Game notes: Baseball opens league play at HBU
Courtesy: Mitch Wigness, UND Media Relations
North Dakota opens its final Great West Conference season when its travels to Houston Baptist for a four-game series. HBU will be hosting its 15th home game of the season in the opener and the Huskies have not left the state of Texas yet this season while UND plays its 19th of 29 straight away from home to start 2013.
Junior Jacob Threlkeld was named the Great West Conference Player of the Week for his performance against North Dakota State. He had hits in all four games, including the big bases-clearing double that scored three in UND's five-run fifth in the 7-4 finale on Saturday. He becomes the first North Dakota player to earn the award this season.
WALK THIS WAY
Senior Kris Kwak and junior Taylor Petersen are each tied for second in the Great West Conference with 15 walk on the season. Kwak has reached base in all but two games this year while Petersen has four games with more than one free pass granted.
TAKING EM FOR THE TEAM
Petersen has also found his way on base via a hit-by-pitch. The junior catcher has been hit four times already this season to lead the team.
North Dakota is off to a good start, aiming for its 10th win of the season. Its next win would come well before the 10th win in its previous Division I campaigns:
Year- Date of 10th win
2012- May 4th
2011- May 20th
2010- May 1st
2009- April 24th
ALL-TIME VS. HBU
All time, Houston Baptist holds a 13-3 edge in the series. The Huskies took four of five from UND last season, including a 13-8 win in the Great West Conference Tournament to send HBU to the title game. North Dakota and HBU have locked horns in the GWC tournament each of the last three seasons with the Huskies claiming a 3-1 mark in those postseason games.
THE SCOUT ON THE HUSKIES
Houston Baptist is fresh off a Tuesday 4-3 win in 10 innings over Stephen F. Austin in non-conference action. The Huskies have the second-best team batting average heading into the week, boasting a .268 team mark. Luke Clements (.350) and Mike Chamberlain (.345) are fifth and sixth, respectively, among regulars in the Great West Conference. Clements is the league’s leading run scorer with 16 thus far and also sits third in RBI with 14.
• Junior Jacob Threlkeld tied a UND single-game record with four stolen bases in a 10-6 win over Mount Marty on Feb. 18. He leads UND with seven steals in eight tries this season.
• Sophomore Andrew Thome’s no-hitter to open the season was the sixth in UND history. He notched his sixth career game going the distance without allowing an earned run (four shutouts).
• In his 17 career starts, Thome has completed eight of those including two of his five starts this season.
• Sophomore Jeff Campbell earned his first career shutout with a 2-0 blanking of St. Cloud State on Feb. 25. Campbell’s first career win came in a nine-inning complete game win at Creighton, allowing a single unearned run with 4 strikeouts (Mar. 16, 2012).
• North Dakota has four regular batters hitting over .300 in the early going led by Patrick Vandoorne’s .333 mark. Ryan Reese (.323), Tyler Follis (.317) and Zack Trygstad (.302) all follow close behind.
• Sophomore Tyler Follis set a UND single-season record with 74 hits in his freshman campaign.
• The North Dakota pitching staff returns 85.3 percent of its innings pitched from last season. Sophomores Andrew Thome and Jeff Campbell made up 168.2 innings (37.3%) of the team’s total (452.2) in 2012.
•Zack Trygstad went 4-for-4 in the finale with North Dakota State for the team’s second four-hit performance (Patrick Riewer). Patrick Vandoorne leads UND with five multi-hit games this season.
OFF TO THE WAC
In February, the Western Athletic Conference announced that an invitation for affiliate membership has been issued to and accepted by the University of North Dakota to join the conference in baseball starting with the 2013-14 academic year.
North Dakota will join fellow current-Great West Conference members Chicago State, Northern Colorado, Texas-Pan American and Utah Valley as additions to the WAC for next season.
UND already has a relationship with the WAC as the women’s swimming team is an affiliate member in its second season in the league. The addition will give the WAC a total of 10 teams for baseball as North Dakota will join CSU Bakersfield, Chicago State, Grand Canyon, New Mexico State, Northern Colorado, Sacramento State, Seattle U, Texas-Pan American and Utah Valley in 2014.
GLANCE AT THE GREAT WEST
North Dakota will be playing its fourth and final season in the Great West Conference in 2013. Utah Valley has won each of the league’s regular season and tournament titles. The conference season will culminate in Newark, N.J. May 21-26.
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.