Archive for February, 2009

Winona State Upsets #1 Lynn University 8-4

Winona State

Winona State (2-2) headed to Florida this week with a huge obstacle in their way.  Their first 2 games were scheduled against the #1 ranked college baseball team in Division 2 baseball, Lynn University (13-2).  The Lynn Fighting Knights had only lost 1 time in their first 13 contests and had only given up 9 runs in their last 5 games played.

Winona took an early 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning with an RBI from catcher Jamie Soyk.  Lynn battled back to take the lead by the score of 4-1 with a run in the 3rd to tie it and 3 in the 6th inning.  Then Lynn made a decision to change pitchers and take out their starter, Tommy Kahnle who had given up only 1 run and struck out 10 in 6 innings pitched. 

That change facilitated the Warriors to have a change of luck at the plate and they roared back for 4 runs in the 7th inning and then 3 more in the 8th to take an 8-4 lead.  The Winona State bats exploded in those 2 innings for 9 hits.  The Warriors relief pitching duo of Kyle Hanken and Kodey Simon pitched the final 3 innings giving up only 1 hit and striking out 3 to get the win and save respectively. 

Offensive stars for Winona included Anthony Mueller (CF) with 3 hits and Ronnie Olson (2B), John Magee (DH) and Jamie Soyk (C) with 2 hits each.

These same 2 teams will face off again tomorrow at 11am eastern in Boca Raton, FL.  Lynn Recap   Winona State – Lynn Box Score

February Baseball Finally Ending

Ice Ball

The end of February is finally here and the plight of playing early season, outdoor games continues for Northern Sun baseball teams.

  • Minnesota State (2-2) traveled all the way to Georgia in order to avoid the cold and cancellations.  Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t always come in the form of cold and snow as their double header against West Georgia University (5-11) was canceled yesterday due to rain.  They will try to get in a twin bill today before coming home.  They did get in 2 games on Thursday with a dramatic split as the Mavericks lost game 1, 10-6 only to come back in the 2nd and win 22-1.  Minnesota state got 22 hits to go along with the 22 runs and had an excellent pitching performance by starter, Patrick Lenton, who went 6 innings giving up just 4 hits and a lone tally – Minnesota State Recap
    • Edit – No sooner did I post this than I saw a Twitter update from Minnesota State saying today’s games are canceled too and they are coming home.  Kinda crappy to drive all the way to Georgia for 5 games and only get to play 2 of them.
  • It looks highly likely that Upper Iowa’s (0-3) games against Missouri S&T (4-7) in Rolla, MO will be canceled today.  The high temperature is forecast to be 28.  Hopefully, they can squeeze in 2 games tomorrow when it’s forecast to get up to a balmy 36 and sunny.
  • The one game that looks sure to be played today is Winona State’s (1-2) game in Boca Raton, FL against the #1 team in the nation, Lynn University (12-1).  The Warriors didn’t fare all that well last week against #5 ranked Central Missouri so it would be a pretty nice surprise if they can hang in with Lynn who has given up a total of only 9 runs in their last 5 games played.  Winona State is scheduled to play 7 games in Florida over the next 6 days so this will be a test of their endurance and depth.

St. Cloud State takes 3 of 4 From Bemidji State

stcloudstate_logo   Bemidji State Beavers

Bemidji and St. Cloud concluded their 4 game set this morning at the Metrodome to finish off a busy 18 hour stretch. 

The Beavers started off game 1 of the series with a come from behind 4-3 victory.  They had trailed 3-0 but scored in the 4th, 6th and 7th innings to take the closely contested game.  Bemidji’s starter, Brent Vollbrecht kept the team in it for the first 5 innings.  Randy Amos pitched the 6th to pick up the win (2-0) and Ryan Bohannan picked up his 3rd save of the season.

In games 2 thru 4 it was all Huskies as they won all 3 games by 3+ runs with scores of 9-6, 19-6 and 4-1.  St. Cloud’s pair of games today featured excellent starting pitching, something that has been a common occurrence this early season.  In the 19-6 victory, starter Tim Scott went 5 innings giving up only 2 hits and 1 run to improve his record to 3-0 on the season.  This lowered his ERA to a stellar 1.59 and opposing batters are hitting a measly .172 against him.

Logan Birr pitched the series finale for St. Cloud State and pitched a complete game, 6 hit affair that yielded only 1 earned run.  The win for Birr improved his record to 2-0 and is the first complete game tossed for the Huskies this season.

