Archive for April, 2009

Rainy Day For NSIC College Baseball Teams

Baseball Rain

Yesterday, I recapped the importance of Wednesday’s mid-week D2 college baseball games for the top 8 teams in the Northern Sun Conference as they battle it out for position in the standings (Top 8 Battle).  Well only 2 of those top 8 teams were able to get their games in.  In all, 8 games were moved to today (Thursday), 3 games were played and 1 game was cancelled. 

  • I previously talked about how important it was for Augustana to sweep yesterday’s series against Upper Iowa in order to try and make up 3 games in the standings.  Well, they started off strong by winning game 1 (6-1) behind a strong pitching performance by Tyler Pierson.  Pierson (5-6) threw this first complete game of the season and gave up only 5 hits & 1 unearned run to go along with 6 K’s.  It looked like they might pull off the sweep as they led 3-1 after 2 innings but then the Peacocks bats came alive and they scored 13 runs in the next 3 innings to win in a blowout, 16-6.  Seth Fox was 4-5 with 5 RBI’s and Brock Spangenberg was 3-4 with 5 RBI’s to pace the Peacock’s 15 hit attack.  The split by Upper Iowa might be just enough to hold onto the 6th spot in the standings and a spot in the NSIC Tournament.  Upper Iowa Recap  Augustana Recap
  • In the battle for 10th place, it was Senior Day at Bemidji State where the Beavers were hosting the University of Mary Marauders.  Mary slapped the Beaver all day, scoring seemingly at will.  The 15-0 win was led by an excellent pitching performance by Blaze Culliton (2-5) who gave up only 4 hits in the complete game shutout.  Tyler Liffrig and Tyler Steffan each had 3 hits to lead the Marauder attack.  The rain then started in earnest and the teams agreed to cancel the 2nd scheduled game instead of trying to make it up tomorrow.  Mary hosts SMSU this weekend while Bemidji State’s NSIC schedule is complete and they head to Montana for a final 4 game series against Montana State – Billings.  Bemidji Recap  Mary Recap
  • All of the other scheduled games were moved to today

NCAA D2 College Baseball Regional Poll – 4/29

NCAA Baseball Logo

The NCAA has released their Division 2 College Baseball Regional poll for April 29, 2009.  The complete poll including all 8 Regions can be found here – NCAA D2 Regional Poll

All Northern Sun teams are members of D2’s Central Region – a region which includes the 13 NSIC teams along with the 8 teams from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.  Each Conference will hold their own year-end Conference Tournament.  The winners of the NSIC and RMAC Tournaments each receive an automatic bid to be 1 of 6 teams in the NCAA Central Region Tourney.  The other 4 spots are at-large bids which this poll helps to determine.

There was a big change in the Central Region Poll this week that we’ve been watching for all weekend.


Colorado State – Pueblo’s improbable loss of all 4 games over the weekend to Nebraska – Kearney had dropped them from #4 to #6 which is a HUGE benefit to Minnesota State and Southwest Minnesota State who each took advantage and moved up a spot.  If the final ranking were to stay the same it would guarantee 3 teams from the Northern Sun in the NCAA Division 2 College Baseball Regional Tournament and could even provide for a scenario where 4 teams make it if a team like Winona State were to win the Automatic NSIC bid, knocking out Pueblo.

Stick A Fork in Golden Bears – Schmidt is Done


Concordia University of St. Paul just announced that their star Pitcher/Outfielder, Jake Schmidt, will miss the rest of the 2009 season with a broken wrist.

The senior from Oakdale, MN was their #1 pitcher & leadoff hitter and his loss will make the Golden Bears attempt to make up 2 games in the standings in order to make the Northern Sun Tournament almost impossible.

The impact of Schmidt on the Concordia line-up was present in many ways.  As a pitcher he earned many honors and set numerous Concordia records –

Schmidt has earned NSIC Pitcher of the Week honors and NSIC Player of the Week honors once each in his 2009 season. He is a five time CU Athlete of the Week as well. He was a Preseason All-American and a returning All-NSIC First Team performer and last year’s NSIC Tournament Most Valuable Pitcher.

