March 18, 2014
THIS WEEK: The Dakota State University softball team (7-5 overall record) continues their action on the road this week against a pair of Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) foes in Iowa. The Trojans visit Briar Cliff (Iowa) (4-4) in a doubleheader on Wednesday in Sioux City. The first game of the doubleheader is slated for 3 p.m. at the SYA Complex. On Friday and Saturday, DSU will play five games in the Sterling (Kan.) Tournament in Sterling and Lyons, Kan. The pairings and schedule will be announced later.
SNOWBIRD INVITATIONAL RECAP: The Trojans went 7-5 record during their week-long Snowbird Invitational at the Grand Park in Myrtle Beach, S.C. last week. DSU kicked off their 2014 campaign with a pair of victories over Penn State-Harrisburg and Swarthmore (Pa.) on March 9. After suffering the first loss of the season versus Bridgewater (Va.), the Trojans bounced back in the winning column by winning three straight games (defeated Delaware Valley, Penn College of Technology and Gordon, Mass.). DSU dropped the next two games to Ursinus (Pa.) and McKendree (Ill.). On March 14, Dakota State held on to beat St. Joseph's-Long Island (N.Y.) 5-4 in the first game and recorded a 2-1 extra innings thriller over NCAA Division II Bemidji State (Minn.). The Trojans concluded the Snowbird Invitational by dropping a doubleheader to NCAA Division II Philadelphia (Pa.).
DSU SHUFFLES SCHEDULE: Dakota State shuffled their schedule for this coming weekend. The Trojans were originally scheduled to visit Dordt (Iowa) on Saturday for a doubleheader had been moved to Friday, March 28 with the first game starting at 4 p.m. in Sioux Center, Iowa. DSU is headed to Kansas to play five games in the Sterling (Kan.) Softball Tournament on Friday and Saturday. The Trojans will play a total of five games in the tournament in Sterling and Lyons, Kan.
DSU RECORDS BIG VICTORY OVER NCAA DIVISION II SCHOOL: Dakota State faced an NCAA Division II and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Collegiate conference member Bemidji State (Minn.) on March 14 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The game featured a pitchers' duel between Beavers' Allison Roberts and Trojans' Katie Slibowski with both pitchers giving up a run through seven innings. As the game extended into extra innings with international tiebreaker rule in effect (start the eighth inning with a runner on second base from the last out in the previous inning), the Beavers went three-and-out in the top eighth inning. While DSU was at-bat in the bottom eighth inning with Slibowski on second base, Elizabeth Rubalcava hit a single and advanced Slibowski to second base. Brittany Hill recorded a game-winning RBI single with no out as Slibowski scored the game winning run, giving DSU a 2-1 thrilling victory over Bemidji State.
STEALING BASES: According to the DakStats-NAIA statistical website as of Tuesday, Dakota State is fourth in the nation in stolen bases per game with an average of 3.1. The Trojans racked a total of 37 stolen bases during their 12 games in the Snowbird Invitational, which is 28th best in the nation. Erica Belter ranks fifth in the nation in stolen bases per game (1.0) and 33rd in total stolen bases (12).
EXTRA BASE HITS: Dakota State accumulated a total of six triples this season, which is 20th best in the nation. The Trojans are 10th in the nation in triples per game with an average of 0.5. Elizabeth Rubalcava average 0.2 triples per game, ranking her 28th-best in the nation. She had two triples this season (35th in that nation). Samantha Mitchell ranks 48th in the nation as she recorded a slugging percentage of .806 and averaged 0.2 home runs per game (39th-best in the nation).
STELLAR DEFENSE: The Trojans averages 31.2 chances per game, ranking DSU 27th-best in the nation. Dakota State is 30th in the nation in assists per game (9.4) and 4th in putouts per game (19.8). Three Trojans—Elizabeth Rubalcava, Ellie Kristensen and Erica Belter—are ranked first in the nation in fielding percentage with a perfect 1.000 (no defensive errors). Brittany Hill is fourth in the nation in chances per game (9.6) and putouts per game (9.1). Kristensen limited its opponents' batting average to .188, ranking her 38th-best in the nation. She is 42nd in total earned runs allowed (8). Morgan Jaime ranks 48th in the nation in assists per game with an average of 2.4 assists.
REGIONALLY SPEAKING: The first regular-season weekly rankings for the North Star/Frontier has been released on Monday (March 17). Great Falls (Mont.) (12-9) and Dickinson State (N.D.) (4-6) are tied for the top spot in the weekly rankings. Dakota State (S.D.) is third with a 7-5 record. Jamestown (N.D.) sits at No. 4 spot with a 7-9 overall record, followed by Valley City State (N.D.) at No. 5 with a 6-9 record. The weekly conference rankings are used to determine the NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 national poll, which is released every Tuesday afternoon during the softball season.
QUICK LEADERS: Samantha Mitchell leads the Trojans' offense attack with a batting average of .452. Her batting average also leads the North Star/Frontier conference. She tallied a total of 14 hits this season. Brittany Hill records 12 runs batted in, averaging 1.0 RBI per game for DSU. Erica Belter swipes 12 bases (1.0 stolen bases per game). Ellie Kristensen leads the Trojans' pitching with a earned run average of 2.14. She averages 4.98 strikeouts per nine innings and accumulated a total of 14 strikeouts this season on the pitching mound.
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State softball and athletics all season long on www.dsuathletics.com. The Trojans are also on Twitter, just log onto www.twitter.com/GoDaSUAthletics. The Dakota State University Athletics group page can be found on Facebook on https://www.facebook.com/DSUTrojanAthletics.
UP NEXT: Dakota State continues their action on the road on Monday, March 24 as they travel to Mitchell, S.D. The Trojans visit their long-time rival Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) in a non-conference doubleheader. The first game of the doubleheader is set for 4 p.m. On Friday, March 28, DSU heads to Sioux Center, Iowa to take on another Great Plains Athletic Conference foe—Dordt (Iowa). The first game of the doubleheader is slated for 4 p.m. at Open Space Field.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director