At the plate, Bemidji State first baseman, Josh Juntunen collected 6 hits for the series which included hitting safely in all 4 games.  St. Cloud State was led by 6 hits from third baseman, Sam Radbil, and 5 hits apiece from Nate Johnson (CF), Nate Hammes (C) and Beau Musgjerd (DH). Musgjerd’s hits included a pair of home runs in game 2.  St. Cloud State Recap

Concordia Sweeps St. Johns at Metrodome

Concordia

Concordia University improved to 7-1 on the season as they swept a pair of games from Division 3 foe, St. John’s University of Collegeville, MN. 

The Golden Bears jumped out to an early 5-0 lead which included a 2 run home run by catcher, Chris Herbert.  Concordia’s ace pitcher, Jake Schmidt, was cruising along through 5 innings, giving up only 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits and 11 strikeouts.  In the 6th inning the Johnnies scored 5 runs on a couple new pitchers and some sloppy play which led to 3 unearned tallies giving St. John’s a 7-6 lead.  Concordia scored 1 in the bottom of the 6th and won on a dramatic walk off home run but Bryan Lippincott (SS) to lead off the bottom of the inning.  This gave the Golden Bears an 8-7 victory.

In game 2, Lippincott hit another solo homer but the star for the game was freshman pitcher, Ben Lemke.  After giving up 5 more unearned runs in the first 3 innings on 5 errors, the Golden Bears’ starting pitcher, Blake DeVries was injured.  Concordia brought in Lemke who went the final 4 1/3 innings and gave up no hits & no runs while striking out 4 Johnnies.  This earned him his first career victory.  The final score of 15-7 was in doubt until the end though as the game ran right up to the Metrodome time limit and if it had gone another 7 minutes the game would have been canceled. 

On the day, Chris Herbert was 6-8 with a HR and 7 RBI’s while Jake Schmidt was 6-9 with a double, 2 triples and 5 runs scored.  There’s no word yet on the extent of DeVries’s injury. Lippincott Powers Sweep

St. Cloud & Bemidji Series – A Family Affair

stcloudstate_logo   Bemidji State Beavers

Northern Sun Conference foes, St. Cloud State (7-3) and Bemidji State (4-4) face off today in a grueling non-conference series at the Metrodome.  The teams will end up playing 4 games within an 18 hour window as the double header today starts at 5pm and their twin bill tomorrow kicks off at 6:30am. 

St. Cloud State is in action for the first time in over a week as they split a 4 game series against Missouri Southern February 13-15 in Joplin, MO.  Bemidji State played a 4 game set this past weekend against Washburn University in Topeka, KS and was able to manage only 1 win while dropping 3.  In the preseason Northern Sun Conference coaches poll, the Huskies were picked to finish 6th and the Beavers were forecast to finish 9th.  NSIC Preseason Poll

As for the family affair, Bemidji State’s starting 2nd baseman is senior, P.J. McIntee.  He has already been recognized as Northern Sun Player of the Week earlier in the year (Players of the Week).  St Cloud State’s starting 2nd baseman is junior, Tyler Horning.  This is Tyler’s first year playing for the Huskies as he transferred to St. Cloud after 2 successful seasons at Ridgewater College.  P.J. and Tyler are first cousins and good friends.  This is the first time they will have had a chance play a college game against each other.  Keep your spikes down boys when trying to break up the double play.

St. Cloud State leads the all-time series 109-32-1 and beat Bemidji State during all 3 meetings in 2008.  Wednesday’s games can be heard online here – Games Broadcast on KVSC Radio

Northern Sun Players of the Week – Feb 24

Players Of The Week

The Northern Sun Conference has named their players of the week for the week ending on February 23rd and they are –

This week’s Player of the Week was Joe Wendte of Wayne State.  The junior outfielder from Ponca, NE hit .400 for the Wildcats in their 4 game series against Pittsburg State and helped lead the team to a 3-1 season start.  During the 4 games he had 6 hits, 1 home run, 3 doubles, 5 RBI’s and 7 runs scored.  Wendte Named Player of the Week

The Pitcher of the Week was Chris Odegaard of Minnesota State.  The rightie from Glencoe, MN pitched 5 innings for the Mavericks in their season opener against Southwest Baptist and one hit and one earned run to get the victory in the teams 6-1 win.  He struck out 7 and only walked 1 in recording the win.  Chris Odegaard Named NSIC Pitcher of the Week

Monday Recap & Northern Sun Standings – Feb 23

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After what was a bad weekend, 3 Northern Sun baseball teams got some measure of revenge on the field in games that were played yesterday.  The teams combined for 4 wins out of the the 5 games played.

