GRAND FORKS, N.D. - After splitting a Great West series with the Northern Colorado Bears last weekend at Kraft Field, the UND baseball team will look for even more success against a different set of Bears. This group of Bears is from New York Institute of Technology and they will begin a four-game series against the Sioux on Friday at 3 p.m.
The teams will then take part in a special event Saturday during a doubleheader at Kraft Field as the Cope Well Foundation will be on hand to help spread the word on their mission to help cancer survivors deal with the challenges of their survivorship. The opening game of the twin bill is set to start at Noon. The teams will then conclude the series on Sunday with a single game at 1 p.m.
Live Stats and Audio: www.FightingSioux.com (Free)
All-time: NYIT leads 5-3
Last meeting: NYIT won 10-6 (4/24/11)
UND head coach Jeff Dodson vs. NYIT: 3-5
NYIT head coach Mike MacMillan vs. UND: 0-0
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Game One - Friday, May 4, 3 p.m. CT (Kraft Field)
NYIT - RHP Jose Checo, Jr. (0-0, 6.60 ERA)
North Dakota - RHP Andrew Thome, Fr. (1-1, 3.41 ERA)
Game Two - Saturday, May 5, 12 p.m. CT (Kraft Field)
NYIT - RHP Ryan Dillabough, Jr. (0-4, 5.48 ERA)
North Dakota - RHP Tyler Ruemmele, Fr. (0-2, 8.10 ERA)
Game Three - Saturday, May 5, 2 p.m. CT (Kraft Field)
NYIT - RHP John Duggan, So. (2-1, 6.39 ERA)
North Dakota - LHP Ben Clark, Fr. (0-2, 5.71 ERA)
Game Four - Sunday, May 6, 1 p.m. CT (Kraft Field)
NYIT - RHP James Bulva, Fr. (0-4, 5.62 ERA)
North Dakota - RHP Jeff Campbell, Fr. (1-3, 7.01 ERA)
* Great West stats
IN THE DUGOUT
• The Sioux are six games into their 15-game homestand entering the weekend series with New York Institute of Technology. UND is 4-2 in those contests and 6-4 overall at Kraft Field this season.
• The teams split a four-game series at Kraft Field in 2010, while the Bears took three of four from the Sioux last season in New York in the only two previous meetings between the schools.
• The last time these teams met, now graduated Jake Magner earned national recognition for his effort in the Saturday doubleheader. The former Sioux first baseman mashed six home runs and drove in 13 runs against the Bears. Hit broke school records with four home runs and nine RBI the doubleheader opener.
• Two Sioux players earned Great West weekly honors after their performances last week.
• Freshman Andrew Thome (St. Cloud, Minn.) was named the league’s Pitcher of the Week after firing the first shutout in UND’s Division I era against Northern Colorado on Friday. Thome allowed only four hits, struck out a career-high seven and faced just 31 Bears in his third complete game of the season.
• Thome’s win was his first in GWC play as he lowered his ERA to 3.41 in league contests. That is fourth best overall among GWC hurlers entering the weekend.
• Senior Kyle Bolander (Hermantown, Minn.) was recognized by College Sports Madness for his offensive exploits during the week that saw the Sioux go 4-2. The Sioux third baseman went 8-for-18 (.444) with two home runs and 10 RBI. He was also hit by a pitch six times and had an on-base percentage of .615.
• Bolander has been hit by a pitch 15 times this season, which already ranks seventh on the single season list. His 22 career HBPs is also seventh most in a career.
• Bolander had a big series at NYIT last season where he went 7-for-12 (.583) in the four-game set. He also walked once and was hit by a pitch to post a .643 OBP.
• The Bears won three of four thanks in large part to 10 defensive errors by the Sioux, which resulted in 20 unearned runs. The UND pitchers posted a 3.82 ERA, allowing only 13 earned runs in the series.
• Freshman Jeff Campbell (Clearwater, Fla.) had a team best 14-game hitting streak snapped in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader with Northern Colorado. Campbell ranks second on the team with a .309 batting average and is hitting .339 with six home runs and 17 RBI in Great West play.
• Campbell’s six home runs rank second among league hitters in conference play.
• Classmate Tyler Follis (Bemidji, Minn.) leads the team with a .379 batting average, which ranked second among freshman in all of Division I baseball entering the week. Only Matt Honchell (Miami-Ohio) had a higher average at .383.
• Follis reached base safely in all four games against Northern Colorado to extend his season-long streak in that category to 23 straight. He had his season long 12-game hitting streak snapped. Follis also owns a 10-game hitting streak this season.
• Junior Riley Beck (Munich, N.D.) is a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen bases this season, including six swipes in GWC play, which ranks second among league players.
• Right-hander Brett DeGagne’ (Sauk Rapids, Minn.) helped UND clinch the series split with NC after tossing 5.1 innings of scoreless relief in game two of the Saturday doubleheader. DeGagne’ scattered five hits and struck out two Bears to pick up his first collegiate win.
• Fourth-year head coach Jeff Dodson’s 27-man roster is filled with 10 returning letterwinners, three redshirt freshmen and 14 newcomers (11 true freshmen). Two of those 14 newcomers will be sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules.
SCOUTING THE BEARS
NYIT is lead by interim head coach Mike MacMillan, who inherited that title in January. Longtime head coach Bob Hirschfield retired following last season after 30-plus years on the job. His last games were actually at Kraft Field where the 2011 GWC Tournament was held.
This season, the Bears are led offensively by shortstop James Bulva, who is hitting .342 in GWC play. Right fielder Dan Lackner is the team’s major power threat with a six home runs and 22 RBI overall. He has two long balls and seven ribbies in GWC play.
On the mound, right-hander John Duggan has registered both of the Bears’ Great West wins on the season. He is 2-1 with a 6.39 ERA in GWC play in four appearances. Bulva and fellow right-hander Ryan Dillabough own the best GWC ERA’s on the squad. Bulva carries a 5.62 ERA, while Dillabough’s is a tiche better at 5.48 and he has completed three of his four starts.
GLANCE AT THE GREAT WEST
The Fighting Sioux will be embarking on their third season in Great West Conference play in 2012. Utah Valley won the league’s inaugural regular season and tournament titles in 2010 and 2011. The conference season will culminate in Orem, Utah with the GWC Tournament May 22-26 at Brent Brown Ballpark. The other six members of the league are Chicago State, Houston Baptist, New York Tech, NJIT, Northern Colorado and Texas-Pan American. The Great West is the second conference affiliation for UND in program history. UND spent its Division II years playing in the North Central Conference. New York Tech and Northern Colorado are associate members for baseball.