Game notes: Baseball off to Northern Colorado
North Dakota travels to Northern Colorado this weekend for the second series of the Great West Conference season. UND plays its first two GWC series on the road before finishing the season with four of the final five series at home.
THREE’S COMPANY, FOUR’S A CROWD
The Great West’s first weekend of play were all 3-1 series wins with three of the four series going to the road teams. UNC, Utah Valley, Texas-Pan American and Houston Baptist are all tied atop the league ledger with 3-1 records.
Zack Trygstad’s pinch-hit triple in Sunday’s finale at Houston Baptist gave the senior three on the season, tied for the team lead. Jacob Threlkeld also has that many three-baggers, tied for second-most in the league (4- Ed Charlton, NJIT)
FLASHING THE LEATHER
Despite not having the opportunity to practice outside for much of the season, UND leads the Great West Conference in fielding percentage with a .971 clip heading into this week. North Dakota has made just 20 errors this year in 23 games, just over half of the nearest team (34- Utah Valley and UNC).
Senior Kris Kwak is tied for the league lead with 20 bases on balls this season while junior Taylor Petersen is tied for fourth with 16. Kwak has reached base in all but two games this year while Petersen has four games with more than one free pass granted.
North Dakota is off to a good start, garnering its 10th win of the season in Saturday’s win at Houston Baptist. That win came well before the 10th win in its previous Division I campaigns:
Year- Date of 10th win
2013- April 5
2012- May 4th
2011- May 20th
2010- May 1st
2009- April 24th
ALL-TIME VS. UNC
All time, Northern Colorado holds a slight edge, winning 16 of the 29 meetings. The series dates back to the NCAA Division II days when UNC and UND were both members of the North Central Conference (NCC). Since North Dakota’s jump to Division I, it holds a 5-8 record against Northern Colorado.
THE SCOUT ON THE BEARS
Northern Colorado took three of four from Chicago State in the opening series of Great West Conference play last weekend. After starting the season 4-11, UNC has won seven of its last ten, including a 4-2 mark at home. The Bears have three starters batting over .300, led by Jensen Park’s .337 mark. RHP Josh Tinnon, Friday’s starter, leads the team with 38.2 innings pitched and has compiled a 2-1 record with a 2.79 earned run average. Sunday starter Nick Miller has three wins on the mound and sports a 3.22 ERA.
• North Dakota has four starters batters hitting over .300 led by Daniel Lockhert’s .429 in his two games back. Ryan Reese sits at .349 with Patrick Vandoorne at .313 and Zack Trygstad at .309.
• Kris Kwak has an eight-game reached base streak going.
• Zack Trygstad has hit safely in each of his past six games, including a pinch-hit appearance last Sunday.
• North Dakota is 4-1 when Alex Twenge takes to the mound this season. His record is 3-1 to lead the team.
• Junior Jacob Threlkeld is the only player to play every game at his position (CF). Taylor Petersen has caught 21 of 23 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 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 18 career starts, Thome has completed eight of those including two of his six 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).
• 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.
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.