Archive for the 'Metrodome' Category

New York Times Article on the Metrodome and Other News

Metrodome Interior

My thanks to Dave Kincaid for drawing my attention to yesterday’s New York Times article about the importance of the Metrodome for college baseball in the upper Midwest – Winter Ball Never Sleeps or Shivers at Metrodome.  It’s a very good read (it is the New York Times after all) and details the nearly non-stop usage of the facility from February through April.

Ron Petrich, now an assistant professor of education at Augsburg, a small Minneapolis college, doubles as the scheduler and matchmaker for college baseball games at the Metrodome. Since 1984, he has kept the Dome humming with games, practices and scrimmages almost around the clock from February through April, when winter finally eases. The Metrodome may have said goodbye to major league baseball, but for now, it remains a Teflon-roofed lifesaver for more than 100 college, high school and other amateur teams throughout the upper Midwest.

And no more so than this winter. In February, Petrich said, he was receiving five or six calls a day from coaches with snow-covered fields as far away as Kansas and Illinois. That made for some creative scheduling.

As I’ve lamented here before (Northern Sun – Winter Games) it’s going to be very difficult on a lot of college baseball teams if they tear down the Metrodome to make way for a new Vikings stadium.

Other News

The Northern Sun Baseball Blog was recognized by Onlinedegrees.net as one of the 100 Best College Sports Blogs in the country.  I have no idea who they are and I see it’s a new site but they lumped me in with a bunch of better known sites so it’s always nice to get some recognition.

The NCAA updated their D2 Blog today and chronicled some of the teams in Division 2 baseball that had the best weeks to move them up in the national polls – Not Aiken For Wins

Finally, Northern Sun fans of NSIC’s top teams are always reminded to keep one eye on what’s happening with the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference who shares the Central Region with the NSIC.  The RMAC is already 3 weeks into their Conference season.  New Mexico Highlands is the only team getting national recognition.  These 2 Conference’s send 6 teams combined to the NCAA Regional Tournament so the NSIC should be hoping for at least 3 bids – RMAC Week 7 Update

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D2 College Baseball & Northern Sun Updates – Feb 23, 2010

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We are 3 weeks into the NCAA D2 college baseball season and all but 1 team in the Northern Sun Conference (Mary) have gotten games in.  The Metrodome continues to be used night and day by teams trying to deal with the generally crappy playing conditions all over the Midwest. 

Players of the Week – NSIC Week 3 Press Release

NSIC Player of the Week
Photo#27 Dan Bauer
IF, 6-0, 190, R/R
Bemidji, Minn.
Bemidji HS
Bemidji State

Dan Bauer went 9-for-15, a .600 batting average, in the four-game sweep of Northern State in a nonconference series at the H.H.H. Metrodome Sunday (10-2, 17-4) and Monday (4-2, 4-3 (8)). Two of those nine hits were game-winners, both coming in Monday’s doubleheader with the game tied, two outs and in the late innings (bottom 6th in game one and top 8th in game two). He had a team-high in hits and tied a team-high in RBI in the four games with seven. Bauer added three runs, hit his first home run of the season and recorded a double. He stole one base, recorded 11 assists and six putouts playing second base, going all four games without an error. He recorded at least one hit and one RBI in each contest, going a perfect 3-for-3 in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader, adding three RBI and two runs scored.

NSIC Pitcher of the Week
Photo#20 Patrick Lenton
RHP, 6-1, 215, Sr., L/R
Maple Grove, Minn.
Maple Grove HS
Minnesota State

Patrick Lenton earned his first win of season in MSU’s season opener, a 7-4 victory at Colorado Christian on Feb. 19th. He gave up one earned run in six innings of work. He fanned nine batters and limited the Cougars to just three hits in the game. He now stands 15-3 at MSU in his career.

Northern Sun Games Last Weekend

Augustana goes 3-1 over the weekend at the Metrodome against Morningside and Nebraska Kearney – Vikings go 3-1

Bemidji State crushes Northern State in first 2 games and then barely holds on to sweep the 4 game series – Beavers Sweep 4

Concordia Split with Nebraska Kearney – Furrow Walk-Off – Bears Split

Minnesota State travels all the way to Colorado for 3 games where they went 2-1 against Colorado Christian – Mav’s Upend Cougars 9-1

In perhaps the best contests, St Cloud State and Winona State split a pair at the Metrodome giving us no clear indication of who’s better.  Huskies Earn Split

Upper Iowa lost 2 to Wayne State scoring only 1 run in each contest.  This helped the WSC fans feel a lot better but causes some concerns for the Peacocks.  Peacocks Drop First 2

Upcoming Northern Sun Action

This weekend will be a great opportunity to see Northern Sun action at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.  On both Friday & Saturday there are a pair of NSIC doubleheaders – Wayne State vs. Winona State and Bemidji State vs. St. Cloud State.   In addition, Minnesota State plays UW-Parkside there on Saturday in a DH to make 14 hours straight of Northern Sun games.

