Upper Iowa Starts – Conference Watches

Upper Iowa

Upper Iowa University kicks off their 2009 season today with a double header in cold Grand Junction, CO where the high temperature is expected to be in the low 40’s.  The Peacocks are coming off of a 2nd place finish in the Northern Sun Conference in 2008 with a 24-8 record (30-25 overall).  In the NSIC preseason coaches poll they were picked to finish 5th in 2009 2009 Preseason Poll.  They will be lead by 3 returning 2008 2nd team all-conference players, Brian Solemsaass (P), Kreston Albright (OF) and Lucas Wilsing (DH).  Northern Sun Preseason Release

The opening game for head coach, Mark Danker’s, squad will be #3 ranked Chico State (Chico, CA).  Chico is coming off a season where they advanced to the Division 2 College World Series and they return their entire starting pitching staff from a team that finished last year 42-17. 

While the Chico State game may be a barometer of where Upper Iowa stands the far more important games start later in the day with a single game Saturday against Mesa State and then 2 more against the same Mavericks on Sunday.

The Mesa State games have playoff implications for every team with post season aspirations in the Northern Sun Conference.  The NCAA reorganized how the playoffs work for 2009.  This year, 6 teams from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) will meet in the first round of the NCAA Regional Tournament with the winner of that double elimination event advancing to the NCAA Division 2 National Tournament.  The #23 ranked Mesa State Mavericks are the preseason favorites in the RMAC.  Therefore, these Upper Iowa games should be watched closely as a gauge of how well the Northern Sun might match up.  The Northern Sun Baseball blog will be keeping a close eye on the RMAC all season.

Mesa State will likely be a very tough opponent as they are coming off of 3 games against #3 ranked Chico State and have won 2 of 3.  Mesa State Recaps.  The Mavericks have won the RMAC 5 straight years and are led by 2008 conference player of the year, Mike Provencher (IF).

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