustang hitters coaxed six walks and were hit by pitches three times.

In Game 1, Steven Wehr was outstanding, tossing a complete game, allowing five hits while striking out five and walking two.

SMSU snapped a scoreless game in the fourth as Austin Stubbs coaxed a one-out walk and moved to third on a double by Brandan Alfson. Haas then gave SMSU a 2-0 lead lacing a two-run single to right.

BSU came right back in the fifth inning to tie the game with a two-out rally and had runners on second and third, but Wehr closed the inning with a ground out.

The game wouldn’t remain tied for long as SMSU regained the lead in the home half of the inning. Korger led off with a single and stole second. Following two fly outs, Patrick Rients came through with a clutch RBI single to put SMSU back in the lead at 3-2.

After a 1-2-3 inning by Wehr in the top of the sixth, SMSU added to the lead as Alfson ripped a one-out triple and came into score two batters later on a two-out single by Jarred Carlson to extend the lead to 4-2.

Wehr then closed the victory with another perfect inning his fourth of the game. He finished the game tossing 96 pitches, including 65 for strikes.

Korger, Alfson and Engels all finished the game with two hits to lead SMSU, while Alfson scored a pair of runs.

Southwest Minnesota State continues its 12-game schedule in Arizona on Thursday taking on Mayville State (N.D.) in a single nine-inning games starting at 9 p.m. CDT.