Archive for the 'Augustana Baseball' Category

2010 D2 College World Series – Day 3 Recap

NCAA Baseball Logo

Three days are complete in the 2010 NCAA Division 2 College World Series and so far the #1 ranked team, UC – San Diego, is living up to its ranking.  The Tritons have won 2 straight games, first beating #4 ranked Georgia College 3-2 on Saturday and yesterday beating #3 ranked Central Missouri 2-1 in 11 innings.  With that win they advance to the Bracket 1 Championship game and need to win just 1 of their next 2 games to make the overall Title Game.

Tomorrow, Georgia College will play Central Missouri for the right to play on again against San Diego.  2nd ranked Tampa was the first team eliminated from the College World Series.

In Bracket 2, Sunday’s winners, Kutztown and Southern Indiana play while Franklin Pierce faces off against Minnesota State in an elimination game.

All-American Teams

The Division 2 All-American Teams have been announced –

  • The Rawlings/ABCA All-American Team includes 2 Augustana players, Deryk Marks and Nate Baumann, on the 2nd team along with Wayne State’s Nick Bidroski, St. Cloud State’s Jordan Smith (the only Freshman) and Minnesota State’s Blake Schwartz on the 3rd team.
  • The Rawlings/ABCA Gold Glove Team featured no players from the Northern Sun Conference
  • The Daktronics All-American Team featured Marks & Baumann again on the 2nd team with St. Cloud State’s Jordan Smith & David Deminsky and Minnesota Duluth’s Tyler Erickson being named Honorable Mention.

Minnesota State Update

The Mavericks were forced by the weather to play a weird, late game on Sunday which they lost 8-6.  The game didn’t start until 11:02pm because of rain delays and didn’t finish until 2:28am on Monday morning.  The game wasn’t really as close as the score seemed to indicate as the team scored 5 late runs in the 9th inning.

One interesting note, Minnesota State’s coaches don’t seem to agree with the award givers.  Blake Schwartz won every Central Region & Conference award as the Pitcher of the Year.  He was even named 3rd team All-American (see above).  That said, for the 3rd straight weekend he’s been designated the #3 starter as the Mavericks went with Bret Mitchell in game #1 and Patrick Lenton in today’s game.  If they lose today he won’t have even pitched in the College World Series. 

2010 Rawlings/Coaches Central Region Gold Glove Teams

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The 2010 Rawlings/American Baseball Coaches Association Gold Glove Teams were announced today.  They named First and Second Teams for the Central Region.  The Northern Sun Conference got 6 of the 9 First Team members including Blake Schwartz who was earlier named Daktronics Central Region Pitcher of the Year.  He was joined by teammates Matt Odegaard (1B) and Danny Miller (OF).  Wayne State’s John Plasha Jr. (C), Augustana’s Deryk Marks (3B) and NSIC Freshman of the Year from St. Cloud State, Jordan Smith (OF) were also named to the First Team.

Only a pair of NSIC players made the 2nd Team – Tyler Erickson (SS) and Will Dahlgren (OF) both of Minnesota Duluth.

The Rawlings/ABCA Central Region First and Second Team was also announced yesterday and can be found here – Rawlings/ABCA 2010 Central Region Awards

Northern Sun Conference 2010 Postseason Awards

NSIC Logo

The Northern Sun Conference announced their 2010 Post Season Award winners today – NSIC Awards Press Release

PhotoNSIC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
#23 Nate Baumann
(OF/C, 6-1, 200, Jr., R/R, Marshall, Minn. /Marshall HS)
Augustana College

Nate Baumann was picked by the league coaches at the 2010 NSIC Baseball Player of the Year. Baumann led the NSIC in hitting (.476), slugging percentage (.857) and runs scored (55). He was second in total bases (108), tied for third in hits (60) and was fourth in on base percentage (.537), plate appearance (147) and in homeruns (11). His 41 runs batted in placed him seventh in the league. He was also picked as the NSIC Player of the Week on May 6th after he batted .630 for the week with five homeruns.

PhotoNSIC PITCHER OF THE YEAR
#37 Blake Schwartz
(RHP, 6-3, 205, So., R/R, Rosemount, Minn. / Rosemount HS)
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Blake Schwartz was deemed NSIC Pitcher of the Year by the league coaches after he led the NSIC in starts (9), wins (7) and innings pitched (59.0). His 2.59 ERA was the second lowest in the NSIC this season and his 21 runs allowed (17 earned) was tied for fifth best. His 45 strikeouts were also good for fifth in the league while he held his opponents’ batting average to .241 (sixth best in the NSIC). Schwartz was named NSIC Pitcher of the Week on May 6th after he pitched a 5-0 complete game shutout over St. Cloud State.