  • Wayne State (3-1) swept a pair of games from Pittsburg State.  They were led by junior outfielder Joe Wendte who was 5-8 with 5 RBI’s and 6 runs scored to pace the Wildcats attack.  Josh Yost (OF) and Alex Koch (1B) also contributed 3 run home runs in games 1 & 2 respectively.  Wayne State Sweep at Pittsburg State
  • Augustana topped Missouri S&T by the score of 8-1 to win their 3 game series and improve to 5-4 on the season.  Starting pitcher, Kenny Lidke surrendered only 5 hits in 7 innings of work to improve his record to 1-1.  Viking Baseball Downs Missouri S&T
  • Minnesota Duluth recorded the only loss of the day when they lost to Missouri Southern in game 1 of a double header (8-2).  They came back in game 2 for their first ever win against Southern by the score of 7-4.  Josh Threlkeld (1B) and David Olson (3B) picked up homers and freshman pitcher Mark Shaver got his first college win in relief.  Solid 2nd Game Performance Earns Bulldogs Split

Northern Iowa Drops Baseball Program

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The University of Northern Iowa officially announced today that they are dropping their college baseball program effective at the end of the 2009 season.  The Panthers made the decision after projecting a large cut in their athletic department funding due to current economic conditions and cutbacks in state government funding.  Northern Iowa is a Division 1 program that plays in the Missouri Valley Conference.  A conference that is known for a strong baseball tradition.

University of Northern Iowa Official Announcement

Des Moines Register Story – AD Had Pledged to Save Program

Earlier this weekend, the University of Vermont had also had announced that they were eliminating both their baseball and softball programs due to economic conditions.  The Catamounts are also a Division 1 program.  Vermont Announces Athletic Department Reorganization

One has to wonder how long it will be before the fallout turns into a full fledged free-fall in all of college athletics.  Based upon these 2 schools, it looks like college baseball is definitely one of the more vulnerable programs where cuts will be considered.

NCAA Division 2 Baseball Rankings – Feb 23

NCAA Baseball Logo

As is typical on each Monday, the College Baseball News and Ping!Baseball NCAA Division 2 College Baseball rankings are out.  The 2 polls continue to have widely divergent ideas of how teams should be ranked.  Next week I’m hoping the National College Baseball Writers rankings will start to be delivered as well and we’ll have a 3rd source to use for comparisons.  Both polls did have their #1 team maintain their ranking from the week before. 

College Baseball News has Lynn University as the #1 team in the country.  The Fighting Knights are 11-1 on the season and had a perfect week.  Lynn comes in at #3 in the Ping poll.  For fans of the Northern Sun Conference, this assures Winona State of playing the #1 ranked team when they play a pair of games this weekend.  College Baseball News Rankings

Ping!Baseball has Southern Arkansas as their #1 team for the 2nd consecutive week.  The Muleriders (12-3) beat Northwest Missouri State and Southern Indiana to maintain their spot.  Ping obviously has a thing for Donkey’s as their #2 team is the Central Missouri Mules.  Central Missouri totally dismantled 2 well regarded Northern Sun teams this past weekend beating Upper Iowa 7-1 & 10-1 on Friday and then beating Winona State 17-5 on Sunday.  To show what a difference in polls there are, the Mules are ranked #13 in the College Baseball rankings.  Ping!Baseball Rankings

Finally, after splitting against a team they were expected to sweep, Wayne State dropped from #19 in last weeks CBN poll out of the top 30 rankings and is now at #33.  They were the only Northern Sun team to receive any votes.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

 Schilling Sock

Years from now, the 7 Northern Sun Conference baseball teams that played games yesterday may hear U2’s anthem and think back to Sunday February 22nd instead of the massacre of 13 people in Derry, Northern Ireland.

The teams (Upper Iowa, Minnesota Duluth, Wayne State, Augustana, Bemidji State, Mary and Winona State) combined for some of the worst baseball results imaginable –

  • Combined record for the 10 games played:  2 – 8
  • The “fewest” runs given up in any of the games:  5
  • Combined runs given up in 10 games:  110  (yes, 11 per game on average)
  • Combined # of errors given up in 10 games:  30  (including a 6 spot by Wayne State in their loss)
  • Combined # of unearned runs:  27
  • Winona State starter, Andrew DeSousa tossed 5 Wild Pitches in 2+ innings to miss the Conference record by 1 set earlier this year –  Augustana Pitcher sets  Record
  • The Northern Sun’s #1 team in the preseason poll (Wayne State) could do no better than a split against the Mid-America’s Pittsburg State who was picked 9th of 11 teams in their preseason poll
  • The teams actually combined to score 65 runs themselves in 10 games – you’d think that should amount in more than 2 wins.

