Southwest Minnesota State – 2010 Preview

SW MN State

Today I continue with my series looking at the top teams in the Northern Sun Conference by previewing Southwest Minnesota State.  I chose them because they were the first school to post their roster and schedule for the year so it’s in deference to the fine job they’re doing at publishing information about the team.  I look back at their results in 2009, key roster transitions and what 2010 might hold for the team.

Southwest Minnesota State 2009 Results

Once again, I pull out the 2009 coaches poll to show how wrong they were about the success that the Mustangs would have in 2009.  Northern Sun coaches predicted a 7th place finish for the team –

Instead, the team finished with a 16-10 record in the NSIC (28-15 overall) and a solid 4th place finish in the the regular season to propel them into the Northern Sun Conference Postseason Tournament. 

What Went Right for SMSU?

The Mustangs really weren’t all that impressive in a number of statistical categories as they didn’t steal much, hardly through out a runner, didn’t use the sacrifice, didn’t turn double plays and had a Team ERA in the bottom half of Division 2 baseball.  So how did they do so well?

  • They made up for their lack of speed & creating runs by bashing the ball.  The team was 5th in the country for batting average and 3rd in slugging percentage. 
  • They just outscored their opponents on a regular basis, this included their record setting 34-1 beat down of Minnesota Duluth during non-conference play (SMSU Crushes Duluth 34-1)
  • While they didn’t turn many DP’s they did sport the Conference’s 2nd best fielding percentage

Here are the NCAA statistical rankings for Southwest Minnesota State as compared to the other 228 Division 2 teams in 2009:

image

Outlook for 2010

The Mustangs are definitely going to take a big hit on the offensive side in 2010 as they lose 6 of their 9 starters, including NSIC 1st Team All-Conference player, Derek West (LF).  They also lose Doug Stearns (C), Jake Munsch (RF), Greg Laughlin (2B), Scott Rambow (DH) and Josh Nolan (SS).  The players leaving accounted for 60% of the teams at-bats in 2009.  The good news is that they do return arguably their 2 biggest offensive stars.

  • Andrew Kinney (1B) was 1st Team All-Conference, hit .408 and led the team in HR’s, RBI’s and slugging.  He was recently named to the 3rd team pre-season NCBWA All-American Team.
  • Matt Bauer (3B) didn’t even make All-Conference but was 2nd on the team in HR’s, RBI’s & slugging.  He was recently named the #1 Third Baseman in D2 baseball for 2010 by NCBWA.

On the mound, the team does return a solid core of their pitchers as the returnees made 28 of 43 starts and their #1 save guy returns as well.  That said, they did suffer a big blow when Curtis Smith left the program this fall.  The 2009 2nd Team All-Conference pitcher led the team in wins and starts and was poised to be one of the top 2 starters (along with Adam Schrader).  No idea what happened but he was on the 2010 roster this fall (where he was named the Fall League Most Valuable Pitcher – Fall Awards) and then mysteriously disappeared from the roster. 

The loss of Smith would be the 3rd player who had eligibility remaining to not make it back to the Mustangs for 2010 (Doug Stearns & Doug Mead were the others).

The team doesn’t publish much about their incoming recruits and they really don’t get name players out of the Twin Cities so it’s hard for me to say much about what they have coming in to fill gaps. 

The Mustangs open their season on February 4th & 5th with 4 games against Minnesota Duluth at the Metrodome.  Once again, they play a relatively light non-conference schedule as their primary source of games is the Russ Matt Tourney in Winter Haven, FL.  That said, they did just announce their matchups for the Russ Matt and play a number of very good teams including Ashland (#7 in the CBN Pre-Season Poll), Grand Valley State (#20), Slippery Rock (#38) and a tough Nebraska Omaha team.  SMSU 2010 Baseball Schedule

With so much lost productivity from their offensive starters I’m going to predict a tougher go for the team in 2010 and could foresee a finish in the 5th – 8th spots for the upcoming season.

Southwest Minnesota State Baseball Site

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5 Responses to “Southwest Minnesota State – 2010 Preview”


  1. 1 John Plasha Sr. December 30, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    What happened to Stearns? He certianly made up for any shortcommings behind the plate with his better than average stick. I’m sure he will be missed this year.

  2. 2 Wow December 31, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I would like to thank John for sending me the Central Region Pre Season All-Americans named by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
    on Dec 28,2009.

    Here are the following NSIC players
    Brenden Furrow-Concordia
    Pat Lenton- Mankato MSU
    Joe Wendte-Wayne St.
    Eric Bond-Wayne St.
    Nate Baumann-Augustana
    Andrew Kinney-SMSU
    Login Birr-St.Cloud

    Good luck to all and glad to see Kinney get on the team.

  3. 3 LakeRegion January 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    The story didn’t mention, but SMSU did make the NCAA regional last year. It was a very solid year for SMSU.

  4. 5 John Plasha Sr. January 2, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I remember the their last game well. I was on the Wayne side of the stands for the 28 to 12 game at the Regionals in Grand Junction Co. I gave SWSU a lot of credit. Down at one point 27-3 they kept their heads up high and instead of throwing in the towel they scored 9 in the last 3 innings and had more than 1 Wayne fan wondering.


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