NJIT (17-26, 9-10 GWC) at North Dakota (17-18-1, 7-9 GWC)
Friday- 3:00 p.m., Saturday- Noon (DH), Sunday- Noon
Kraft Memorial Field
Live Video (Sat. Only)/Audio/Stats: UNDSports.com
North Dakota looks to pull back over the .500 mark this weekend when it hosts New Jersey Tech Friday through Sunday at Kraft Field. UND is in the midst of a 13-game homestand to close the regular season and is 4-1 at home this year.
Saturday is Special Olympics Day at Kraft as we invite all Special Olympians to stand on the first base line with the team for the National Anthem prior to the first game. On Sunday, UND welcome Cope Well Foundation for the 2nd Annual Cancer Awareness Day.
UND has had two of its four home wins come in the bottom half of the ninth inning with Jeff Campbell playing key roles in both. Last Friday’s 6-5 win came after UND rallied with two down to post four runs including a three-run Campbell homer to tie it. Tyler Follis later won it with an RBI single. Tuesday vs. South Dakota State, Campbell again was the hero, lacing an 0-2 pitch to right field for a walkoff single.
Sophomore Jeff Campbell has seen his season turn around since the start of conference play. Following a Mar. 30 doubleheader against NDSU, Campbell was scuffling through an injury and was hitting .138 with 22 strikeouts. Since then, he is batting .318 (21-for-66) to raise his season average nearly 100 points. In that time, he’s played 16 games and driven in 15 runs.
TAYLOR TEARING IT UP
Junior catcher Taylor Petersen has been on a tear, reaching base 23 times in his last nine games. He recorded six hits on Friday alone last week vs. UTPA and ended that four-game series 8-for-12 with four BB and a .833 OBP. His two-out single in the ninth inning of Friday’s thrilling comeback ignited a rally that saw UND score four runs in that final frame (all with two out) to beat the Broncs, 6-5. Petersen leads UND with 52 total bases, a .486 slugging percentage, 24 runs, 31 walks and three HRs. He’s hitting .318 for the season and has a current streak of reaching base in 15 straight contests.
KWAK THIS WAY
With a walk in the opener of the UTPA series, senior Kris Kwak tied the career mark for base on balls in UND history. His 106th walk tied former standout Carter Rogalla (1994-98). Kwak owns the single-season record for walks with 38 last year and he has 28 this season with eight games still remaining in the regular season.
SCOUTING THE HIGHLANDERS
NJIT comes into the weekend series a half-game ahead of North Dakota for fifth place in the Great West Conference standings (9-10) ... Mark Leiter, Jr. is the reigning Louisville Slugger Division I and Great West Conference Pitcher of the Week after striking out 20 batters in a win over Chicago State Friday ... Those 20 Ks are the most by a DI pitcher this season and the final eight outs of that win all fell victim to the punchout ... Teddy Bickert owns the top batting average for NJIT at .389 while Ed Charlton leads the team in homers (3), triples (4) and steals (14).
ALL-TIME VS. NJIT
NJIT holds a slight edge in the all-time series with UND, winning eight of the 15 meetings. Last year, NJIT took three of four at home in the regular season, but North Dakota won a 1-0 decision in the opening round of the Great West Conference Tournament.
North Dakota has gotten a nice lift from sophomore Alex Twenge, who has settled into his role in the starting rotation. After filling in behind the plate last year and out of the bullpen, Twenge has inked his name into the rotation with a 5-1 mark and a 2.27 earned run average this season. UND has won six of the eight games he’s started and his ERA is a miniscule 1.69 since his second start of the season. His lone loss was a 1-0 decision vs. North Dakota State in which he threw 6.1 innings and allowed just one run. His five wins this year lead the team and his next win this season would tie him for seventh for wins in a single season all-time at UND.
Zack Trygstad has generated four triples this season, which ranks third in the conference and is already in the top 10 all-time in a season in school history. His four triples are tied with seven other players-- including current assistant coach Brian DeVillers (2003)-- for third place on that list. He is chasing the record holder of seven set by Josh Ray two seasons ago.
EYEING 20 WINS
Depsite losing nine games to weather this season, UND is approaching its best win total in its Division I era (19). Both last year’s team and the 2010 squad posted 19 wins and the 2013 edition has the opportunity to finish above .500 for the first time since 2005.
SUNDAY FUNDAY AT UNC
The series finale at Northern Colorado was full of highlights. UND had an eight-run inning and a 12-run frame as well in a 23-7 rout of the Bears on April 14.
*It was a UND season high for runs.
*It’s the first time UND has scored 10+ runs in an inning in its NCAA Division I era.
*The win marked the most runs in a game for UND since a 29-4 win at Minnesota-Crookston in 2005.
*UND set Great West Conference season highs in runs (23), hits (24) and total bases (30).
*Coming into the contest, UND had 12 different multi-RBI performances (7 different players had more than one RBI Sunday).
• North Dakota has five batters hitting over .300 led by Ryan Reese’s .347 clip. Luis Calvo is hitting .333 in seven games played while Zack Trygstad moved to .330 over the weekend. Taylor Petersen is up to .318 with Patrick Vandoorne at .309.
• Taylor Petersen reached-base streak has ballooned to 15 straight.
• Junior Jacob Threlkeld is the only player to play every game at his position (36- CF). Taylor Petersen has caught 33 of 36 games this year to solidify the backstop position for UND this season.
• 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 13 steals in 15 tries this season. He also owns UND longets hitting streak of the season with 10 straight (current).
• 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 21 career starts, Thome has completed 10 of those including four of his nine starts this season.
• Sophomore Tyler Follis set a UND single-season record with 74 hits in his freshman campaign.
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.
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.