Archive for the 'D2 Baseball' Category



NCAA Division 2 Central Region Tournament – May 13-17, Farmington, NM

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The NCAA Division 2 Central Region Baseball Tournament will take place May 13-17, 2010 in Farmington, New Mexico.  It is being hosted by the #1 seed, New Mexico Highlands and will be played at Ricketts Field (pictured above).  The field has a seating capacity of over 6,100 and its dimensions are RF-330, RCF-370, CF-400, LCF-370, and LF-330.

The winner of the double elimination NCAA Regional Tournament will earn an invitation to the 8 team, NCAA Division 2 College World Series to be played May 22-29 in Cary, NC.

Game Schedule (All Times MST):
May 13th (games at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.) 
Game 2 – #5 University of Nebraska-Kearney vs. #2 Minnesota State (11:00 am)
Game 3 -  #4 Winona State vs. #3 Mesa State College (3:00 pm)
Game 1 -  #6 St. Cloud State vs.#1 New Mexico Highlands University (7:00 pm)

The online tournament site is posted here – http://www.nmhucowboys.com/

Bracket – NCAA Central Region Bracket

Live Stats – Central Region Live Stats

Minnesota State Wins Northern Sun Tournament

Minnesota State

For the 2nd straight year, Minnesota State has won the Northern Sun Conference post season Tournament.  This win gives the Mavericks both the regular season and post season trophies along with an automatic bid into the NCAA Division 2 Central Region Tournament. 

The team beat Southwest Minnesota State by a score of 6-5 to earn the title and will await the announcement of the 6 teams to make the Central Region Tournament tonight.  It’s expected that Winona State and St. Cloud State will also make the NCAA Tourney as representatives from the NSIC.  The selection show can be watched live at 9pm Central here – NCAA Selection Show.  The biggest suspense may be where the Central Region games will be located.  The NCAA has a nice Division 2 baseball recap posted here – NCAA Division 2 – Final Countdown

Minnesota State’s Zach Rowles (Junior – Shortstop) was named Tournament MVP. 

All-Tournament Team
1B – Andrew Kinney, SMSU
2B – Matt Kuchenbecker, MSU
3B – Orry Enebretsen, UMD
SS – Zach Rowles, MSU
OF – Derick Swenson, SMSU
OF – Joey Benke, SCSU
OF – Aaron Berner, MSU
C – Brian Burman, UMD
P – Bret Mitchell, MSU
P – Jared Pick, SMSU
DH – Pat Dockendorf, MSU

3 For 1

SW MN State Minnesota Duluth Minnesota State

There are 3 teams left battling for the top spot in the Northern Sun Tournament.  Southwest Minnesota State will play Minnesota Duluth at 11am today with the winner facing off against top seeded Minnesota State for the Tourney Title and an NCAA automatic bid.

We got to this point as Minnesota State won a pair of games yesterday, eliminating Winona State 20-4 and giving Duluth their first loss by a score of 7-6 in 11 innings.  Meanwhile, Southwest Minnesota State knocked St. Cloud State out of the tournament with a 5-3 win. 

In a strange twist, the St. Cloud State Huskies will now be best served by rooting for the Mavericks to win the Tourney giving them the clearest path to an at-large bid to the NCAA Tourney.

RMAC Update

RMAC Baseball

The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference is holding their postseason tournament this weekend as well.  The top 3 seeds are left in contention with #1 seed, New Mexico Highlands, needing just 1 more win to capture the automatic NCAA bid –

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With St. Cloud State in the region’s 5th spot and Nebraska Kearney in the 6th spot, most Northern Sun fans should be rooting for Kearney to get knocked out of their next game against Mesa State.  That might allow the NSIC to get 4 of the 6 spots in the NCAA Central Region Tourney if Minnesota Duluth can win the Tourney and gain the Northern Sun’s automatic bid.

Minnesota Duluth Only Undefeated Team Left

Minnesota Duluth

The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs surprised many this year by finishing 4th in the regular season standings.  They’ve continued to surprise in the post season as they beat the #3 seed, St. Cloud State, on Thursday and beat the #2 seed, Winona State, today by a score of 8-5.  Bulldogs Advance in Tourney  If they win 2 more games they will qualify for the NCAA Tourney.

On the day that Minnesota State’s Blake Schwartz was named NSIC Pitcher of the Year, St. Cloud State was able to pound him for 8 runs and stay alive in the Tourney by winning 9-4.  Huskies Beat Mavericks 9-4

Tomorrow will kick off with 2 elimination games as the top 2 seeds, Minnesota State and Winona State square off at Noon with the loser eliminated.  That game is followed by another elimination game featuring St. Cloud State and Southwest Minnesota State.  The winner of Friday’s first game will try to stay alive by beating Minnesota Duluth at 7pm.   NSIC Tourney Site

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.

