Archive for October, 2009

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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St Cloud State – 2010 Baseball Schedule

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St. Cloud State has posted their baseball schedule for the upcoming 2010 baseball season – St. Cloud State – 2010 Baseball Schedule

In addition to just posting the schedule they came out with their own press release with highlights for the upcoming year (and saved me from doing the analysis) – SCSU 2010 Baseball Schedule Press Release

As you’ll read in the press release, some of the highlights include:

  • 20 games at the Metrodome including their first 2 Conference series against Minnesota Crookston and the University of Mary.  This guarantees that the Huskies will get all 8 of those games in early in the season – and those 8 games are ones in which they should be heavily favored so it helps them to make sure they get played.  An interesting thing that happens with all the dome games is that the team is only scheduled to play 10 home games in St. Cloud this season.
  • They have significantly upgraded their non-conference schedule.  A huge criticism of the team last year was their weak non-conference line-up.  The team came into conference play with gaudy statistics (especially the pitchers) but were unable to parlay that into a Top 6 finish.  This years team, especially with their strong recruiting class, should be squarely in the conference title hunt and a better non-conference schedule both prepares them better and improves their chances of further post-season play.  Central Missouri, UNO, Southern Arkansas and Ouachita Baptist are all teams that were in the national Top 25 polls during the 2009 season.
  • The teams 4 conference opponents that they don’t face are Bemidji State, Upper Iowa, Winona State & Southwest Minnesota State.  Those last 3 teams are all tough squads so that should help them have a pretty good chance to do well in the Northern Sun standings.

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Bemidji State – 2010 Baseball Schedule

Bemidji State Beavers

Bemidji State has posted their baseball schedule for the upcoming 2010 baseball season – 2010 Bemidji State Baseball Schedule

Here are a few interesting things to notice –

  • The Beavers play their first 14 games at the Metrodome.  Lots of trips to the Twin Cities but they do have them on back to back days most of the time.  If they implode the Metrodome some day it will really hurt D2 baseball.
  • Bemidji State is the first team to announce its schedule that “isn’t” going to the Russ Matt spring tourney.  In fact, BSU is only taking a short 3 day trip in the early spring to play tough games against Emporia State in Missouri and then on to Arkansas Tech.  They do finish the season with 4 games in Montana.
  • The team plays every other Northern Sun Conference team.  They play a non-conference series against all 4 teams not on their regular schedule during their Metrodome swing.  Those include Minnesota Crookston, Northern State, St. Cloud State and Minnesota State.
  • It looks like once again Wayne State may be a big beneficiary of Northern Sun scheduling.  What are the chances that Bemidji’s field will be ready March 20th?  Last year, Minnesota Duluth gave up an early home series and had to make the 8 hour drive to Nebraska in March.  Looks like Wayne State could benefit from this again.  The Conference should schedule southern teams with home games in March and force them to travel to more away games later. 

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Minnesota Crookston – 2010 Baseball Schedule

Crookston Golden Eagles

The University of Minnesota Crookston has posted their baseball schedule for the upcoming 2010 season – Minnesota Crookston 2010 Schedule

The Golden Eagles kick off their season with 6 winnable games at the Metrodome.  Bemidji State should be favored but games against the leagues last place team, Northern State, and D3’s UW-Stout should be match-ups they can win.  Like every other Northern Sun Conference team that has announced their schedule, Crookston is heading to Winter Haven, FL for the Russ Matt Tournament in March.  As a side note, the season opening games on February 5th at the Metrodome are also scheduled games for Southwest Minnesota State against Minnesota Duluth so there’s a chance to see 4 NSIC teams play that day (although there seems to be a time issue as SWMS lists a DH starting at noon and UMC lists a DH starting a 2pm – something’s messed up).

It’s interesting that they went ahead and scheduled their first Conference games at the Metrodome against St. Cloud State.  Those will be considered home games.  Crookston’s 4 Conference foes that they don’t play are Bemidji State, Northern State, Augustana and Minnesota State.  It’s a tough schedule as they don’t get to play the 11th & 13th place teams in last year’s standings.  They do sprinkle in a few more winnable non-Conference games during the Conference schedule against Valley City, Mayville State, Concordia-Moorhead, Jamestown and another Bemidji State matchup.  All of those extra games may prove taxing on the pitching and grades.

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Minnesota State – 2010 Baseball Schedule

Minnesota State

Minnesota State has posted their schedule for the upcoming 2010 baseball season – Minnesota State 2010 Baseball Schedule

The Mavericks open their season on the road in Lakewood, CO against RMAC’s Colorado Christian – a team at the bottom of their Conference last year.  They then play a pair of non-conference doubleheaders at the Metrodome against Bemidji State before heading to Winter Haven, FL for the Russ Matt Tourney.  So far 5 teams from the Northern Sun Conference are playing in the Russ Matt.

In conference play the team avoids playing Winona State, Minnesota Crookston, Bemidji State and Augustana.  This team finished a close 2nd last season in the conference and advanced to the NCAA Regional.  They did lose some key contributors but once again had a solid recruiting class that should help assure that they will be competing for a top 3 position this year.

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Augustana – 2010 Baseball Schedule

augustana

Augustana has posted their schedule for the upcoming 2010 baseball season.  Augustana 2010 Schedule

The Vikings open their season at the Metrodome on February 3rd and again on February 7th against an unnamed opponent.  I guess that means they have the place rented and are looking for someone to come play with them.  They have 3 spring trips planned – Colorado on February 13-14, Missouri on February 27-28 and the Russ Matt Invitational in Winter Haven, FL March 11-17.  That means all 4 teams that I have seen schedules for are heading to the Russ Matt (UMD is heading there but hasn’t posted it online). 

Within the Northern Sun Conference the Augies will avoid playing Minnesota State, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota Crookston & Mary which gives them one of the tougher schedules on paper.  One highly favorable thing is that they won’t have to do a ton of traveling during the Conference season.  It’s highly likely that Bemidji will end up playing in Sioux Falls (Bemidji in March?).

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