Archive for April, 2010

The King is Dead

image

We are down to 6 games remaining in the Northern Sun regular season and the race for first place is essentially down to 3 teams.  6 time King of the Northern Sun regular season title, Wayne State, will not win it in 2010 after losing 5 of their last 6 games.  Instead, this season’s champion will more than likely be decided between Winona State, St. Cloud State and Minnesota State.

Battle For First

All 3 teams do have tough roads ahead as Winona State plays 2 against 4th place SMSU and then finishes with 4 games against a surging Concordia.  That said, they do have to be the favorites. 

That’s because St. Cloud State plays 2 on Wednesday against Wayne State while Minnesota State plays 2 against Concordia and these 2 teams finish the season with a 4 game series against each other.  That 4 game set has “split” written all over it.

Battle For Top 6

Besides these tough games at the top of the schedule a lot of the teams competing for the 4-6 spots have somewhat easy finishing weekends (on paper).  Concordia’s path is difficult and the 1 game they didn’t play probably is costly, therefore it’s probably Augustana who has the best opportunity to leap into the NSIC Post Season Tourney.  Minnesota Duluth holds the final spot right now and finishes with Upper Iowa.  Last season they had a chance to sweep the Peacocks for 6th place and may have to sweep them this year to hold onto their spot as it’s unlikely that the Vikings will lose a game against Northern State.

Other News

The top 3 teams in the Northern Sun currently hold spots 2-4 in the NCAA’s Central Region Rankings which means they would all make the NCAA Regional Tourney even if their are upset winners in the NSIC and RMAC Tourney’s.  Of course, that could change, especially since Mesa State is making a very strong late surge in the RMAC.  NCAA Regional Rankings

In the Monday April 26th rankings, College Baseball News has St. Cloud State ranked #29 and Winona State in a tie for #30 – College Baseball News Poll

Advertisements

And Down The Stretch They Come

image

Last year at this time it was already down to just a 2 team race between Wayne State and Minnesota State to determine the Northern Sun Conference regular season champion.  One year later there looks like a lot more parity at the top as 5 teams are within 2 games of the title with 12 games remaining in the season.

Weekend Recap

In the weekends top matchup, St. Cloud State and Augustana split their 4 game series.  Augustana has now lost 9 of their last 12 NSIC games after an 8-0 start and is in danger of missing the post season tourney.  In all fairness, they are coming off of a brutal schedule of Winona State, Wayne State and St. Cloud State.  The Huskies probably control their own fate but they have their own scheduling nightmare in the coming weeks.  Augie Baseball Splits Again

Winona State holds onto the top spot in the Northern Sun by taking 3 of 4 against Mary.  In their one win, Mary’s Ryan Schnell pitched a 9 inning complete game to get the win giving up just 2 earned runs in a 6-3 victory.  Warriors Win 3 of 4

Northern State won just their 2nd game of the season in the weekends most surprising victory as they split on Sunday with Wayne State to keep the Wildcats out of a share of first place.  After the pounding they took in 2009 it must have been satisfying to at least win some measure of payback.  You have to wonder whether this unexpected loss will play a role in Wayne’s ability to win their 7th straight NSIC title.  Wayne State Splits With Northern

Minnesota Duluth had its 2nd straight 4 win weekend to move into the outright 6th spot in the standings and a possible place in the NSIC Tourney.  Freshman pitcher, Eric Hummel, moved to 4-0 on the season in the opening game.  Bulldogs Complete 2nd Sweep

Southwest Minnesota State swept all 4 of their games against Upper Iowa to extend their undefeated streak to 11 games.  After a 4-5 start they are in the thick of the NSIC race, although having the conference’s easiest schedule hasn’t hurt.  Andrew Kinney became the school’s all-time home run leader during the weekend along the way.  Mustangs Complete Sweep of UIU

Finally, Concordia has made a late surge winning 8 of their last 9 games and is in the hunt for a Playoff spot.  Pitcher Nick Anderson got both a save and a win in Sunday’s sweep of Minnesota Crookston.  Concordia Gets Sweep

Remaining Games

Most teams have 12 games remaining so in trying to project who will be the NSIC champion (and who makes the playoffs) has a lot to do with who each team plays from here on out.  Here are the teams remaining series –

Winona State – SMSU, UMD, CSP

Wayne State – SCSU, MSU, UMC

Minnesota State – CSP, Wayne, SCSU

SCSU – Wayne, NSU, MSU

SMSU – Winona, Aug, Mary

UMD – UMC, Winona, UIU

Augustana – UIU, SMSU, NSU

Concordia – MSU, BSU, Winona

Wayne State’s chances to win their 7th straight crown will be decided in the next 8 games.  They have 2 tough series in a row and those 8 difficult games are in an 8 day stretch with the last 6 of them on the road.

