Archive for the 'Division 1 College Baseball' Category

Northern Sun Players of the Week & Some Links

The Northern Sun Conference made their week 1 announcements regarding players of the week – NSIC News Release – They are:

NSIC Players of the Week
Photo#7 Deryk Marks
IF/C, 5-10, 180, R/R, Jr.,
Cottage Grove, Minn.
Iowa Central CC
Augustana College

Deryk Marks had an impressive debut for Augustana. As the Vikings split on doubleheader at the Metrodome against Rockhurst, Marks went 5-for-6 (.833) with 3 doubles, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. For the weekend, he had a 1.333 slugging percentage. After going 1-for-2 in the Vikings 13-2 win, Marks went 4-for-4 in the nightcap with three of his hits being doubles.

NSIC Pitcher of the Week
Photo#8 Ryan Sander
RHP, 6-2, 195, Jr.,
St. James, Minn.
Minnesota Valley Lutheran HS
Bemidji State

Ryan Sander hurled six-innings of shutout ball against Minnesota, Crookston to open the 2010 season, Feb. 5 at the H.H.H Metrodome, giving-up just three hits in a 7-0 victory. He had a no-hitter going through four innings, retiring 12-of-13 batters. The lone baseman reached on a fielding error. He gave-up just one hit in each of the final three innings, all of which were singles. Sander fanned five batters, while giving-out two free passes.

Other News of Interest

I found the following articles about D2 baseball over the past week that may be of interest –

  • College Baseball Today focuses almost exclusively on D1 baseball but took in a D2 game while waiting for the D1 season to start.  Some commentary about Western Oregon and UC – San Diego who are Top 20 teams – College Baseball Today
  • The College Baseball Blog also took in a game between 2 Top 20 teams, Lubbock Christian and Angelo State – Teams Split DH
  • PING Baseball has a number of player blogs including this one by Northern Sun’s Cody Wilcoxson of Concordia St. Paul who discusses the teams split at the Metrodome this past week – Thursday at the Dome
  • Outside the Northern Sun there’s also D2 baseball being played.  On the national scene the Sunshine State Conference has last years champion (Lynn) and this years #1 team (Tampa) and you can follow a number of really strong teams here – Sunshine State Conference Baseball Page
  • Finally, D1 baseball is just around the corner and my favorite D1 site is Rivals/Yahoo Baseball where they have released their preseason rankings – Texas Tops Rankings

Northern Sun & College Baseball Updates – Thanksgiving Edition

Okay, Thanksgiving was really yesterday but I was busy eating turkey.  Now with a day off it’s time to update a few items of interest for the Northern Sun Conference and college baseball as a whole.

A lot of the recent news in college baseball revolves around recruiting news as teams are announcing the signing of players during the NCAA’s early signing period.  Last week I posted 5 press releases from Northern Sun teams that had announced signings – Northern Sun Fall 2009 Signings

  • A couple days after that blog entry I was sent the press release from Minnesota State.  MN State Announces seven 2010-11 Signings  The school has been right up there with St. Cloud State as having some of the largest and most high profile recruiting success lately.  Zach Bohar, Ronnie Donley, Dalton Grove, Jason Hoppe, TJ Larson, Tyler Ockuly and Parker Sullivan will be suiting up for the Mavericks during the 2011 season.
  • College Baseball Insider also has done some tracking of overall Division 2 College Baseball fall signings and although they are woefully behind the announcements it’s interesting to see what other schools are adding to their rosters – Division 2 Early Signings
  • Baseball America continues to be a premier site for baseball as a whole and while the majority of their college baseball content is premium Aaron Fitt had a recent column answering Division 1 college baseball recruiting questions – College Recruiting Chat
  • In addition to following Upper Midwest D2 baseball I’ve long been a fan of the University of Minnesota (my alma mater) and their baseball team.  Kendall Rogers from Rivals just published a positive outlook about the team, although I’m a bit more skeptical after the Gophers lost 3 of their top hitters and 2 of their top pitchers.  Five Keys for Minnesota Baseball
  • Finally, I like to check the NCAA site and while this has nothing to do with college baseball, per se, I see that the Northern Sun Conference has been awarded $10,000 to potentially add new members to the Conference.  This has the potential to be something to keep track of in future years.  D2 Committee Approves Membership Grants

Stories From Around NCAA College Baseball

banner_baseball

Time to catch up on stories from around NCAA college baseball as school approaches. 

