Archive for October 29th, 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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