Latest Central Region Rankings Released

NCAA Baseball Logo

The NCAA released their latest Regional Rankings today – NCAA D2 Regional Rankings 5/5/10

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Minnesota State and Winona State look safe for receiving bids to the NCAA Division 2 Regional Tournament, especially now that they’ve each won a game in the NSIC Tournament.  St. Cloud State still needs to sweat it out if the don’t do well in the tournament and/or there are teams ranked lower than #6 that earn automatic bids.  Minnesota Duluth and Southwest Minnesota State probably need to win the Tournament to make it.  Wayne State for sure needs to win the Tournament to make it.

NSIC Post Season Baseball Tournament – 2010 Edition

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The 2010 Northern Sun Conference baseball tournament starts today in St. Cloud, MN at Joe Faber Field. The 6 teams will play a double elimination format tournament which is scheduled to be played Wednesday thru Saturday, with the winner getting an automatic bid into the NCAA Division 2 Baseball Central Region Tournament.  In 2009, Minnesota State came in as the 2nd seed, lost their first game and then won 5 straight to win the Tournament Title.

2010 Participants

My thanks to Minnesota State for doing a nice little recap of the teams participating which you can see below.  You can find more details on each team at their link.

#1-Seeded Minnesota State The Mavericks baseball squad (36-12 overall, 25-7 NSIC) won the NSIC regular season title.  Sophomore pitcher, Blake Schwartz, was just named Player of the Week and leads the team with a 10-1 record.  The Mavericks are coached by Matt Magers  Minnesota State Preview

#2-Seeded Winona State: The Warriors finished the regular-season 35-12 overall and 24-8 in NSIC action. Warrior sophomore Tony Mueller leads WSU at the plate with a .438 clip and a team-low 4.83 ERA. The Warriors are coached by Kyle Poock.  (no preview listed)

#3-Seeded St. Cloud State:
The Huskies finished the regular-season 36-13 overall and 23-9 in the NSIC. St. Cloud freshman Jordan Smith leads the Huskies in nearly all offensive categories, while David Deminsky owns a team-low 2.95 ERA. The Huskies are coached by Pat Dolan.  St. Cloud State Preview

#4-Seeded Minnesota Duluth:
The Bulldogs finished the regular-season 34-18 overall and 22-10 in NSIC action. Minnesota Duluth junior Tyler Erickson leads UMD at the plate, owner of a .439 batting average. Junior Josh Foreman leads the team in wins with six. The Bulldogs are coached by Bob Rients.  Minnesota Duluth Preview

#5-Seeded Southwest Minnesota State:
The Mustangs finished the regular-season 26-16 overall and 22-10 in the NSIC. SWMS junior Cody Curry leads the Mustangs at the plate with a .460 clip, while senior Adam Schrader has been successful on the mound, going 5-3 with a team-low 2.97 ERA. The Mustangs are coached by Paul Blanchard.  SWMS Preview

#6-Seeded Wayne State: The Wildcats finished the regular-season 26-21 overall and 21-10 in the NSIC. Wayne State senior Joe Wendte leads WSC in nearly all offensive categories, while sophomore Austen Wisroth owns a 5-3 record and a team-low 3.00 ERA. The Wildcats are coached by Brian Disch.  Wayne State Preview

Tournament Website

The NSIC Tournament has its own website where fans can follow along with updated Live Stats and an In Tournament Blog.  The Blog is done by St. Cloud State who is hosting the Tourney.  They’ve been doing it all year and it’s quite well done and allows fans to interact with the bloggers at the game.

Tourney Website and Blog

Live Stats

NCAA D2 Baseball News

Also starting on Wednesday is the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s baseball tournament.  Northern Sun fans may want to keep one eye on the results from Kearney, NE.   RMAC 2010 Baseball Tournament

As of last week, teams from the Northern Sun Conference held down spots 2,3 & 5 in the NCAA Central Region Rankings.  It’s important to keep 3 of the top 5 spots in case there is an upset in the RMAC or NSIC Tournaments.  The winners of the RMAC and NSIC Tournaments each get an automatic bid into the NCAA D2 Central Region Tournament and then the next 4 highest ranked teams are invited.  If a team like Wayne State, SMSU or Duluth wins the NSIC title they will knock out team #6 (and something similar can happen in the RMAC).  The NCAA will release updated rankings today where I expect Minnesota State will jump ahead of St. Cloud and Winona State but the key is whether the NSIC teams stay ahead of Mesa State.  NCAA D2 Regional Rankings

Finally, the NCAA has updated their D2 Notebook which describes how Southern Arkansas has fallen out of the #1 position in the polls.  More importantly, Catawba won the Southern Atlantic Baseball Tourney and is the first team to gain an automatic qualifier into the D2 Regional Tournaments.  NCAA D2 Notebook

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.

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


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