  • As a follow up to my last story about the NCAA banning composite bats (NCAA Rule Changes) the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) did approve the plan to put a temporary ban on composite bats – PROP Approves Action on Composite Bats
  • I wrote some last year about the demise of college baseball at D1 schools Vermont and Northern Iowa.  In fact, colleges across the country have eliminated 227 different sports teams in the past 3 years.  This summer, the University of Wisconsin La Crosse made a similar threat to shut down their D3 baseball program.  Fortunately, the school allowed boosters to fund raise the $50k needed to save the program for now which has happened.  You can read about the effort and publicity that saved UWL baseball here – Save UW La Crosse Baseball Site
  • Something I missed back during the D2 College World Series was this blog by a Dowling pitcher about his experience during the event.  It is quite well written – “This morning was truly an awakening of the senses, as it was surely the first and best day of all our baseball careers to date.”  You can find it here – A Pitcher’s Perspective
  • Finally, I saw this interesting piece from the Collegebaseball360 Blog.  As the father of a pitcher and a youth baseball coach I’ve long been concerned about pitch counts.  Many of you may have heard about the 25 inning D1 playoff game between Texas and Boston College – Texas closer Austin Wood received a lot of well deserved national attention for his 13 inning effort in the Longhorn’s 25-inning win over Boston College in the Austin Regional. However, Wood was not the same after that outing that saw him throw nearly 140 pitches. In his two combined Regional outings Wood totaled 15.0 IP with 2 hits, 4 BB, 17 strikeouts and no runs allowed. However, in his six appearances after the famed 13-inning outing here are the lefty’s numbers: 11 IP, 16 hits, 10 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, with a 6.54 ERA. Wood made his nation-leading 41st appearance of the season when he toed the rubber for the last time in the final game of the CWS vs. LSU.  CWS – Before & After.  Boyd’s World Website does a good job of calling out schools that abuse pitchers here – D1 Pitch Count Watch

NCAA Sticks It To D1 Baseball’s Northern Teams

NCAA Baseball Logo

Two weeks ago I wrote about how the NCAA Division 1 Legislative Council was considering 2 proposals that could have a bearing on Division 1 college baseball (NCAA Considers D1 Proposals) –

  • 2008-46 – Would add a 14th week to the college baseball season (front end or back end)

  • 2008-48 – Would reduce the number of allowable baseball games from 56 to 52

    It is being reported that the NCAA is going to go forward with adding a 14th week to the season.  The bad news for all Northern Teams?  They’ve gone ahead and bowed down to the Southern schools and are adding the week to the beginning of the season.  NCAA Set To Add Week To Schedule

    This is a huge deal because it forces Northern schools into another week of travel and expense if they want to play a full slate of games against quality competition which allows them to get better consideration for post-season play.  It basically is a total cop out to the big Southern schools who have most of the power in NCAA D1 college baseball and makes it that much harder for Northern schools to compete (athletically and financially). 

    Big Ten Hardball had an excellent commentary on this subject and I urge anyone interested in the topic to read it – Big Ten Hardball – NCAA Adds Week

    We’ve already seen programs in Northern Iowa and UMass call it quits for their D1 baseball programs this year.  Could more follow and make college baseball even more of a regional sport?

  • NCAA Considers Cuts To D1 College Baseball Season

    NCAA Baseball Logo

    Yesterday, I wrote about how the NCAA is considering changes to Division 2 college baseball that would reduce the maximum number of games played from 56 to 50 (D2 College Baseball Game Reductions).  With that in mind I thought it would be worthwhile to investigate whether the same thing was being proposed for Division 1 college baseball.

    Sure enough, the NCAA Division 1 Legislative Council is planning on meeting on April 20, 2009 where the following proposals are being considered (Legislative Council To Vote on Proposals):

    • 2008-46 – Would add a 14th week to the college baseball season
    • 2008-48 – Would reduce the number of allowable baseball games from 56 to 52

    Recently, the NCAA made some broad changes to D1 college baseball such as transfer rules, scholarship rule changes and the uniform start date.  The uniform start date had the effect of leveling the playing field for north and south schools but compacted the schedules which means schools and their student athletes are having to travel more to get in a full slate of games in the time allotted.  These 2 proposals take different tactics to solve that perceived issue.  Either make the season longer or reduce the number of games.

