Conference Doubleheaders – 9 innings & 7 innings

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As news starts to flow about the upcoming 2010 NCAA Division 2 baseball schedules for teams of the Northern Sun Conference one little tidbit caught my eye as a big change for the upcoming season.

I noticed it in the announcement of Bemidji State’s 2010 schedule and wrote it off as a mistake but then it was specifically called out in St. Cloud State’s press release –

All conference games this year will be played with one 9-inning game followed by a 7-inning doubleheaders. 

Wow!  This is actually a big change!

Impact of new rule:

  • Each team is scheduled to play 16 Conference doubleheaders.  Assuming they get all of their games in, this adds an extra 32 innings of play during the season or the equivalent of 4.5 more 7 inning games over the season.  The NCAA is mandating that all Division 2 baseball programs transition from 56 maximum games in 2010 to 50 maximum games in 2011.  By adding these extra innings at least it will mute a little of the NCAA’s mandate.
  • An extra 4 innings each weekend adds up to 14% additional innings played.  This will stretch each teams pitching staffs a bit more and force managers to make tougher decisions.
  • Most importantly, I think it might have a strategic impact for head coaches as they make decisions on who to start each game.  Do you pitch your #1 guy in a 9 inning or 7 inning game?  Most college pitchers don’t throw 9 innings so you may be better off saving your top guy for a game he can go the distance.  At the same time, it also means you have to consider match-up issues with what the other coach is planning.
  • Finally, this could certainly impact a bunch of Northern Sun records.  I would expect that 14% more innings should lead to a lot more chances to break individual records in the books now.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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9 Responses to “Conference Doubleheaders – 9 innings & 7 innings”


  1. 1 formerlyanonymous October 29, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Hmm… weird. I know a lot of people really dislike the 7-inning games in college, particularly the 7-inning double headers. I was a fan of them when the BigTen used to have them. Michigan was definitely a team built for 7-inning double headers on Saturdays. The shift to 9 inning games really exposed the weakness of the bullpens.

    That said, I think double headers aren’t the best for attendance. Most baseball fans struggle through 9 innings in some of the slower games. Playing 16 innings will be harder on the casual fan.

    • 2 fishingmn October 29, 2009 at 10:59 pm

      Hey Formerly – good to see you back.

      “Playing 16 innings will be harder on the casual fan”

      It’s D2 baseball, the only people there are parents, relatives and girlfriends :) (okay not quite but Northern Sun games don’t have quite the following of Mesa State)

      • 3 John Plasha Sr. November 1, 2009 at 10:03 am

        fishingman, your right on with your assasment of the crowds at D-2 baseball games. Last year I made 31 outa 60 of my son’s games and it was exactky as you described. Mostly family and friends the majority of the home games and up to 1000+ at the Regional finals at Mesa State. Talking to some of the “Locals” there that’s about average for a home game. Pretty sad if you ask me. In our case, your talking about one of the top ranked teams in the country (Top 20+/-) playing some really exciting baseball. I guess that’s one of the pitfalls playing a summer game in a northern climate. From what I’ve seen the crowards at games down south are quite the contrary.

  2. 4 John Plasha Sr. November 1, 2009 at 10:09 am

    That should read “exactly” and “crowds”. Not sure if it’s my spelling or my typing.

    • 5 IMAFAN November 1, 2009 at 7:31 pm

      I believe it’s a lack of promotion by the u’s and the coaches – why don’t they advertise the games a bit more in each city? I am sure the local radio stations and local papers would do it with no or minimal cost?! As you indicated there are some very good games played. Promoting it both to the youth and the retired folks would make allot of sense but, they don’t and I don’t know why?

  3. 6 WSCDad November 2, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Seems to me that the biggest difference will be some of the younger pitchers getting more innings during the weekday games. I suppose that could lead to fewer red-shirts, as the pitching staffs may need a little more depth. Or maybe instead of weekday and weekend pitchers we will see first game (9) and second game (7) pitching staffs. Whatever the case, the managers will have a bit more
    I looked over the NSIC web-site and didn’t see a press release about adding these innings. Has anybody seen anything about it from the conference? Where is Mags when you need him?
    As for attendance, some of the northern schools don’t know from day to day where their home games will be played, so I would imagine it is hard to plan on attending.

  4. 7 fishingmn November 3, 2009 at 8:48 am

    WSC – I searched the NSIC site as well before posting this article. They don’t exactly post much there outside the season. Guess it was up to the NSIC’s major media outlet for baseball to publicize it :)

    I do plan on holding interviews with those conference coaches that will grant me time and this is on my list to ask about. Look for them in Jan/Feb.


  1. 1 Conference Doubleheaders – 9 innings & 7 innings Trackback on November 9, 2009 at 1:14 pm
  2. 2 Northern Sun Conference Games Start Today « Northern Sun Baseball Trackback on March 19, 2010 at 5:58 am

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