Concordia plays a couple doubleheaders at the Dome this week, Wednesday against St. Johns and Thursday against Kansas Wesleyan. 

Augustana and Upper Iowa are both scheduled to travel to play games in Missouri on Saturday. 

NCAA Division 2 College Baseball Polls

Both PING! and College Baseball News have updated their polls for the week ending on February 21st.  Each of them agree on the top 3 teams in the country –

  • College Baseball News dropped Emporia State from the top spot all the way down to #10 because of a 8-10 loss to Central Oklahoma.  Southern Arkansas had been tied for first last week but dropped to #2 while sweeping all 3 games they played during the week against West Florida, a team receiving votes in this poll.  Taking over the top spot is Florida Southern (11-0) who plastered Pace University this weekend outscoring them by 68-8 in a 4 game sweep.  The Northern Sun Conference’s Wayne State dropped all the way out of the poll after starting the year ranked #14 in the country and now find themselves out of the top 63.  Minnesota State & Southwest Minnesota State did pick up 1 vote, as they did last week, and St. Cloud State makes a 3rd NSIC team on the list with 1 vote.  College Baseball News D2 Poll
  • PING Baseball also had changeover at the top as they dropped their previous #1 team, UC San Diego, to the #7 spot.  The Tritons (11-3) split their 4 game weekend series against Chico State, who moved into the poll at #19.  Florida Southern, Southern Arkansas and Francis Marion are the top 3 in each of the polls.  There are no Northern Sun teams in the PING poll – Ping Baseball D2 Poll

In Division 1 College Baseball the first weekend of play is in the books and Yahoo/Rivals has a good recap of the winners & losers so far – D1 Winners/Losers

Schrader Getting Rocked To Kick Off Northern Sun Play

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Just a couple weeks ago the Northern Sun Conference Coaches Poll and NSIC Conference named Southwest Minnesota State pitcher, Adam Schrader, their NSIC Preseason Pitcher of the Year.  Preseason NSIC Predictions  You’ll see that yours truly questioned the selection of Schrader.

Fast forward to the opening game of the 2010 D2 College Baseball season for teams in the Northern Sun Conference where SMSU is playing Minnesota Duluth at the Metrodome this afternoon.  Here’s Schrader’s line through 2 innings:

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He got bailed out in the first from a bases loaded no-out jam by a pop up and double play but 3 ER’s, 6 hits, 2 BB’s, 1 HBP & 1 WP to go along with 62 pitches isn’t exactly the line he was hoping for.

Yes – I realize it’s only 2 innings into the season.  Still an interesting start to the year.

You can follow along yourself here – SMSU Live Stats Site

Edit – It’s only fair to come back and say that Schrader finished with 2 really strong innings in the 3rd & 4th by facing 7 batters and giving up only 1 walk.  He left the game after 4 complete and in the end only surrendered the 3 ER’s

NCAA D2 College Baseball 2010 Season Kicks Off

NCAA Baseball Logo

The NCAA Division 2 College Baseball season officially kicks off today.  Unfortunately, there is no uniform website that tracks all of the schedules so short of looking at every team’s schedule it’s hard to say who is actually playing today.

What we can look at is the Northern Sun Schedule and see the following teams are kicking off play this week with the first games scheduled to take place this Thursday at the Metrodome in Minneapolis –

Thursday February 4th:

Minnesota Duluth vs. Southwest Minnesota State (DH) – 3pm

Concordia vs. Northwestern, IA (DH) – 8pm

Friday February 5th:

Minnesota Duluth vs. Southwest Minnesota State (DH) – 9am

Minnesota Crookston vs. Bemidji State (DH) – 7pm

Saturday February 6th:

St. Cloud State vs. Wisconsin Parkside (DH) – 9am

Sunday February 7th:

St. Cloud State vs. Wisconsin Parkside (DH) – 7:30am

Augustana vs. Rockhurst – 5pm  (no super bowl watching for them)

The most interesting of these games is certainly the UMD vs. SWMS matchup.  Last year SWMS spanked Duluth 34-1 in a non-conference game.  The Mustangs lost quite a few players from their 3rd place team of last year.  That said, I’m not sure Duluth has the pitching to win more than 1 game (although Anders Engberg is very good).