Free For All

image

I apologize to my readers as business is going quite well right now and I’m finding little time (and motivation) to devote to blogging about baseball right now (especially since I’m way more interested in the Twins).

It was an interesting weekend – the Augustana vs. Wayne State pair of games tomorrow should be big, especially for the Vikings.  Winona State at Upper Iowa and Duluth at Minnesota State are not gimmies for the higher ranked teams either.

The Free For All?  In addition to the teams on the field, it’s up to the readers to have it out with each other and keep the thread going this week.

Now – back to selling houses where I finished up a deal for a buyer yesterday and am negotiation on an offer for a seller I represent today. 🙂

A 5 Horse Race Shaping Up in Northern Sun & NCAA D2 Presidents Hate Sports

image

While it seems like the Northern Sun Regular Season just got started we are actually approaching the halfway mark (each team is scheduled for 32 games).  At this point of the season it looks like a 5 team race for the top spot and quite possibly a 5 team race for the 6th and final spot in the Northern Sun Postseason Tourney. 

Top 5 Race

St. Cloud State and Winona State sit atop the standings with only 1 loss each.  While the Huskies technically lead you need to factor in their weaker schedule so far.  Minnesota State has looked like they might be the best team but split a doubleheader against Minnesota Duluth on Wednesday to drop a game behind those 2 in the loss column.  Wayne State swept their midweek set against Augustana to keep themselves in the title hunt and drop the Vikings into 4th.  Had Augustana reversed the result it might have eliminated the Wildcats from the Conference title.  Keep in mind that they won it last year with just 4 losses.

News of Note

  • Minnesota State may be in 3rd place but they are ranked in all 3 national polls coming in at #24 in the Coaches College Baseball News poll, #23 in the Writers NCBWA poll and #25 in the PING Baseball poll (which gives very little credit to NSIC teams).  Mavericks in polls
  • St. Cloud State isn’t ranked in 2 of the polls but does beat out Minnesota State in the NSCBWA poll coming in at #13 for the 2nd week in a row.  Huskies Ranked #13
  • In what may be the most important news for NSIC teams – it’s looking more and more possible that the Northern Sun Conference could possibly get 4 of the 6 spots in the NCAA Central Region Tourney.  Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference teams are struggling.  Only New Mexico Highlands, Mesa State and Metro State have above .500 records in the RMAC and Metro has a 15-14 overall record.  Nebraska Kearney has a decent 20-14 overall record but is only 9-10 in RMAC games.  RMAC Week 10 Release  Northern Sun teams hold 4 of the top 5 spots in the most recent NCBWA Central Region poll – NCBWA Regional Polls

NCAA At It Again

Finally, the NCAA is doing it’s very best to neuter Division II sports even more.  They recently implemented their new “Life in Balance” project which cut down the number of athletic contests in many sports, including baseball.  Starting next year Division 2 baseball goes from 56 maximum games to 50.  On March 31st they announced phase 2 of their effort –

presidents and chancellors promised to extend the balance-driven review to other aspects of the playing and practice season

These holier than thou, overpaid overseers of D2 institutions have decided that sports should play just a minor part of a students college experience – all the while they are raking in millions in tuition from athletes at their schools while giving out paltry amounts of scholarships.  Their proposals are mainly around reducing time athletes spend on sports in the offseason – “

they would consider changes that reduce athletics time commitments during the nonchampionship segment. 

Proposals include –

  • maintain the 45-day period in which to conduct 24 days of practice or competition but preclude any athletically related activities from being conducted during the remaining 21 days – So no weight training except during the 24 days
  • amend the start date of the nonchampionship segment for spring and winter sports, which currently is September 7 or the first day of classes…later date could be adopted to give these student-athletes more time to acclimate to campus life before beginning their sport-related activities. – That’s really helpful to Northern Schools in trying to get in fall workouts and scrimmages now isn’t it.