Schmidt’s season comes to a close, but his name will be etched in CU’s record book for years to come. He will leave Concordia as the career strikeout leader with 273 and is tied for the career wins record (23-8). He made 37 career starts, tied for the school record and 51 appearances, tied for second all-time. He threw 233.2 career innings, second most in school history.

His junior and senior seasons were the most impressive as he went 14-4 in 21 starts with 203 strikeouts in 142.1 innings while also posting three saves in seven relief appearances. His six saves rank second all-time.

As a batter he also excelled in leading the Golden Bears offense –

As a hitter, Schmidt has clubbed eight of his 10 home runs on the season in NSIC games and hit .365 as a senior. In 350 career at bats, Schmidt is a career .334 hitter with 17 home runs and 82 RBI. He improved his batting average every year, going from .284 as a sophomore to .316 as a junior with another 50 point bump to his senior season. His home runs and RBI increased each year as well.

Schmidt’s injury is just the latest in a long string of players going down as the teams starting #2 pitcher, Blake DeVries, was lost for the season after only 3 starts.  Starting shortstop, Bryan Lippincott, hasn’t returned to the lineup since about midway through the NSIC schedule and starting 2nd baseman, Chase Brown, left the team mid-season.

Golden Bears Lose Schmidt For Season

NCAA D2 College Baseball Tourney – Conference Playoff Tracking

NCAA Baseball Logo

The start of NCAA Division 2 College Baseball Conference Tournaments are upon us and teams are starting to play their way into the field of 48 teams that will qualify for the NCAA D2 College Baseball Regional Tournaments. 

In fact, the first team has already qualified for the 2009 NCAA D2 Tournament – that team is Catawba College (Salisbury, NC) which won the South Atlantic Conference baseball tournament to capture the automatic bid that goes along with it.  The Indians knocked off top-seeded Tusculum who will now await an at-large bid to the Southeast Regional.  Catawba Wins SAC Tourney

Many other Conference Tournaments will play out starting this weekend including big ones like the Gulf South Conference which features 4 of the Top 30 teams in the country, including Southern Arkansas – a team ranked #2 in the country who enters the GSC Tourney as a #2 seed.  Gulf South Tourney Set

I thought that I’d revisit a blog entry I posted in February that recaps the upcoming NCAA D2 college baseball tourney and the conference alignment that makes up each of the 8 regions.

Continue reading ‘NCAA D2 College Baseball Tourney – Conference Playoff Tracking’

Top 8 NSIC College Baseball Teams Fight It Out


The top 8 teams in the Northern Sun Conference once again battle it out today (and tomorrow) as they fight for positions in the NSIC Tourney and the NCAA Division 2 College Baseball Tournament.  Only the top 6 teams make the Northern Sun Tournament and there are only 6 games remaining to claim a spot.  As has been a season long trend – weather may play a factor today as there is rain expected across the Upper Midwest.

  • In non-Conference games played yesterday, Northern State won the battle of Aberdeen in sweeping cross-city rival, Presentation College, by scores of 7-0 and 13-3.  After beating the small D3 Christian College the Wolves were seeking games against Aberdeen High School to prove their complete ownership of the Aberdeen baseball scene.  Northern Sweep