PhotoNSIC NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
#7 Deryk Marks
(IF/C, 5-10, 180, R/R, Jr., Cottage Grove, Minn. / Iowa Central CC)
Augustana College

Derek Marks was chosen as the NSIC Newcomer of the Year after leading the league in runs batted in (54) and double (16). He was second in hits (61) and sac flies (4) and third in hitting (.459), at bats (133) and total bases (104). He was eighth in the league with nine homeruns and ninth in slugging percentage (.782). Marks was named NSIC Player of the Week on February 9th he batted .833 (5-6) at the Metrodome against Rockhurst.

PhotoNSIC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
#14 Jordan Smith
(OF, 6-4, 205, FR., R/L, Willmar, Minn. / Willmar HS)
St. Cloud State

Jordan Smith was voted NSIC Freshman of the Year by the league coaches. Smith was third in the leage in slugging percentage (.829) and fifth in total bases (97). He was sixth in runs scored (41) and seventh in on base percentage (.511) and doubles (13). His 51 hits and 40 runs batted in were tied for eighth best in the league while his .436 batting average was tenth best. Smith was named NSIC Player of the Week twice during the season (March 8th and April 24th).

PhotoNSIC COACH OF THE YEAR
Bob Rients
5th Season
Minnesota Duluth

Bob Rients was voted by his peers as the 2010 NSIC Coach of the Year after he led the Bulldogs to a 22-10 league record and a tie for fourth place. The Bulldogs, predicted to finish ninth in the NSIC Coaches’ Preseason Poll, picked up six more league wins than a year ago and moved up five spots in the conference standings after going 16-16 last season for a ninth place league finish.

In his fifth season as head coach of the Bulldogs, Rients first arrived on the UMD campus in the fall of 1997 after transferring from the University of Minnesota, Crookston. He lettered two years (1998-99) with the Bulldogs as an outfielder before moving on to the coaching arena.

Rients, a native of Elysian, Minn., earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from UMD in 2000 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education.

They also announced their First Team All-Conference, Second Team All-Conference and Gold Glove Teams –

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Congratulations to all of the award winners.

Minnesota State Wins Conference Title – Final 6 Set

NSIC Logo

Winona State split with Concordia today while Minnesota State swept St. Cloud State which means the Mavericks win the Northern Sun Conference regular season title.  Congratulations are in order but judging by comments made by many on this board in the comments over the past few days, many other programs may not be quick to offer their well wishes.

Minnesota Duluth, Southwest Minnesota State and Wayne State all swept their doubleheaders today which leaves Augustana on the outside looking in for the NSIC Postseason tourney which will begin on Wednesday in St. Cloud.

More info on the NSIC Tourney will come next week.  It may be especially interesting to see what transpires between the Mavs & Huskies going forward.

Last Chance For Vikings

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No – not the Minnesota Vikings.

The Augustana Vikings are still in 7th place and hoping for a miracle.  They almost got it yesterday in an unexpected place.  The common perception (by me) was that their best chance to make the 6 team Northern Sun Tournament would be for Minnesota Duluth to lose a game (and win the tiebreaker) or to lose 2 games and take 6th place outright.  With just 2 games to go in the season today there are actually multiple options for them –

  1. Duluth could still lose today but that looks less likely after a dominating day against Upper Iowa yesterday.  The Bulldog bats put up 38 runs and 37 hits in their doubleheader.  That said, it just takes 1 hot Peacock pitcher.
  2. Southwest Minnesota State could lose another game to Mary who has been competitive all year.  SMSU and Augustana split their 4 game series and I haven’t looked at the tiebreaker options for those 2.
  3. Finally, the unthinkable almost happened yesterday as Wayne State almost lost a game against winless Crookston.  Just 1 loss by Wayne will put them out of the playoffs in all likelihood by virtue of the game they didn’t play against Concordia.

Speaking of Concordia, they got swept by Winona State which now gives the Warriors a share of first place.  As I predicted, St. Cloud State and Minnesota State split their games.  A sweep by either today guarantees a share of the conference title.

The King is Dead

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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

And Down The Stretch They Come

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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

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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

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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.

First 2 Weeks of Northern Sun Play Complete

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We are 2 weeks into the Northern Sun Conference’s league games and there seems to be a clear division between the haves and the have nots.  The top 6 teams are a combined 37-3 and have outscored the other 7 teams 476-134.  Poor Minnesota Crookston is losing by an average score of 15-1 (and that’s rounding up).

