The 2014 regular season concludes with a three-game set at Sacramento State, May 15-17, in a series that looms large in terms of qualifying for the postseason WAC Tournament. The Hornets currently hold down the top spot while North Dakota is currently two games back of the sixth and final playoff seed.
The 2014 WAC Tournament is set for May 22-25 in Mesa, Ariz. The six-team, double-elimination tourney will be held at the Chicago Cubs’ brand new spring training facility. The winner will earn the WAC’s automatic berth in the NCAA Division I Tournament beginning the following week.
ABOUT SACRAMENTO STATE
Sacramento State leads the WAC with a one-game lead over Grand Canyon and has already clinched the top seed for the conference tournament (Grand Canyon not eligible). The Hornets lead the WAC in batting average (.282), slugging percentage (.380), hits (507), runs (274), ERA (3.32), and saves (11) and are second in home runs (27). SAC is led by 1B Rhys Hopkins, who has a .331 batting average, eight dingers and 42 RBI.
UND dropped three to Grand Canyon, who sits in second place in the league standings. North Dakota finished its home schedule with a 5-5 record.
SERIES HISTORY WITH THE HORNETS
This weekend will mark the first-ever games between the two programs.
TYING AND PASSING THE BUCK
Jeff Dodson’s collected win No. 99 at North Dakota State May 7 to tie him with Gene Roebuck for victories as a UND skipper. One more win will put Dodson in third for career wins among UND baseball coaches all-time. Roebuck coached the team from 1990-93 and led the team to the 1993 NCAA North Central Regional. Roebuck was also a Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach at UND (1987-2012).
All-time winningest UND baseball coaches
COACH WINS YEARS
Kelvin Ziegler 326 1994-2007
Pinky Kraft 207 1956-81
Gene Roebuck 99 1990-93
Jeff Dodson 99 2009-pres.
GOING DEEP AND GRABBING A “W”
As of Thursday morning, just eight NCAA Division I players have hit a homerun and won that same game on the mound. UND junior Jeff Campbell turned the trick in a March 16th 10-4 win at Utah Valley.
DOUBLES WATCH FOR PETERSEN
Senior Taylor Petersen now has a team-leading 14 doubles, just one shy of cracking the top 10 for a single season at North Dakota. With three games remaining in the regular season and a potential league tournament to play, Petersen could leap into the top five with three more two-baggers. Travis Koehn and Mark Olson both hold the record with 20, set in 2004.
PARROTT “PAIRING” IT
Dalton Parrott has reached base at least twice in six of his last seven starts, dating back to April 25. Over the weekend, he reached base in seven of eight plate appearances in the series against Grand Canyon. He had hits in five straight trips, spanning two games and has raised his batting average .122 points in this stretch.
Junior Tyler Follis now has a 13-game hitting streak, the longest strung together by a UND hitter this season. In that stretch, he has ficve multi-hit games including his second four-hit game of the season. He has hit safely in 23 of 27 starts this year.
GIVE HIM A BRESNA-HAND
Freshman Ellery Bresnahan earned his first collegiate win May 7, working three innings in relief in the victory over North Dakota State. The Casselton, N.D., native allowed just a pair of hits and got out of an inherited fifth-inning jam to become the pitcher of record.
CAMPBELL CLOSES THE DOOR
May 7th’s win over North Dakota State featured a ninth-inning picthed by Jeff Campbell, who has seen most of his time in the rotation this season. The junior fireballer moved over from first base and allowed just one hit, getting a strikeout to end it for his first save of the season and second of his career.
Patrick Riewer made his first start on the mound in a UND uniform a memorable one. After making just three appearances for a combined total of three innings on the season, Riewer threw a complete game, helping UND past North Dakota State on April 29. The senior did not allow a run after the third inning and struck out six in the win.
WINNER IN THE CLASSROOM, TOO
Riewer’s achievements also extend to the classroom, where he is a 4.0 GPA student in chemical engineering. He was recently named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team and will advance to the All-America ballot.
Freshman Zach Muckenhirn has flirted with a no-hitter twice already this season, taking a no-no into the fifth on April 26 at Chicago State and etching a perfect game until two down in the sixth on May 3rd at UTPA. He continues to lead North Dakota regular starters with a 3.32 ERA and 44 strikeouts.
DOUBLE DIGIT STREAKING
Six different UND players have put together reached base streaks of 10 or more this season. Ryan Reese had a season-high 19-game streak earlier in the season. Daniel Lockhert owns the second-longest at 14 while Taylor Petersen (13), Tyler Follis (13), Jeff Campbell (12) and Patrick Riewer (10) also joined the mix.
Freshman Zach Muckenhirn turned in the longest outing by a UND starter in two seasons in his April 19 win at Chicago State. The lefty fired a no-hitter through four and had a one-hitter into the ninth inning. After giving up a run in that ninth, the game went extras and he got an out in the 10th to go 9.1 IP, longest since Trent Egan threw 9.2 IP against Minot State in 2012.
North Dakota moved its home-opening series with Northern Colorado to Bismarck, N.D. and the all-turf field at Shiloh Christian. UND swept all three games from the Bears and improved to 6-3 in the Western Athletic Conference with the wins.
HOW SWEEP IT IS
UND’s three-game sweep of UNC marked a first for North Dakota in its Division I era. Since the transition to D1, UND had never before swept a conference series in four years in the Great West and this first year in the WAC. North Dakota also won its fourth straight conference game, a first in the D1 era.
REESE NABS FIRST WAC HONOR
Junior Ryan Reese hit .500 (6-of-12) with a pair of doubles and five RBI in a series win at Utah Valley Mar. 14-16 to net him Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week honors. He had a hit in all three games and extended his streak of reaching base to eight straight. He becomes the first North Dakota player to earn this award.
North Dakota has scored 10 runs three times this season. UND is 2-1 in those games with the only loss a slim 11-10 setback at Bakersfield.
GETTING TRYGGY WITH IT
Senior Zack Trygstad has 10 career triples to his credit, putting him into second place all-time at North Dakota. He is just one shy of the career mark held by Josh Ray (11).
Freshman Zach Muckenhirn had a college debut to remember, twirling 6.2 innings without allowing an earned run in a no-decision against Central Arkansas on Mar. 1. He left with a 3-1 lead in the seventh, settling in after two base hits to start the game, squandering just four total hits for the game.
ALL-GREAT WEST PERFORMERS LAST SEASON
Four UND athletes took home All-Great West Conference honors at last season’ pre-tournament banquet. Headlining the group was first team catcher Taylor Petersen who was part of a first team that had 10 new honorees from a season ago. Three UND players were second team members led by SP Andrew Thome, who was the only repeat all-conference member on the second team. He was joined by SP Alex Twenge and 3B Ryan Reese.