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Day 4 NCAA D2 Regionals – Minnesota State vs. St. Cloud State

Minnesota State stcloudstate_logo

The Northern Sun Conference will have a team represented at the 2010 NCAA Division 2 College World Series this year as Minnesota State will face off against St. Cloud State in the Central Region Championship Game.  The Mavericks hold the advantage as they are undefeated and just need to win once while the St. Cloud State Huskies must win 2 straight games.  In addition, St. Cloud had to play an extra game to get to this spot so they have used up more pitching.

The 2 teams played yesterday morning in the winners bracket and the Mavericks pulled out a 11-10 victory by scoring 4 runs in the top of the 9th inning.  All of their offense came with 2 outs.  Mavericks Score 4 in Ninth

The Huskies came back late yesterday with a 12-8 win over the Regions top ranked team, New Mexico Highlands.  St. Cloud’s Joey Benke and Jordan Smith, the #3 & 4 hitters, continue to destroy all pitching.  For the Tournament Benke is 10-17 with 10 runs scored & 5 RBI’s.  Smith is 12-18 with 5 runs scored and 8 RBI’s including 4 doubles, a triple and a homer. Huskies To Play on Sunday

Around The NCAA Regionals

The other NCAA Regional Tournaments are also narrowing to the final teams:

Atlantic – #2 Seed, West Chester, is undefeated and #1 seed Kutztown must beat them twice in the Championship Game.

East – #1 Seed, Southern Connecticut State is in the Championship Game and will face a 1 loss Franklin Pierce, the #2 seed.

Midwest – Yet another 1/2 matchup in the final as #2 Grand Valley State came through the winners bracket and #1 Southern Indiana must beat them twice.

South – Nationally ranked #2, Tampa, beat Southern Arkansas in the winners bracket and advances to the Championship Game.  This Regional won’t be final until Monday as the 8 team format adds a day.  The Rollins/Florida Southern winner will face Southern Arkansas to make it back to face Tampa on Monday.

Southeast – #3 seed, Georgia College, advances without a loss to the Championship Game and will play the Regionals #1 seed, Francis Marion. 

South Central – The first weather issues impacted a Regional where all of Saturday’s games were washed out and will be played today.

West – In this 4 team Regional, UC – San Diego, the nations #1 ranked team, has qualified for the Division 2 College World Series for the 2nd straight year.

Day 2 – 2010 NCAA Division 2 Baseball Regionals

NCAA Baseball Logo

The first day of the 2010 NCAA Division 2 Baseball Regional Tournaments is in the books and fortunately, there were no weather issues.  For links to all of the Regions go to our preview post – 2010 NCAA D2 Baseball Regionals

Central

The Northern Sun Conference teams went 2-1 yesterday as conference champion, Minnesota State, beat Nebraska Kearney 6-1 and 6th seeded St. Cloud State manhandled the Tourney’s #1 seed and tournament host, New Mexico Highlands by a score of 11-2.  David Deminsky pitched 8 strong innings and NSIC Freshman of the Year, Jordan Smith, went 4-5 with 4 RBI’s to pace the offense.  Mesa State did upend Winona State 12-8.  The pivotal spot in the game came in the bottom of the 6th inning with Winona holding onto a 5-3 lead.  Warriors pitcher Tony Mueller hit a batter to load the bases and Daktronics Central Region 2nd Team catcher, Brett Nigbur, hit a 2 out grand slam to turn the score around.

Other Regions

In addition to New Mexico Highlands, #1 seeds Kutztown (Atlantic) and Francis Marion (Southeast) also lost.  The powerful South Region held to form with the top 4 teams all winning as did the West with #1 ranked UC San Diego easily beating Hawaii Pacific 12-0.

Eliminations start today.

2010 Daktronics NCAA Division 2 All Central Region Team Announced

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The Daktronics NCAA Division 2 All Central Region Teams were announced today.  The honors are spread across the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference which make up the Central Region.

Overall, the Northern Sun did quite well with the Central Region Pitcher of the Year (Blake Schwartz), 7 of the 10 First Team fielders and 4 of the 5 First Team pitchers.  Minnesota State showed particular strength taking 3 of the 5 First Team pitching honors.

The Northern Sun continued getting more than its share of spots with 7 of the 10 Second Team fielding positions and all 5 of the Second Team pitching awards.

The Daktronics All-Central Region team was voted upon by sports information directors throughout the Central Region. Each of the 15 first-team all-region selections will now be listed on the Daktronics Division II Baseball All-American ballot, with the announcement of those All-American teams expected Friday, May 22.

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

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.

