Archive for the 'NCAA Division 2 Baseball Tournament' Category



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

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

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.

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

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

Wayne State – 2010 Preview

Wayne State1

Today I conclude my 2010 season previews with a preview of Wayne State.  I look back at their results in 2009, key roster transitions and make a prediction about where I expect the 2010 team will finish.

Wayne State – 2009 Results

The Wildcats concluded 2009 the same way they’ve been concluding seasons for some time now – with the Northern Sun Conference regular season title and a trip to the NCAA Regional Tournament.  In fact, this was the 6th straight conference title and NCAA appearance.  Along the way, the team set records for most wins by a NSIC team in league play going 27-4 and tying a team record for most wins in a season with an overall record of 45-14.  After winning the regular season crown the team finished 2nd in the NSIC Postseason Tournament (NSIC Tourney Results) and then went on to finish 2nd in the NCAA Regional to just miss out on a chance to advance to the D2 College World Series Mesa State Upends Wayne St.

Minnesota State – 2010 Preview

Minnesota State

Today I continue with my series looking at the top teams in the Northern Sun Conference by previewing Minnesota State.  I look back at their results in 2009, key roster transitions and make a prediction about where I expect the 2010 team will finish.

Minnesota State – 2009 Results

The Mavericks were picked to finish 2nd in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in 2009 and that’s exactly where they finished.  They ended up 1 1/2 games behind the eventual champion, Wayne State.  The team then advanced to the Northern Sun Postseason Tournament where they lost their first game before reeling off 5 straight wins to claim the automatic bid to the NCAA Central Regional (Minnesota State Wins NSIC Tourney).  The flamed out in 2 straight NCAA Tourney games but it was still a very productive year and they finished with a 38-17 record in coach Matt Magers first year as the manager.

The team ranked in the top half of most statistical categories within D2 baseball and among Northern Sun teams.  They were 4th in the league in batting, 3rd in ERA and 3rd in fielding.  One glaring weakness was their stolen bases where they ranked 2nd to last in the league.

Continue reading ‘Minnesota State – 2010 Preview’

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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Minnesota State – 2010 Baseball Schedule

Minnesota State

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

The Mavericks open their season on the road in Lakewood, CO against RMAC’s Colorado Christian – a team at the bottom of their Conference last year.  They then play a pair of non-conference doubleheaders at the Metrodome against Bemidji State before heading to Winter Haven, FL for the Russ Matt Tourney.  So far 5 teams from the Northern Sun Conference are playing in the Russ Matt.

In conference play the team avoids playing Winona State, Minnesota Crookston, Bemidji State and Augustana.  This team finished a close 2nd last season in the conference and advanced to the NCAA Regional.  They did lose some key contributors but once again had a solid recruiting class that should help assure that they will be competing for a top 3 position this year.

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NCAA Division 2 Sports – The Leaders Know Best

NCAA Baseball Logo

The NCAA is making final plans for changes that will affect all of Division 2 sports as they continue to emphasize academics at the expense of the current athletic structure.  As has been discussed numerous times before (D2 Proposal Advancing), they are looking to reduce the number of in season contests in many sports and looking to reduce the length of time it takes to play Championship Tournaments.

  • Bylaw 17 goes to the NCAA Convention in January where it is expected to pass.  This change will reduce the number of regular season Division 2 college baseball games from a maximum of 56 to 50.  They also are looking at pushing back the start date for the baseball season toward the middle of February from its current early February start.  At least 9 other D2 sports are affected by this proposal as well.  Proposed NCAA Bylaw 17 Changes
  • In addition to shortening the NCAA Division 2 college baseball regular season, the NCAA Championships Committee has agreed to reduce the length of the D2 College World Series and compress it from its current 8 day format to a 6 day format.  The number of games played in the double elimination tourney wouldn’t change fortunately.  What this does do is really emphasize pitching depth.  The Committee also confirmed Cary, NC as the College World Series location through 2011.  D2 Championships Panel Okay’s Changes
  • Finally, the NCAA D2 Committee’s, in addition to pushing this new package of “sports/academics balance” plans has published a new website to try and promote a better “game environment and sportsmanship”.   They have a new website to promote this approach – NCAA Division II Game Environment

Without getting too controversial – lets just say I’m not a big fan of the NCAA’s powers that be and their decisions on these topics.  D2 sports brings these schools a crapload of money – heck they promote the whole “I Chose D2” brand to talk about the benefits of playing D2 sports (along with their miniscule scholarships).  Now the message is “academics over sports” and “everybody play nice together”.  Just a bunch of overpaid academic heads deciding they know best if you ask me.  Rant off.


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