    Proposal 2008-46 – Add a 14th Week to season

    • This proposal tries to address the compressed schedule by making the season longer.  The problem with that is it either adds another week at the beginning of the season which hurts the northern schools or pushes back the season even more into summer which impacts the College World Series and has students playing even longer into the season when school is probably over.
    • The NCAA received comments on this proposal – 15 schools supported the proposal and 6 opposed it.  If you look at the individual comments though it is almost universal that southern schools want the extra week at the beginning and northern schools at the end.  The comments are on page 24 of the Agenda Supplement – NCAA April Agenda Supplement Part 3

    Proposal 2008-48 – Reduce allowable D1 college baseball games from 56 to 52

    • This proposal aims to reduce the impact of a compacted schedule by reducing the number of games played.
    • The NCAA received comments on this proposal – 19 supported it, 31 opposed it and 2 abstained.  It’s a pretty interesting read to see the comments of each individual school.  The comments are on pages 25-29 of the Agenda Supplement – NCAA April Agenda Supplement Part 3

    Action on these items will be finalized by the D1 Board of Directors at a meeting on April 30th so we’ll know the results soon.

    The Challenge of Baseball in the Lake Conference

    Fighting the Sun

    In Minnesota, the premier athletic conference in all of high school sports is by far and away the Lake Conference.  Pick any high school sport and it’s likely that a Lake Conference team has won the state championship within the past 3 years.

    That has been the case in baseball as well with teams from Apple Valley, Lakeville and Eden Prairie winning it all within the past 5 years.  Last year the Conference sent 3 teams to the state championship.  2008 saw a bumper crop of talent come from the Lake as almost every team produced college bound baseball players.  Chaska turned out the state’s player of the year, Brad Hand, who skipped college to go straight to the Florida Marlins system after being drafted by Major League Baseball in the 2nd round.

    While some consider the talent to be down this year, here’s an example of the challenge faced by being a Lake team using my hometown Rosemount nine –

    Game 1 – Eastview – starting pitcher Nick Dolsky, a D1 recruit going to Arizona.  4 pro scouts were in the stands.

    Game 2 – Eagan – starting pitcher Charlie Weinberg, a D1 recruit going to Illinois-Chicago

    Game 3 – Burnsville – starting pitcher Grant Larson, a D2 recruit going to Augustana who was relieved by Jack Lassonde, a D2 recruit going to Minnesota Duluth

    Game 5 – Chaska – starting pitcher Shawn Riesgraf, a D1/D2 recruit

    Game 6 – Eden Prairie – almost certain to face Tim Bado, their #1 pitcher

    Speaking of Chaska’s Shawn Riesgraf, it was interesting to see his recruitment unfold as St. Cloud State’s pitching coach (Pete Pratt), Minnesota State’s head coach (Matt Majers) and D1 recruiters from NDSU and UND were in attendance.  Riesgraf got a 4-1 complete game win, giving up 6 hits and no earned runs.  He threw around 83 on the UND/NDSU guns.  I’m guessing there’s a decent chance he ends up in the Northern Sun next year as at least 1 of the D1 recruiters didn’t seem that interested.

    My thanks to coach Pratt and Majers who took a little time to chat – it was good to meet the people in person I’m writing about.

    UNI Baseball Officially Folds Amid Controversy

    The University of Northern Iowa’s Division 1 college baseball team will officially end it’s 103 year run as a school supported team at the end of 2009.

    The school had made this announcement back in February (UNI Drops Baseball) but a grass roots group emerged, Support UNI Baseball, which was given an opportunity to save the sport if they could raise $1.2M in a little over a month from private donations.  Last week it was announced that the campaign failed to reach its goal and fund raising ended.

    This result came amid a number of heated and controversial meetings between the group (which included UNI’s baseball head coach) on one side and the school President and Athletic Director on the other side.  The Support UNI Baseball group had received commitments for $250,000 and was asking that the school contribute $100,000.  The group then committed to keep fund raising the same amount each year until it reached the fully sustaining amount needed.

    The grassroots group came away disappointed by the process and wrote a scathing summary of their failure here – Committee Criticizes UNI Decision to Drop Baseball

    It’s an interesting read and goes into the behind the scenes efforts and negotiations that took place in order to try and save the team.

