THIS WEEK: Dakota State (28-26 overall record) will be preparing to make their debut in the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round Thursday. The Trojans continue their postseason run as they face Tabor (Kan.) in the Hutchinson (Kan.) bracket. First pitch is set for 11 a.m. at Hobart-Detter Field in Hutchinson, Kan. The tournament continues through Saturday, May 12 with the championship game set for 6:30 p.m. The second championship game, if necessary, is set for May 14 at 1 p.m. The winner of the Hutchinson bracket will join the host-team Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) at the 56th Annual Avista-NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho on May 25-June 1.
POSTSEASON RUN: Dakota State qualified for the NAIA national tournament after earning a runner-up honor in the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Postseason Conference Tournament in San Marcos, Calif. on May 2-5. The Trojans (sixth-seed in the tournament) opened the postseason with a 3-2 upset victory over top-seed Cal State San Marcos on May 2. Third-seed Mayville State (N.D.) handed DSU its first loss of the tournament on May 3 by the score of 13-0. Dakota State bounced back in the winning column as they survived two elimination games, defeating fourth-seed Thomas (Ga.) 8-6 and fifth-seed Arizona Christian 4-1 on May 4. After the victory over the Firestorm, the Trojans earned an automatic bid to the national tournament. The Trojans dropped to Arizona Christian 9-2 on May 5 in the first-ever A.I.I. Conference Championship game.
HUTCHINSON (KAN.) BRACKET: Five teams in the Hutchinson (Kan.) bracket of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round continue their postseason play Thursday at Hobart-Detter Field. Three teams in the brackets (Dakota State, Judson and Tabor) will be making their debut in the national tournament's opening round in program history, while Oklahoma Baptist and Rogers State will be making their second appearance. The tournament kicks off with No. 5 seed Dakota State and No. 4 seed Tabor (Kan.) on Thursday at 11 a.m. The other pairing is No. 3 seed Rogers State (Okla.) and No. 2 seed Judson (Ill.) at 2:30 p.m. Top-seed Oklahoma Baptist takes on the winner of DSU-Tabor game at 6:30 p.m. Thursday evening. Three teams (Oklahoma Baptist, Judson and Rogers State) are ranked in the final NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 national poll, released on May 6. Tabor received votes recognition to the national poll.
TROJANS IN POSTSEASON HISTORY: Dakota State will be making their fifth appearance in the NAIA postseason play, their first appearance in the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round. The Trojans played in the NAIA Region III tournament four times (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007). DSU captured the region titles in 2003 and 2005 and advanced to the NAIA Central Plains Super Regionals in those season.
FOLLOW THE TROJANS AT NATIONALS: Fans can follow the DSU's baseball team on http://www.dsuathletics.com/2012-baseball-national-tourney.aspx. The host tournament have established a tournament website on http://www.taborbluejays.com/f/Regional_Baseball_Tournament.php with various information about the national tournament. The tournament website also include the links to watch live video and live statistics of each game. The link for the live video can be found on http://www.taborbluejays.com/f1/Watch_Live.php and live stats can be followed on http://www.dakstats.com/Websync/Pages/Tournament/TournamentPage.aspx?association=10&sg=MBA&tour=833. Fans can also follow DSU Baseball team on Twitter on www.twitter.com/GoDaSUAthletics.
RECORD-BREAKING: Anyelo Roman currently holds the DSU school record for most home runs in a single season with 16. He also broke the school record with the most runs batted in (RBI) with 54 during the A.I.I. Baseball Postseason Tournament in San Marcos, Calif., previously set by Greg Biagi with 53 in 2007. Roman set a new DSU record for most hits in a single season with 67, which was previously held by Biagi in 2007. Jason Hershfield is second in the Trojan record book with 13 home runs this season. He tied the record for most shutouts in a single season with two (2) as a starting pitcher. Hershfield is second in the DSU school record book for most strikeouts in a single season with 80 strikeouts.
DSU QUICK LEADERS: Anyelo Roman leads Dakota State in batting averageâ€”0.368 with 67 hits. Anyelo Roman records 54 RBIs (1.0), which leads in the independent conference. Rays Roman swipes 21 bases for the Trojans this season (0.4 stolen bases per game) and records three triples this season. Seth Doxey leads the team in earned run average with 2.83 with 20 earned runs in 63 2/3 innings. Jason Hershfield averages 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings (80 total strikeouts). He leads the team with seven saves.
UP NEXT: The winner of the Hutchinson bracket will join the host-team Lewis-State Clark and eight different bracket winners at the 56th Annual Avista-NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho on May 25-June 1.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director