All in all, a pretty disappointing day which just continued what had been a bad weekend all around – Rough Start to Weekend

For the weekend, the teams came away with a combined record of 6-16. 

Minnesota Duluth and Wayne State continue play with double headers today.

Big Innings Prevail in Augies Split

Bemidji State Drops Final Game in Set

Wayne State Opens With Split

Winona State Tumbles to Central Missouri

Minnesota Duluth Comes Up Empty Handed

Mary Rally Falls Short in Series Finale

UNO Tops Upper Iowa

Northern Sun Coach Survey – Pat Dolan

stcloudstate_logo

This is my 9th entry in my series of questionnaire responses I received from coaches in the Northern Sun Conference.

Entering his 2nd season as coach of the St. Cloud State Huskies is head coach, Pat Dolan.  Dolan finished his inaugural season with a 27-23-1 record which was the most wins at St. Cloud since 1999 and good for a 3rd place finish in the now defunct North Central Conference.  He came to St. Cloud after spending 7 seasons at Dakota State where he took over a team that had become a perennial loser and built a team that was ranked in the NAIA polls for 5 consecutive seasons.  By 2003 he turned around a 1 win team to a 33 win team that advanced to the NAIA Regional Tournament for the first time ever.  Dolan’s roots are in Central Minnesota as well as he was a 10-time letter winner at Cold Spring – Rocori High School.  Pat Dolan Bio

1. In what area(s) are you looking for your team to make the biggest improvement over 2008?

Our biggest area of weakness last year was giving up big innings.  In the majority of our wins we didn’t give up crooked number innings.  I guess this is standard in baseball, but for us to continue to improve we are going to have to limit these big innings by not giving teams more than three outs to work with.

2. What newcomers to your team look like they will make the biggest impact?

Our coaching staff thought long and hard about redshirting our freshmen position players and decided to go that route to keep them all in the same graduating class.  Freshmen pitcher Logan Birr should be right in the mix of things.  We expect all of our transfers to fill in for the holes we lost last year to graduation.

3. What’s your philosophy regarding recruiting out of high school vs. college transfers?

I think this varies from year to year depending on needs, but ideally we would like to continue to bring in around 75% high school student athletes and the rest transfers.

4. What Northern Sun team do you consider to be your schools biggest rival?

Only being back in Minnesota one year and this being our first year in the NSIC that is a tough question.  With that being said I remember going to the Husky vs. Mankato games as a high school player. Skip Lorsung and Coach Bowyer had some great games.  They obviously have a great program with great coaches.  Without anything even said to our players last year you could just sense a different energy level when we played them, which I think makes for a great rivalry.

5. Who has been the biggest influence on your coaching philosophy and/or career?

There really is too many people that have been such a positive influence on my coaching career to single anyone out.  I’ve been truly blessed to be coached by great coaches in high school and college and coach along with many others at the college level.  Our current staff at SCSU with Coach Pratt, Kampsen, MacLean and Picha really keep my energy level high.  They are all high motor guys that have loyalty towards the program, a great work ethic and caring attitude towards all of our players.

The Northern Sun Baseball Blog would like to thank Pat Dolan for taking time out of his schedule to answer these questions.

Bemidji State Loses – Big Ten Challenge Continues

Bemidji State Beavers

As expected, the weather in the central states turned quite cold on Saturday and all the scheduled games were canceled or postponed except for one.  Bemidji State braved the mid-30’s temperature in Topeka, KS and played the 3rd game in their 4 game set against Washburn University.  Washburn came away with a decisive 9-3 victory in the 9 inning game and leads the series 2-1.  They will play the final game of the weekend today at Noon.

For those of you that are also interested in Big Ten baseball, the opening of the Division 1 season brings us the inaugural Big East – Big Ten Challenge as these northern conferences head to Florida to play each other.  The conferences are playing 24 games against each other over the 3 day weekend.  Big East – Big Ten Challenge Site

Friday saw the Big Ten jump out to a 5 game to 3 advantage as Michigan, Michigan St., Purdue, Ohio State and Northwestern won.  On Saturday, the conferences each won 4 games.  The Big Ten got wins from Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio State.  Michigan is off to a strong start as the #30 ranked Wolverines are at 3-0 on the season.  St. Johns has been the most impressive Big East team with a 15-6 win over Penn State on Friday and a 18-3 win over Iowa yesterday.  The Big Ten enters Sunday’s final 8 games holding a 9-7 advantage.


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