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

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

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 & Augustana Have Tough Day in Colorado

Wayne State1  augustana

Wayne State entered the season confident and on a high after winning their 6th straight Northern Sun league title in 2009 and with rankings among the Top 20 in all 3 preseason Division 2 college baseball polls.  On Saturday the Wildcats, ranked #2 in the Central Region by the National College Baseball Writers Association, faced off in a doubleheader against Central Region’s #10 ranked Nebraska Kearney in La Junta, CO. 

The Lopers, who were only 26-32 in 2009, swept the 2 games by scores of 6-4 and 6-1 to drop Wayne State to an 0-2 start for the season.  To add insult to that start, bad weather forecast for Sunday has already forced the cancellation of the 2nd scheduled doubleheader and the Wildcats will head back to Nebraska until next weekend when they can travel to Kansas to play Pittsburg State.  Lopers Sweep #14 Wayne State

Augustana (1-3) didn’t fare any better on Saturday as they lost 2 games to Colorado School of Mines and gave up a ton of runs in the process.  The Vikings gave up 11 runs in each of the 2 losses, losing 11-6 in game 1 and losing late in game 2 by a score of 11-10. 

The losses by Augustana may have even been worse than Wayne’s.  The game 2 loss was taken by Brett Severtson who entered the year as a 2009 NSIC 2nd Team All-Conference selection and Augustana’s most reliable pitcher.  In addition, Colorado Mines was the worst team in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2009.  The team finished the season with a 10-37 record.  The teams are scheduled to play another doubleheader today.  Augie Baseball Drops 2 Games

NCAA Rule Changes for upcoming D2 baseball season

Composite Bat

The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee is proposing the elimination of composite bats from all of NCAA college baseball effective for the upcoming season.  There have been numerous reports of these bats having getting softer over time which creates a bigger trampoline effect which causes higher ball speeds coming off of the bats.  This has been especially noticeable over the past 2 years and the effect has given rise to many bats being intentionally “rolled” to create these higher bat speeds.

The following chart from Baseball America shows quite succinctly the effect on runs/game, home runs/game and ERA’s in the past 2 years of NCAA D1 baseball. 

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The following stories cover the issue –

In addition to this change, the NCAA is proposing changes to the D2 baseball length of season (D2 Reduces from 56 to 50 games) and is testing with the RMAC Conference a process of rotating the Conference Championships (RMAC Tests Site Rotation).

Day 5 Recap – NCAA D2 Baseball Tourney Final 4

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The NCAA Division 2 Baseball College World Series is down to the final 4 teams.  Emporia State and Lynn are in the drivers seats as they would have to lose twice to not make the National Championship game on Saturday and both should have fresher pitching staffs.  They will each get their chance tonight to qualify and avoid a 1 game play in on Friday.  You can watch the games online for free here – Live Video of D2 College World Series

In elimination games yesterday –

UC San Diego 13, Dowling 1
Trevor Decker tossed a complete game three-hitter and UC San Diego broke away from a 2-1 lead with six runs in the top of the sixth inning. Josh Tanner and Garrett Imeson paced UC San Diego’s 23-hit attack with four hits apiece as every Triton starter had at least one hit. Daniel Pembroke hit a fourth-inning solo home run for Dowling’s lone run. UC San Diego faces unbeaten Emporia State Thursday at 3 p.m. in a semifinal game. Dowling, which defeated UC San Diego in the opening round, is eliminated from the championship  NCAA Recap , UC San Diego Recap

Belmont Abbey 9, Mesa State 2
Justin Vasquez’s first inning three-run homer put Belmont Abbey ahead to stay and Andrew Morton went the distance to lead the Crusaders to the semifinal round. Morton scattered seven hits, striking out nine and waking one. Vasquez was 3-for-4 with four runs batted in, while Tyler McKenzie and Patrick Atwell drove in two runs apiece. Andrew Martinez and Marty Rover each had two hits for Mesa State. Belmont Abbey takes on unbeaten Lynn Thursday at 7 p.m. Mesa State, which defeated Belmont Abbey Saturday in the opening game of the tournament, is eliminated.  NCAA Recap , Belmont Abbey Recap , Photos from Abby Win

NCAA Division II College World Series Day 5 Notes

In other Awards announced yesterday, the 2009 ESPN Academic All-American team was announced.  This is done in conjunction with the College Sports Information Directors of America.  The awards span all 3 NCAA college baseball Divisions.  There was 1 player from the Northern Sun Conference named – Greg Laughlin of SW Minnesota State, who was named to the 3rd team.  ESPN All-Academic Team


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