For more details on these proposals you can read the press release here – NCAA Life In Balance Phase 2 Proposals

Week 3 Kicks Off On Thursday – Mav’s Rule!

Weekend Preview

Week 3 of the Northern Sun Conference kicked off today with many teams playing Thursday-Friday doubleheaders.  This week we have a number of interesting matchups and already we are seeing some of the lower level teams knock off the title contenders.

Thursday Results –

The biggest series of the weekend is the home & home series between Minnesota State and Southwest Minnesota State.  The Mavericks were picked in the preseason coaches poll to win the NSIC in 2010 and so far the coaches look like they were on to something.  Minnesota State came out of the games with 2 dominating performances on both offense and pitching to move to 9-1 in the conference, winning 11-1 & 8-2.  Game 1 saw the Mustangs have the 10 run rule implemented as Patrick Lenton pitched a complete game gem in 7 innings to move to 6-2 on the season.  He gave up just 4 hits to go with 5 K’s and no walks.  Game 2 saw an equally impressive pitching performance by Blake Schwartz who moved to 6-0 on the season.  These 2 teams will play again tomorrow in Marshall.  Mavericks Sweep Mustangs

St. Cloud State also claimed a 7 inning, 10 run rule game in their 12-2 win over Minnesota Duluth today.  David Deminsky, the NSIC Pitcher of the Week last week, went the distance to get the win.  Sam Radbil hit a grand slam in the game to lead the offensive attack.  The Bulldogs did come back in game 2 to give the Huskies their first Conference loss of the season as they won 9-6.  It was an off day for Logan Birr – both Tyler Erickson and Brian Burmann had home runs for Duluth.

Concordia St Paul got their first win of the season as they split a doubleheader with Wayne State.  The Wildcats eeked out the first game in 9 innings by a score of 13-12 in a game that featured 39 hits between the 2 teams.  Joe Wendte had a huge day for them as he was 5-6 with 2 HR’s, 3 RBI’s and 4 runs scored.  Concordia might have won but they left 17 runners on base in the game.  In the 2nd game Concordia got a great pitching performance from Chris Peterson (2-1) as he pitched a complete game to lead the Golden Bears to a 7-2 victory.  Bryan Lippincott was huge on the day as he was 6-10 with 4 runs, 5 RBI’s and 2 homers to lead Concordia offensively. 

Other News –

Some other information came out this week of interest including:

  • Minnesota State issued an update on their former players who are in the Minor Leagues – Mavs In The Minors
  • Cody Wilcoxson of Concordia continues to post regularly on his Ping! blog.  He’s already posted on it 16 times – Breaking the Losing Woes
  • Augustana easily beat Morningside College today in a non-conference game by a score of 11-2 – Vikings Baseball Cruises
  • St. Cloud State jumped to #13 in the NCBWA poll this week and into a tie for the top spot in the Central Region.  Minnesota State, Winona State and Augustana are also in the all important Top 6 – NCBWA Regional Polls

Players of the Week

I’m a little behind but I should at least acknowledge the Players of the Week for the 8th week of NSIC play – NSIC Week 8 Release

NSIC Player of the Week
Photo#2 Derick Swenson
OF, 5-7, 165, Sr., R/R
Alexandria, Minn.
Alexandria HS
SMSU

Derick Swenson helped lead SMSU to a 5-1 week, including 4-0 in NSIC play, batting .609 with 14 hits in 23 at bats. Swenson finished with four doubles, three home runs and one triple and added nine RBI. He finished with a slugging percentage of 1.261 and an on-base percentage of .679 as he also recorded three walks, two hit by pitches and stole two bases.

NSIC Pitcher of the Week
Photo#27 David Deminsky
LHP, 6-3, 205, SR., L/L
Sartell, Minn.
Sartell HS
St. Cloud State

David Deminsky improved to 5-1 on the year with a complete seven inning shutout on the mound in a 15-0 win over the University of Mary. He gave up just four hits and finished the game with 11 strikeouts. Deminsky is currently tied for with Nick Anderson (Brainerd) with a team-high 57 strikeouts on the season.


Daily Posts

April 2010
M T W T F S S
« Mar   May »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  
Advertisements