As for the Conference games that matter today (and tomorrow) –

  • Augustana travels to Upper Iowa today for a doubleheader as the #8 team faces the #6 team in the standings.  The Augies are 3 games behind Upper Iowa but do have a chance to reach the top 6.  That said, I’m going to say the only way that happens is if they sweep the Peacocks.  Augustana does finish this weekend with 4 games against last place Northern State but if they only split today, sweeping the Wolves probably won’t matter.  Upper Iowa needs to get at least a split to keep Concordia and the Augies behind them.  They finish with 4 against Minnesota Duluth who is coming on and could certainly win 2 against them this weekend.  Augustana Preview
  • The 7th place team, Concordia, travels to play 2 games at Mankato State :).  The Golden Bears have a tough challenge ahead as they must make up 2 games on Upper Iowa while playing their final 6 games against teams in the top 4 in the standings (including 4 this weekend against Winona State).  They have to be rooting for Augustana to sweep today but more importantly they probably have to win at least 5 of 6 to have a chance.  The Mavericks are in a battle of their own as they are only 1/2 game out of first place and the regular season championship.  Right now that doesn’t look likely unless Wayne State were to lose twice today as Wayne has a very easy final 4 games against Minnesota Crookston.  Minnesota State Preview
  • Winona State (#4 team) travels to Southwest Minnesota State (#3) in a doubleheader that has already been moved from today to Thursday because of rain.  The Mustangs holds a 3 game lead in the standings over the Warriors.  This series probably won’t affect the final standings that much so it’s more about getting ready for the NSIC Tournament.  It may mean a little more to the Mustangs as they are still fighting for position in the NCAA Regional rankings and a shot at an at-large NCAA bid.  Games Moved to Thursday
  • St. Clouds trip to Wayne State has also been pushed back to Thursday.  The Huskies final 6 games are against the top 2 teams in the Conference so they haven’t sewn up a spot in the top 6 yet.  If they can split the final 6 it should certainly be good enough but they better keep a mindset of winning them all.  While Wayne State only holds a 1/2 game lead in the standings, they can probably consider a split against SCSU to assure them the league title.  That said, they are certainly out to win them all as there’s an outside shot at the #1 spot in the NCAA Central Region rankings if they do so and can overtake Mesa State (who would probably have to lose to last place Colorado Christian).  That #1 spot gives a team the chance to play at home and host the Regional Tourney which would be a big coup for the Wildcats.  Games Moved
  • Minnesota Duluth travels to Minnesota Crookston for a doubleheader today.  The Bulldogs have been playing much better lately in splitting series’ against top 8 teams and still have an outside chance to make the top 6.  They’d have to win out and get some help but they have to be feeling better about where they are headed.  Minnesota Crookston has won some unexpected games this year (SCSU/SMSU) so they can certainly beat Duluth.  This may be their last chance as they face a final series against Wayne State.  Minnesota Crookston Preview
  • Mary travels to Bemidji State for 2 games in a battle for 10th place in the standings.  The same teams split last week.  It’s Senior Day for the Beavers and their 11 seniors will play their last games at home.  Bemidji State will be losing 4 starters, their top 2 reserves and their #1 pitcher to graduation.  Bemidji State Preview

Northern Sun Players of the Week – 4/28/09

Players Of The Week

The Northern Sun Conference has named their Players of the Week for the week ending 4/21/09 (week 12) and they are:

The Player of the Week is Ben Smothers from Winona State.  The senior shortstop from Waconia, MN hit .579 for the week which included 11 hits, 7 run scored and 7 RBI’s.  His hits included 4 extra base hits (1 double, 2 triples and 1 homer) for a 1.000 slugging percentage.  In addition to all the hitting he was perfect in the field, converting on all 22 chances he had.

The Pitcher of the Week is Tom Doran from Wayne State.  The redshirt freshman from Oakdale, MN pitched a complete game 3 hitter, allowing just 1 unearned run in a key conference battle against Minnesota State.  The 9-1 win by the Wildcats helped the team reclaim first place in the NSIC standings.  He struck out 5 and allowed just 3 hits in improving his season record to 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA.

Northern Sun Conference Week 12 Press Release

Northern Sun D2 College Baseball Poll – 4/28/09

Northern Sun D2 Poll1

Each week, the Northern Sun Baseball Blog combines the 3 primary Division 2 College Baseball Poll’s into 1 composite ranking.