News of Note –

  • Wayne State has only lost 2 games but the fact that they won 3 of 4 from 2 different teams that they easily swept last year (Bemidji State and Minnesota Duluth) is another sign that this team isn’t quite as good as last years squad.  They would seem to be doing okay at 6-2  but that already drops them 2 games behind a number of other top contenders.  Last year’s Wildcats were 27-4 in league play so they have to go on quite the streak to match them.
  • Wayne State’s 1 loss this weekend was dealt by Duluth’s starting pitcher, Anders Engberg.  The Burnsville, MN native was dominant in the 2nd half of 2009 and earned 2nd team all-conference accolades as a freshman but was battling early season arm troubles.  It looks like he may be coming back into form.  If that’s the case, he can be hard to beat anytime he starts so it will be interesting to see how St. Cloud State fares after facing 2 cupcakes.  Duluth’s coaching staff would probably do well to go with him in one of the 7 inning contests as they did against Wayne State.
  • Winona State’s head coach, Kyle Poock, won his 200th game as coach of the Warriors.  The 2 wins on Saturday gave him an overall record of 200-148-1 in 7 seasons as head coach which include 5 straight winning seasons.  Winona went on to sweep all 4 games against Crookston to kick off their NSIC title hopes.    Poock Gets 200th Win
  • 2 of the more dominant pitchers so far this season are freshman from Minnesota’s Lake Conference –
    • St. Cloud State is loaded with great pitching stats and the pitcher with the best line so far is Shawn Riesgraf, a freshman from Chaska.  Riesgraf improved to 5-0 over the weekend and leads all Huskies pitchers with a 1.40 ERA and .174 BAA.  While not nearly as heralded as his pitching teammate from the 2008 class (Brad Hand) he was highly recruited by Minnesota State and others.
    • Augustana’s Grant Larson doesn’t have quite the same ERA but he leads the Vikings with a 4-0 record.  The freshman from Burnsville, MN does need to work on some control issues as he’s already hit 11 batters in just 28.2 innings of work.
  • The big series for the coming week will be the home and home series between Minnesota State and Southwest Minnesota State.  These 2 teams split the only 2 games they played last year.  With the Mavericks finishing just 1 game out of first place in 2009, it was a costly loss. 

Northern Sun Team Statistics

NSIC Logo

The NCAA has started publishing their Division 2 baseball statistics for the 2009-10 season which gives us a great way to compare the different teams within the NSIC against each other and see how they stack up nationally.  NCAA Statistics Tool (Choose Division II and then lots of selections to get to the Northern Sun list).

Here’s how the teams rank among all 225 D2 baseball programs:

Batting Average

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St. Cloud State leads all Northern Sun teams with a team batting average of .354 which ranks 12th in all of Division 2 baseball.  Augustana and Minnesota State also look like they are having very good years at the plate.  Every other team in the Conference ranks in the bottom half of D2.  We’ve previously chronicled the problems at the plate for perennial power Wayne State.  Even with a strong weekend at Bemidji they still rank in the bottom 20% (although the Monday games aren’t in the stats).

Most of the other hitting categories are very similar.

Stolen Bases Per Game

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Another measure to look at is which teams are creating scoring opportunities and using stolen bases to put pressure on the defense and pitchers.   As you can see, it’s a lot of the same teams but this statistic is obviously a measure of how often you are on base too which shows up in the batting average.  It may be more useful to look at which ones are different such as Mary which has a low batting average but a much higher steal ranking and Bemidji State who has a decent batting average but looks like they hardly ever steal.

Earned Run Average

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I said early on in my preview that Minnesota State was going to be in good shape with their pitching and that shows up as they are ranked 11th nationally (and 8th nationally in hits allowed/game).  Among the other top teams, St. Cloud State is pitching well as are Winona State and Wayne State.  Mary’s pitchers are doing very well which is a surprise.  Augustana is sitting at 4-0 in the Conference standings but it looks like they are going to be fighting the opposite issue of Wayne State this year (good pitching, average hitting).  Minnesota Duluth is much improved compared to last year when their pitching at the beginning of the year was awful. 

Fielding Percentage

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The Northern Sun Conference sports 4 teams ranked among the top 20 teams in D2 baseball in regards to fielding.  Once again we see St. Cloud State and Minnesota State near the top of the rankings showing that these teams are solid in all phases of the game.  Southwest Minnesota State is a bit of an enigma since they’ve played few games so far but being last in fielding and middle of the pack in other categories doesn’t bode well for a team that made the NCAA Regional Tourney last year.

Individual Stats

It should be noted some great rankings so far among NSIC players –

  • Zach Rowles of Minnesota State is 10th nationally with a .508 Batting Average
  • Mary’s Andy Leer leads the country in Triples per Game
  • Wayne State’s Nick Bidroski is 6th in the country with a .607 On Base Percentage
  • Minnesota Duluth’s Tyler Erickson is 20th in Stolen Bases per Game
  • St. Cloud State Freshman Shawn Riesgraf is 17th nationally with a 1.19 Earned Run Average.  Their are 6 NSIC pitchers in the top 50 including 2 from Mary
  • Josh Voth of Wayne State is 2nd in Walks Allowed per 9 Innings as he only allows .43 per full game

Conclusions

While these make for interesting analysis, they are somewhat meaningless from the standpoint of comparing teams since every team plays different levels of non conference schedules.  Last year at this time St. Cloud State was also near the top of every Conference ranking and finished outside the Top 6 NSIC teams.  I do think their early schedule was much improved this year.


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