    News From Around College Baseball – 4/2/09

    Fungos and Ball

    There are a number of stories this week in the blogosphere about Division 2 college baseball and upper Midwest baseball happenings that I wanted to highlight –

    • The NCAA publishes a weekly update about D2 baseball which highlights some great individual performances from the previous week or important games between top teams.  One of those players profiled this week was University of Indianapolis pitcher Cory White who struck out a school record 15 batters in a 7 inning game in leading his team to a 3-1 victory over Lewis University (a team that’s played against both Winona State and Upper Iowa this season).  NCAA D2 Notebook
    • Speaking of the NCAA, they are currently running a 3 part series called “A Shoppers Guide to Division 2” which discusses the fiscal impact of Division II athletic membership along with the costs/benefits of college sports at the Division 2 level.  The 2nd installment discusses “ticker envy” and prudent fiscal management while the final piece is about how one school’s attempt to live the D1 philosophy led it back to choose Division II instead.  It’s an interesting read, especially in light of the economic climate that has led to some schools dropping D1 baseball like Vermont and Northern Iowa recently decided to do.  Shoppers Guide to D2 – part 1   Shoppers Guide to D2 – part 2  Shoppers Guide to D2 – part 3
    • Back on March 15th I commented about the record setting win by Southwest Minnesota State in beating Minnesota Duluth 34-1 (Mustangs Beat Bulldogs 34-1).  That was nothing compared to the whooping that D1 school Eastern Kentucky laid on D2 school Kentucky State.  The final score in that contest was 49-1.  Kentucky State actually led 1-0 after the top of the first inning and then gave up 22 runs in the bottom of the inning.  Oh yeah, the game only lasted 5 innings!  Eastern Kentucky Hammers Kentucky State 49-1
    • Finally, I’ll be following Minnesota High School baseball this spring as well.  Minnesota is the primary recruiting grounds for a lot of Northern Sun Conference schools.  In fact, of the 33 high school seniors who signed National Letters of Intent with NSIC teams in the fall early signing period, 24 of them were from Minnesota.  Today was scheduled to be opening day for many teams but a lot of games are already being pushed back.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune had a preview of the Lake Conference, Minnesota’s premier baseball/athletic conference, in yesterday’s paper.  The article doesn’t really cover enough ground as it only covers 3 teams, but it does mention 2 future NSIC pitchers (Wallace & Kilber).  Star Tribune Lake Conference Preview

    NCAA Division 2 Baseball Rankings – 3/30/09

    NCAA Baseball Logo

    The College Baseball News and Ping!Baseball Division 2 college baseball rankings have been released for this week. 

    • The College Baseball News poll has moved Florida Southern from a tie for first place last week to sole position of the #1 position this week.  The Moccasin’s had a good week by taking 2 from Southern Connecticut and 3 games from Saint Leo.  They’ve now won 9 straight games and 19 of their last 20.  Last week’s other #1 team, Grand Valley State, dropped to the #2 position.  Interestingly, 1 of the Lakers 3 losses on the season came at the hands of Northern Sun Conference leader, Minnesota State.  Another Conference team, Wayne State, moved from a tie for #29 to sole position of the #28 spot with a 5-1 week.  Concordia and St. Cloud State also received votes this week.  College Baseball News Rankings
    • Ping!Baseball continued to rank Southern Arkansas as the #1 team in D2 baseball for the 5th straight week.  The Muleriders had a successful 4-0 week with a win over North Alabama and a 3 game sweep of Arkansas – Monticello.  Rollins College jumped all the way from out of the rankings to the #18 position.  This was powered by a victory of nationally ranked Ohio State out of the Big Ten (Division 1).  This was their 4th win over a D1 program this year.  Another team jumping into the poll for the first time was Northern Sun’s St. Cloud State who makes an appearance at #28.  Ping!Baseball Rankings

    Tracking Top Minnesota H.S. 2008 Baseball Players

    MSHSL Baseball_08

    Minnesota high schools had a bumper crop of excellent baseball players that graduated in 2008 and I thought I’d look to see how some of the best are faring now in college. 

