North Dakota enters the Great West Conference Tournament full of momentum, winning 10 of its last 13 games en route to the No. 5 seed in the eight-team field. UND will face three-time defending GWC champion Utah Valley in the opening round Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. CT.
ALL-GREAT WEST PERFORMERS
Four UND athletes took home All-Great West Conference honors at Monday’s 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.
UND AT THE GWC TOURNAMENT
North Dakota carries a 5-6 overall record at the Great West Conference Tournament, winning its first two games in each of the last two seasons. UND has improved its seeding in each of the last three seasons, going from seven to six to fifth this year.
|2012- Orem, Utah (6 seed)|
|May 22||NJIT||1 - 0 (W)|
|May 23||Texas-Pan American||18 - 7 (W)|
|May 24||Utah Valley||4 - 15 (L)|
|May 25||Houston Baptist||8 - 13 (L)|
|2011- Grand Forks, N.D. (7 seed)|
|May 24||Northern Colorado||5 - 1 (W)|
|May 25||Houston Baptist||8 - 2 (W)|
|May 26||Utah Valley||2 - 3 (L)|
|May 27||Houston Baptist||1 - 7 (L)|
|2010- Edinburg, Texas (5 seed)|
|May 26||Houston Baptist||3 - 9 (L)|
|May 27||Utah Valley||7 - 11 (L)|
|May 28||Chicago State||8 - 2 (W)|
DID I HEAR A NINER IN THERE?
North Dakota has made a habit of scoring late in games, especially during its recent homestand. As proof, UND is outscoring its opponents a whopping 27-3 in the ninth inning this season. That is the second-best inning for UND in terms of scoring margin as the fourth inning is a 52-25 advantage for North Dakota, its most runs in a single frame this season.
GETTING THE LEAD AND MAKING IT STICK
While late UND comebacks have been the norm recently, the trend for a bulk of the season’s win is to grab an early lead. In fact, UND is 17-3 when leading after four innings and a perfect 10-0 when leading after seven and 13-0 when leading heading into the ninth.
UND has had four different players with reached-base streaks of at least 16 games this season, including a current 18-gamer by Tyler Follis. That 18-game stretch is tied for the longest this season by a UND player as Kris Kwak has a similar streak earlier this year. Taylor Petersen and Jacob Threlkeld each recently had 16-game streaks broken up.
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 6-1 mark (4-0 in conference) and a 2.72 earned run average this season. UND has won seven of the 10 games he’s started. His six wins already rank him tied for seventh in UND’s single-season record books and his next win this season would tie him for third. (J.J. Scheving holds the record at 9 in 2004).
Zack Trygstad has generated five triples this season, which ranks tied for second in the conference and is already tied for second all-time in a season in school history. He has nine for his career, good for a a tie for third place. The season record is held by Josh Ray who hit seven two seasons ago.
WINNING SEASON AT DIVISION I
Despite losing nine games to weather this season and with the conference tournament still to play, UND has already set a new record win total in its Division I era (23). Both last year’s team and the 2010 squad posted 19 wins and the 2013 edition will finish above .500 for the first time since 2005.
UND is taking an eraser to the record books in terms of runs scored in a game recently. Following a 23-run outburst on April 14 of this season at Northern Colorado, UND strung together 25 runs on May 10 for two of the top eight highest scoring games in UND history. The record for runs scored happened way back in 1895 with a 33-11 win over the Grand Forks YMCA in 1895. The modern-day record (post WWI) is a 31-1 win over Dickinson State in the 1991 campaign. This season’s outbursts are easily the most in the school’s Division I era.
TAY PETE’S RECENT FEATS
Taylor Petersen is approaching the UND single-season record for walks with 35 this year. The mark was set just last season by Kris Kwak with 38. Petersen has been on a tear in conference play, catching all 24 games and hitting .377 while slugging .532 with a .505 OBP. He also has 22 RBI, 22 runs and 29 hits in league games to lead the team and has drawn 19 BB to just 5 Ks in 24 Great West games.
LOCKHERT LOCKED IN
Freshman Daniel Lockhert was locked in on May 10, going 5-for-6 with 10 RBI in the lopsided 25-5 win over NJIT. He had two singles, two doubles and a grand slam to help give him the UND single-game record for RBI (formerly 9 by Jake Magner in 2010). He came into the game with 4 RBI in 12 games.
Zack Trygstad had one of the most peculiar line’s in that 25-5 win on May 10, going 0-for-3 with 5 runs scored. He reached via fielder’s choice twice and an error along with a couple of walks but crossed home each time to tie him with three others for the UND single-game record for runs (Troy Wasiloski last to do it in 2005).
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.