There’s a new unanimous #1 team in D2 college baseball – it’s Barry (Miami Shores, FL).  The Buccaneers beat Rollins and then took 2 of 3 from Tampa.  They are led by a potent offensive attack as they are hitting .349 as a team.  Their first baseman, Yudelmis Hernandez, has broken the school record with 20 home runs and catcher, Yan Gomez, has 18 homers while breaking the school records for RBI’s and Total Bases in a season.  With all of the home runs they’ve broken the NCAA D2 team record for Grand Slams in a season with 10. 

Barry took over from Southern Arkansas who had held the top spot the past 2 weeks.  The Muleriders lost 2 of 3 to Delta State over the weekend which helped Delta move up 7 spots in the rankings. 

South Carolina – Aiken made a big move up this week going from #14 to #6.  Catawba College made an impressive debut in the poll as they were ranked in all 3 polls for the first time to move from unranked to a solid #19. 

Emporia State took a tumble from #2 to #7 and Mesa State was another previous top 5 team to move the wrong way as they lost 4 games last week to drop from #4 to a tie for #9. 

The Northern Sun Conference’s Wayne State (NE) moved up another spot to get to #20.  Minnesota State also received votes in 2 of the 3 polls but finished just outside of the top 30 in 33rd place.



CBN – College Baseball News; Ping – Ping!Baseball; NCBWA – National College Baseball Writers Association; NSB Rank – Northern Sun Baseball Composite Poll; Comb Pts – Combined points in the composite rankings; LW – Last week’s composite ranking

College Baseball News Poll

Ping!Baseball Poll


NCAA D2 College Baseball Proposal Advancing

NCAA Baseball Logo

The NCAA has been considering a number of changes within Division 2 athletics that would reduce the playing and/or practice time of various sports.  As I reported here (NCAA Recommending Reductions in College Baseball Season) and here (D2 Baseball and Shorter Season) the D2 Management Council was taking up these issues before advancing them to higher level decision makers within the NCAA.

These proposals have now advanced to the NCAA Division II President’s Council who will take up the issue this week on Wednesday and Thursday.  It was the President’s Council who started this whole thing in January –

The Presidents Council charged the Division II Legislation and Championships Committees in January to recommend ways in which the division’s playing and practice seasons legislation could be modified to better align with the Division II strategic-positioning platform. In essence, the presidents were asking the division’s governance structure for a gut-check on whether the division’s sports interests were skewing the academics/athletics balance stated in the platform.

It’s all well and good to go talking about “academic balance” but the real reason for these potential changes is in a paragraph further down –

The exercise also coincides with the division’s attempt to seek better business practices to ease fiscal pressure during the current downward economic trend.

As usual, it’s all about the money. 

It seems like D2 schools are only looking at the expense side.  I’m guessing that “most” Division 2 college baseball programs give anywhere from 2-5 equivalent scholarships plus the expense of running a program (travel, coaches, equipment, recruiting).  Still, if there are 30+ kids attending your school to play baseball (and attend school) what is the total amount of tuition that those students bring in?  How many of them would be at your school if it weren’t for the baseball program?  I don’t think my son would be attending the school he’s going to if it weren’t for the baseball program.  My $16k+/year (no financial aid) goes straight into the school’s bank account – all for the pittance of a baseball scholarship they offer that at best covers his books.

NCAA President’s Council to engage in Playing Season Debate

6 Games Left in Northern Sun Race – Gap Appears


There are only 6 games left in the Northern Sun Conference D2 college baseball regular season.  Teams are scheduled to play 2 games on Wednesday and 4 this coming weekend with the top 6 teams advancing to the Northern Sun Baseball Tournament which starts May 7th in St. Cloud.  With the results yesterday we are starting to see a gap appear.  There had been 4 teams bunched together in the 5th-8th spots in the standings.  St. Cloud State has opened up a 2 1/2 game lead over 7th place Concordia and Upper Iowa has opened a 2 game lead.