NCAA Division 2 College Baseball Season Just 2 Months Away

NCAA Baseball Logo

The weather is starting to get much more winter like in the upper Midwest but in reality that signals the onset of another season of NCAA Division 2 College Baseball.  For teams in the Northern Sun Conference the first games start February 4th when Concordia, Minnesota Duluth and Southwest Minnesota State all play at the Metrodome.  The official start date of NCAA Division 2 College Baseball this year is once again February 2nd.

In fact, while there’s a lull in activity around the Christmas break, teams will be starting up their practice sessions in just a little over a month as most of the players will be cutting their holiday break short to head back to campus for the official start of the practice season on January 10th:

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Upcoming Features:

Between now and the start of the season the Northern Sun Baseball Blog will be gearing up in the following ways –

  • Team Previews – Throughout December and January you will see me go into some depth on each of the contending teams in the Northern Sun Conference (not sure I’ll do them all).  My plan is to especially focus on interesting statistical factors from the 2009 season and discuss which key players are no longer on each team and how that might impact their success going into 2010.  Look for the kickoff article on Augustana in the coming week.
  • Coach Interviews – In January & February I’m hoping to hold live phone interviews with Northern Sun’s head coaches to discuss the upcoming 2010 season and broader questions about the state of Division 2 college baseball.  This will hopefully provide a better set of responses than our first set of e-mail interviews produced last February.  We’ll see how many coaches can make time for this but I know a number of them are following the blog so hopefully they can spare 15 minutes for this new segment.
  • Predictions – Right around the first anniversary of this blog (February 1st) I will issue my prognostications for the upcoming season.  Of course, that said, I did predict that Minnesota State would win the Conference last year and while they did well, I’m 0-1 in picking the top team.
  • NCAA D2 College Baseball Happenings – While my focus remains on the Northern Sun Conference I will certainly report on topics of interest all around Division 2 College Baseball.
  • New Design? – One thing I’m also considering is a new look and feel for the blog using a different WordPress template with a wider format.  Same great content – new bold look?

As is usual, I’m certainly open to feedback and suggestions from readers on content or questions they’d like to see on this blog.

Wayne State – 2010 Baseball Schedule

Wayne State1

Wayne State College (NE) has posted their baseball schedule for the upcoming 2010 baseball season – Wayne State 2010 Baseball Schedule

The Wildcats open their season against instate rival Nebraska – Kearney but to play each other they are heading to Golden, CO.  Their non-conference schedule has a decidedly central US flavor to it as they play in Colorado, Kansas & a spring tourney in Indiana.  They have 2 games in late March (home and home) against D2’s 2009 National Runner-up, Emporia State.  Wayne State also has 2 non-conference sets against Northern Sun opponents, both at neutral sites (Winona State at the Metrodome and Upper Iowa in Kansas).

The 4 conference teams they avoid playing this year are Winona State, Upper Iowa, Southwest Minnesota State & Mary.  Interestingly, they show Minnesota Duluth as home games while Duluth shows them as being played in Minneapolis. 

The Wildcats are coming off of 6 straight Northern Sun Conference regular season titles and are certainly a favorite for 2010 with a strong returning senior class.  If it weren’t for a brand new head coach they’d probably be the hands down favorite to repeat again but that change at the top might give conference foes a little glimmer of hope.  Wayne State should be a heavy favorite to be among the top 2-3 teams with whomever is calling the shots.

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Northern State – 2010 Baseball Schedule

northern state

Northern State University has posted their baseball schedule for the upcoming 2010 baseball season – Northern State 2010 Baseball Schedule

The Wolves will open their season in late February with 6 games at the Metrodome against fellow Northern Sun schools, Bemidji State and Minnesota Crookston, the 2 schools closest to them in the 2009 conference standings.  One thing that stands out is that their non-conference games are against teams that match their geography and level of competition.  By playing games against the likes of Jamestown, Dickinson State, Valley City State & Dakota State they don’t have to travel as much and have a better chance to win.  The team does have a spring trip scheduled to Phoenix in early March.

During conference play the team misses out on Bemidji State, Minnesota Crookston, Winona State & Upper Iowa.  For a team that won only 1 conference game last year, it hurts to miss out on playing Crookston.

The team did also announce the names of 9 new recruits to the team – Wolves Announce 09-10 Recruits.  They better hope some of those 5 pitchers can help right away as Northern State’s conference ERA of almost 14 was painful.

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