Archive for February 16th, 2009

NCAA Division 2 Rankings – Feb 16th Edition

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The College Baseball News Division 2 rankings are out and there have been some major changes, as is to be expected early in the season.  CBN Division 2 Rankings

Moving from #9 to #1 is Lynn University of Boca Raton, FL.  The team is off to an 8-1 start to the season and might be able to stick near the top of the rankings for the foreseeable future as their schedule gets easier for the next couple weeks.

Going the other direction was last week’s #1 team, Tampa University, which dropped all the way to #10 after losing 3 of 4 games to ranked opponents.  Two of their losses came at the hands of Southern Arkansas which helped catapult them from #19 to #4 in this weeks poll.

In regards to teams in the Northern Sun Conference, Wayne State moved from #20 to a tie for #19 without playing a game.  St. Cloud State got 1 vote to get into the “others receiving votes” category while Concordia dropped out of that grouping by getting no votes this week.

Finally, as mentioned in an earlier posting, we will be paying close attention to teams in the Rocky Mountain Conference who play in the same NCAA Tournament Regional as the Northern Sun teams.  Mesa State had an outstanding week and moved up from #23 all the way to #5.  Regis came in with 28 votes, just 1 spot short of making the Top 30 and Colorado State – Pueblo matched St. Cloud State with 1 vote.

Ping!Baseball has delayed the release of their Division 2 Poll until tomorrow because of President’s Day.

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Northern Sun Coach Survey – Matt Magers

Minnesota State

This is my 4th entry in my series of questionnaire responses I received from coaches in the Northern Sun Conference.

Matt Magers is entering his first year as head coach of the Minnesota State Mavericks.  He had been the pitching coach for the team since 2001 and was named Associate Head Coach by previous coach, Dean Bowyer, in 2007.  Similar to my previous interview with Mark Gulseth (Northern State), Magers comes from a distinguished career on the diamond as he was named All-Conference 3 times while playing for South Dakota State as a pitcher, was drafted by the Cubs in the 16th round of the 1997 MLB draft and played 2+ seasons in the Cubs minor league system.  Matt Magers Bio  The team has also posted an in depth Q&A with the new coach on their website –  Q&A with Matt Magers

I caught up with Matt just after he came off a strenuous teaching session of the Bowling class he teaches at Minnesota State –

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

We’re looking to become more consistent this year. Last year we started the season 0-6 and still were able to finish 28-25 along with making an NCAA Regional appearance. We only lost 3 seniors from last years team and have 8 this year so I would look for the seniors to lead this team since they have the experience and have been through the big games before. 

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

We expect transfers junior left-handed pitcher Josh Castanza, Hillsborough CC, junior right-handed pitcher Brett Fratzke, College of the Sequoias , and junior outfielder Mark Moriarty, Cerro Cosso CC, to give us depth throughout the season. We also look for freshman right-handed pitcher/third baseman Ben Kincaid, Eau Claire WI, right-handed pitcher Blake Schwartz, Rosemount MN, and second basemen Lucas Skjefte, Eden Prairie MN, to contribute right away.

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

Recruiting both a high school and transfer player has its pro’s and con’s. It’s appealing to have a player for 4 years that you can develop however certain years we look to pick up a transfer where a hole was left due to graduation or injury. I don’t think you can solely rely on having all of one or the other, it needs to be a good mix.

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

I would consider St. Cloud State to be our biggest rival. We have played them since we were both members of the NCC and have had some good battles together. We are excited to join the Northern Sun Conference as the majority of these teams we have played in the past and have rivalries established already .

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

Growing up I was fortunate to have been surrounded by many good people both on and off the field. From little league and high school ball in Gaylord, to college ball at South Dakota State University, I picked up techniques and philosophies that drove me to where I am today.  Playing professional baseball with the Chicago Cubs humbled me and gave me an opportunity to understand the business aspect of baseball. Former Maverick Head Coach Dean Bowyer has most impacted my baseball coaching career. Being around him the last nine years has been a priceless experience both on and off the field.

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

St. Cloud State Splits With Missouri

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St. Cloud State’s baseball team went through some big ups and downs this weekend as they traveled to Joplin, MO to play 4 games against Missouri Southern.  In the end, they came away with a split of the series which left them at 7-3 on the season.  The games must have left the team feeling as if they were bipolar (extreme mood shifts).  St. Cloud Recap

  • Game 1 – In Friday’s game, the Huskies take a 13-4 lead into the bottom of the 7th inning but give up 9 in the 7th inning to tie it and a home run in the 8th inning to lose it.
  • Game 2 – The game is a total opposite of the day before as St. Cloud wins 4-1 in a pitchers duel.  Starter Tim Scott pitches 6 strong innings and gives up only 1 run on 1 hit (and 5 walks).  Nate Johnson and Nate Hammes lead on the offensive side to even the series.
  • Game 3 – The back end of Saturday’s double header had all the frustrations of Friday’s game.  The Huskies were down 5-0 by the end of the 3rd inning which included 2 unearned runs.  They then have the big inning like Missouri had on Friday and scored 7 runs in the top of the 6th inning to take the lead.  Their joy was short lived though as the Lions came back with 3 in the bottom of the 7th inning to win it 8-7.
  • Game 4 – Sunday’s final game of the series was another pitching gem.  St. Cloud got another solid effort from its starter, Pat DeLaHunt, who went 5 1/3 and only gave up 1 run.  Then, unlike games 1 & 3, the Huskies relief pitchers (Bryant Koval & Nick Anderson) were able to shut the door.  The 6-1 win was paced by 5 different players who had 2 hits for the game.

With 10 games in the books now there are a few things we can draw out by looking at St. Cloud’s stats:

  • On the offensive side, St. Cloud is hitting .314 as a team and are being led by Sam Radbil (3B) who is hitting .419 so far.  The Junior from Milwaukee, WI is on a 5 game hitting streak and has multi-hit games in 5 of the teams past 7 contests.  He leads the team in runs scored, hits and RBI’s and is the odds on favorite to be named Player of the Week.
  • In a weird statistical quirk, the team has 5 guys that are hitting 1.000 on the season (all 1 for 1).
  • The Huskies leadoff batter in an inning is reaching base at a .589 clip which is outstanding.
  • The starting pitchers have been outstanding.  As a group the 4 starters are 6-0 with a 2.68 ERA and only 31 hits allowed in 40.1 innings pitched.

St. Cloud State doesn’t play again until Wednesday February 25th when they will play the first game in a 4 game, non-conference series against Bemidji State at the Metrodome.


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