  • Concordia could have been a lot closer but they dropped 2 of 3 yesterday in a triple header against Bemidji State.  They lost 5-2 & 10-2 before winning the final game 7-6.  Bryan Jamieson pitched great in game 1 after coming in as an injury replacement after the starter, Matt Fossen, took a line drive off his leg and couldn’t continue.  Jamieson went 5 innings giving up just 1 earned run to get his first win of the season.  Game 2 saw a complete game win by Beaver starter Ryan Sander.  Concordia has 2 games on Wednesday against Minnesota State and a final series against Winona State so they have a very tough schedule in which to try and make up games.  Bemidji Recap  Concordia Recap
  • Southwest Minnesota State may have ended Augustana’s hopes of reaching the NSIC playoffs with a doubleheader sweep yesterday.  The Mustangs won a couple of tight contests by scores of 2-1 and 7-6.  The losses drop the Augies a full 3 games out of the playoff hunt and are now only 1/2 game ahead of a recently surging Minnesota Duluth for 8th place.  They will have to pin their hopes on sweeping 6th place Upper Iowa on Wednesday as they do finish with 4 games against last play Northern State.  SMSU solidified its spot in 3rd place and would hold on to that spot even if they got swept by 4th place Winona on Wednesday.  They finish with Mary this weekend.  Augie Recap  SMSU Recap
  • Winona State split its games with Minnesota Duluth winning the first game on a walk off homer by Kyle Collins (9-8) but losing the nightcap 11-4.  Minnesota Duluth is definitely playing better of late and actually has a chance to finish as high as 7th in the standings.  They finish with 2 against Minnesota Crookston and 4 at Upper Iowa.  Winona State has a tough schedule with 2 against SMSU and 4 against Concordia so they still have a little work to do to guarantee a spot in the NSIC Tourney.  UMD Recap  Winona Recap

There is another threat of rain coming into the region mid-week so that could play a major factor in these final games.  The 7th-9th place teams will want to at least have a chance on the field.

NCAA Division 2 Baseball Rankings – 4/27/09

NCAA Baseball Logo

The College Baseball News, Ping!Baseball and NCBWA Regional rankings have been released for this week:

  • The College Baseball News poll has a new #1 team in the nation as Barry takes over their #1 spot.  Previous #1, Southern Arkansas, drops into a tie for 2nd with Ashland.  Last week’s #2 team, Mesa State, took a big tumble after losing a series to Metro State and then splitting with New Mexico Highlands.  Delta State made a huge jump up in the their poll moving from no votes all the way to #15 after taking 2 of 3 from Southern Arkansas.  Representing the Northern Sun Conference, Wayne State moved up one spot to #24.  This despite 2 NSIC schools not completing their ballots for the week.   College Baseball News Ranking

  • The Ping!Baseball poll also saw the same change at the top as Barry takes over their #1 spot.  They did this with a win over Rollins and taking 2 of 3 from a very tough Tampa team.  Southern Arkansas fell to the #3 spot after holding down the top spot in the Ping poll for 10 straight weeks.  For as much grief as some people give the Ping poll (for example, placing St. Cloud State in the Top 30 ahead of Wayne State) they really got it right with Delta State.  Last week the CBN poll didn’t rank Delta at all and Ping had them at #5.  After beating Southern Arkansas, Ping seems to be closer to the right spot for the Statesmen.  That said, they finally took St. Cloud State out of the poll and instead of replacing them with Wayne State they put the Northern Sun’s 2nd place team, Minnesota State, in the the #27 spot.  While the Mavericks are a deserving team and just split 4 games with Wayne State I’d still put Wayne ahead of them.  Ping!Baseball Ranking

  • The National College Baseball Writers published their Regional Poll.  The NCAA Regional poll is much more meaningful but it’s still interesting to see what the writers think.  Mesa State maintains the number 1 spot but for the first time it’s not unanimous as Wayne State took a 1st place vote.  Colorado State – Pueblo dropped 2 spots after getting swept in 4 games by Nebraska – Kearney over the weekend.  Winona State moved ahead of Concordia which seems overdue since they are 3 spots ahead of them in the NSIC standings.


