Larks HR

Bismarck's Austin Paschke (35) is greeted at the home plate by teammate Hunter Wilcher after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against Mankato on Thursday night at Municipal Ballpark.

MIKE MCCLEARY, TRIBUNE

Bismarck Larks starter Micah Beyer threw a wrinkle into Mankato’s plans to get a split of its Northwoods League series with the Larks on Thursday.

 Actually, he threw a lot of wrinkles in the form of breaking balls, setting a franchise record for strikeouts in a 3-0 win at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark.

 Don’t expect to see that again.

 Making his first and last start at home, Beyer fanned 14 MoonDogs, eclipsing the mark of 10 by Ryan Byrd on opening night. He gave up just three hits and walked only one in eight complete innings.

 Nick Boyles struck out the side in the ninth for the save.

 Beyer will get one more start with the team on the road before leaving for a summer internship, Bismarck manager Sean Repay said.

 “He only has one more start for us, that’s why we were riding him out,” Repay said. “He left a lasting impression for people here.”

 Beyer received a standing ovation after tip-toeing around league-mandated pitch limits. He finished with 111 pitches.

 “I felt like I was in control as long as I got ahead of guys,” said Beyer, whose family was on hand to watch him allow only two batters to reach third base.

 “I throw five different pitches and I was throwing all five pitches for strikes in every count. I just threw whatever pitch I wanted.”

 Beyer struck out the side in the third and seventh innings.

 “All I was trying to do was throw strikes and I just mixed up my pitches,” Beyer said.

 The Larks took a 3-0 lead in the third inning against MoonDogs starter and loser Brett Newberg.

 Catcher Quinn Irey led off with a double and eventually scored on second baseman Mitch Gallagher’s single to left with two outs. Big first baseman Austin Paschke then crushed a home run, his first of the year, to make it 3-0.

 Newberg had only one bad inning but it cost him a chance for a second win. He gave up just four hits, but all were in the third inning.

 Newberg and reliever Austin Hansen retired the last 16 Larks batters, but by then the damage was done.

 Gallagher has hit in seven straight games and 10 of the  11 games he’s played since joining the team. He had only one hit, ending his streak of multi-hit games at six.

 Beyer won’t get to thrill another sellout crowd at home.

 “This was the most fun outing I’ve ever had,” Beyer said. “All three of my other starts have been away games. It’s really cool. It was way more fun starting at home. Here after the first inning it was overwhelming. It was fun.”

 The Larks got great pitching during the series.

 “We walked one guy and struck out 14 and gave up four hits. You can’t ask for more than that,” Repay said. “We had one bad day of pitching – the worst day we’ve had all year (Tuesday afternoon’s 13-8 loss) and we locked right back in.”

The Larks (12-12) left after the game for a six-game road trip to Mankato (10-12), La Crosse and Willmar. They return home June 29 for a two-game set against Duluth.

(Steve Thomas is a Bismarck Tribune sportswriter).

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