    • Madison Boer was a 2008 graduate of Eden Prairie (MN) High School where he had much success and was named a first team all-state pitcher.  He went on to help reestablish baseball at Oregon University who was re-instating their baseball program after a 28 year break in playing.  The big right hander (6-4, 220) has quickly established himself as one of the Ducks 4 starting pitchers.  He is 1-3 on the season but sports a respectable 3.81 ERA.  He has the lowest batting average against him (.228) of any of their starters and holds the only 2 complete games thrown by Oregon pitchers all year.  Boer Gets First Collegiate Win
    • Joe Loftus headed to play for a premier Division 1 program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN which plays in college baseball toughest conference (the SEC).  The 2008 graduate of the Academy of Holy Angels was a 2 time, first team all-state selection.  Midway through their non-conference schedule, Loftus has earned a spot as the starting left fielder.  While he’s only hitting .240 on the season it’s pretty impressive to be starting as a freshman in the SEC.  Loftus Contributes to Win Over Kentucky
    • Jacob Esch is playing for Georgia Tech of the ACC – a team that’s currently rated as the #3 overall team in Division 1 college baseball.  As a pitcher/shortstop at Cretin-Derham Hall he helped lead the Raiders to a state title and was named a 2 time all-state selection.  He had an injury this fall which delayed his development but the right handed pitcher has gotten in a few games as a relief pitcher for the Yellow Jackets.  Jackets Down Mercer
    • The 2008 Player of the Year in Minnesota was Brad Hand of Chaska, MN.  The left handed pitcher was dominating in high school and while he had a college scholarship to a premier Division 1 program (Arizona State) he turned that down and turned pro after being drafted in the 2nd round by the Florida Marlins.  He had turned pro in time to start the summer of 2008 at the Marlins rookie league team where he went 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA before being promoted to a Class A team in New York where he was 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA.  Brad Hand Minor League Stats  He seems to have a bright future in baseball as John Sickels (who is a main writer for Baseball America) named Hand the 16th best prospect in the entire Florida Marlins farm system.  Sickels (a Twins fan) had this to say about Hand “Young projectable lefty from Minnesota, I wish the Twins had been able to draft him. Will need time but a fresh high school arm worth tracking.”  Florida Marlins Top 20 Prospects for 2009

    College Baseball News of Note

    Night Gathering

    Here are some of the college baseball stories that have caught my eye over recent days that I thought you might like to take a look at –

    • As reported back in late February, the University of Northern Iowa announced that they were dropping college baseball (UNI Drops Baseball).  Now the University is holding out hope that they can fund raise enough donations to keep the program alive.  They are looking to raise $1.2 Million dollars in pledges by April 5th in order to save baseball which has been played at the school for the past 103 years.  You can view their progress or make a donation here – Support UNI Baseball
    • Rivals does a very good job of covering college baseball.  They recently published their Top 100 High School Prospects.  It’s interesting that all but 1 of them is already committed to a school for next year (of course this is before MLB could draft and sign them).  I was struck by how few of the Top 100 came from northern schools.  I counted 1 kid each from IL, IA, MI, KS and IN but the rest of them all come from the south.  It’s no wonder that northern schools struggle to compete as both the weather and talent pool gives the south a decided advantage.  Rivals Top 100 High School Prospects
    • The Minnesota High School baseball season kicks off in 2 short weeks.  A large number of Northern Sun players come out of Minnesota so it’s worth keeping track of the top teams.  The MN Coaches Association has published their pre-season rankings for 2009.  Minnesota Preseason High School Rankings

    College Baseball Recruiting

    Signing NLI

    I’ve come across a number of resources & articles recently that talk to the college baseball recruiting process and experience that I thought I’d share.

    First of all, this video is from Wayne Mazzoni who is the pitching coach at Division 1’s Sacred Heart.  He has great advice to high school players and parents for how to use video and what he’s looking for to find who they are interested in.  I like that he talks about the importance of “getting outs” vs. how hard someone can throw.

    Players and parents might also want to look at the following resources:

    • The NCAA has a number of resources that all high school players should know about, especially the process for going through the NCAA Clearinghouse and eligibility requirements – NCAA Information for College Bound Athletes
    • The National Collegiate Scouting Association has some good guidelines for baseball players to help them understand what type level of college baseball they might fit into best based upon their high school stats, body type and throwing speed – NCSA Recruiting Guidelines
    • The Baseball Factory Blog has some great articles including this most recent one on D1-itis.  They have seen lots of players have dreams of playing Division 1 college baseball when they might be happier and get to play more at a lower level – Don’t Catch D1-itis!
    • Kelly Kulina from The Baseball Factory has a ton of great content for high school players on selecting the best fit and getting noticed.  You might start with this article on picking the best school but search his stuff for lots of good stories – Getting It Right the First Time – Part 1
    • Finally, you might want to be looking at Showcases as a way to get some exposure to the recruiting process and college coaches.  The biggest one in Minnesota each year is the Showtime Sports event but there are others too.  Your high school coach should help nominate you – Minnesota High School Showcase

    Hopefully a few high school students and parents will find some resources that will help them through this stressful process and find the right school to continue playing baseball.


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