NCBWA Regional Poll

Soggy Sunday & The Battle For A Title

Eat Dirt

It was a soggy Sunday throughout the Upper Midwest as the Northern Sun’s Division 2 college baseball teams battle it out to not only for spots in the standings but just to get games played.

  • In Wayne, NE the battle of the titans did get played as the top 2 Northern Sun teams battled to a draw.  Both of the weekends doubleheaders ended up as draws and when all is said and done, Wayne State still holds a 1/2 game lead on Minnesota State because they had 1 fewer game cancelled.  As I chronicled yesterday (MSUM vs. WSC Live) Minnesota State won the first game of their twinbill by a score of 13-10.  The 2nd inning proved disastrous for the Wildcats as they allowed 7 runs on 8 hits.  Wayne lost despite hitting 5 homers.  In game 2 it was the Tom Doran story as the redshirt freshman pitcher went the distance in allowing the Mavericks only 3 hits an a lone, unearned run which led Wayne State to a 9-1 victory.  Wayne State hosts St. Cloud State for a doubleheader on Wednesday while Minnesota State hosts Concordia on Wednesday.  WSC Splits – Maintains Slim Lead
  • St. Cloud State made a good decision to relocate their Sunday doubleheader to the Metrodome as it allowed them to get in the expected sweep against last place Northern State.  The Huskies won 6-3 and 14-3 to solidify their hold on 5th place in the standings.  Game 1 starter, David Deminsky, struck out 5 to tie the all-time SCSU record for strikeouts in a season (81).  Pat DeLaHunt started game 2 and allowed just 2 earned runs in improving his record to 6-1.  SCSU also broke a team record for RBI’s in a season as they were led at the plate by Lauren Green who was 4-6 with 5 of those RBI’s.  Huskies Sweep 2
  • Upper Iowa completed 1 game of a planned doubleheader against the University of Mary, winning 7-1.  The 2nd game was rained out before it could be made official and won’t be made up.  Brian Solemsaas moved to 5-4 on the year with a complete game in the win as he allowed just 5 hits.  The Peacocks will host Augustana on Wednesday in an important matchup as UIU clings to the 6th spot in the NSIC standings.  Upper Iowa Defeats Mary
  • 3 series that were scheduled for this weekend will try to resume today if possible –

In other news of interest, New Mexico Highlands split their 4 game series with NCAA Central Region leader, Mesa State.  That should keep Highlands ranked in the top 4.  On the other hand, Colorado State – Pueblo had a terrible weekend, losing all 4 games to Nebraska – Kearney.  The #4 ranked team in last week’s poll should fall which will help Northern Sun contenders.

Tune in to Minnesota State v. Wayne State Live


I’ve been watching a couple D2 college baseball games online this afternoon.

One of the games to watch is Nebraska – Kearney who Northern Sun fans should be rooting for to sweep Colorado State – Pueblo.  Right now Kearney leads 7-4 in the 5th inning with bases loaded.  A win by Kearney might drop Pueblo behind a couple NSIC teams in the NCAA Regional poll.  Pueblo vs. Kearney Live

Of course the big Northern Sun game is Wayne State hosting Minnesota State.  The Wildcats took an early lead with 3 straight home runs in the bottom of the first inning but Minnesota State scored 7 runs in the 2nd inning on 8 hits to take a 7-3 lead.  You can follow their doubleheader here – Mavericks vs Wildcats Live 

Edit – No sooner had I posted this than Wayne State launched their 4th solo home run of the game to get the score to 7-4.

3:34pm Edit – Wayne State has scored 3 runs so far in the bottom of the 4th inning to get the score to 8-7.


Minnesota State won game 1 of their Sunday doubleheader, winning 13-10, despite 5 home runs by Wayne State (all solo blasts).  Also, Nebraska – Kearney did Northern Sun teams a huge favor by sweeping 4 games against Colorado State Pueblo this weekend as they won 13-4.  Pueblo almost has to fall below Minnesota State in the NCAA Central Region Rankings and it’s possible WSU and/or SMSU may even pass them.

Daily Posts

April 2009