April 2, 2014
THIS WEEK: The Dakota State University softball team (9-10 overall record, 0-0 North Star Athletic Association conference record) returns to action on Sunday and Monday. The Trojans welcome Mayville State (N.D.) (2-8, 0-0 NSAA) to kick off the North Star Athletic Association Softball conference season opener. The doubleheader kicks off at 1 p.m. on both days at Thue Softball Complex in Madison, S.D.
LET'S PLAY BALL: Dakota State and Mayville State have not been in action in more than two weeks, due to unfavorable playing conditions and weather forecast. The last time Trojans had played was on March 21-22, playing five games in the Sterling (Kan.) Tournament. DSU snapped their seven-game losing skid with a doubleheader sweep over host-team Sterling on March 22. Mayville State's last game was on March 20 as part of their ten-game stretch in the Tucson (Ariz.) Invitational. The Comets recorded two victories during their stay in Tucson, defeating Mount Marty (S.D.) 7-1 on March 16 and Antelope Valley (Calif.) on March 19.
DSU'S 20-GAME HOME STAND: The Trojans kick off their 20-game home stand at Thue Softball Complex on Sunday. During DSU's 20-game home stretch, Dakota State will host three different NSAA opponents—Mayville State on April 6-7, Presentation (S.D.) on April 9 and Jamestown (N.D.) on April 15. DSU will host four different non-conference opponents during the 20-game home stand. The Trojans welcome Mount Marty (S.D.) on April 11, Dickinson State (N.D.) on April 12-13, Dakota Wesleyan on April 15 and Dordt (Iowa) on April 21.
INAUGURAL NORTH STAR ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION SOFTBALL OPENER: The inaugural North Star Athletic Association Softball Conference season kicks off this weekend with four different teams in action. Dakota State will host Mayville State on Sunday and Monday in Madison. Valley City State (N.D.) and Jamestown (N.D.) play home-and-home series this weekend. Presentation (S.D.) won't play their first NSAA conference games as they travel to Dakota State on Wednesday, April 9 in Madison.
TROJANS' NATIONAL RANKS IN STOLEN BASES: According to the NAIA-DakStats statistical website as of Wednesday, Dakota State is No. 4 in the nation in stolen bases per game with an average of 3.2 stolen bases. The Trojans racked up a total of 60 stolen bases this season, ranking Dakota State 23rd-best in the nation. Erica Belter ranks 11th in the nation in stolen bases per game (0.8) and 39th in total stolen bases with 16. She currently leads the North Star Athletic Association/Frontier conference in stolen bases.
STELLAR TROJAN OFFENSE ATTACK: Dakota State ranks 25th in the nation in triples per game with average of 0.4 triples per game and 39th in the nation in total triples with seven. Samantha Mitchell is ninth in the nation in home runs per game (0.3) and 40th in total home runs with six. She is 23rd in the nation in slugging percentage with .837 (21 hits with two doubles and six home runs). As a team, Dakota State produces a batting average of .309.
LET'S PLAY DEFENSE: The Trojans average 30.2 chances per game, which is 39th-best in the nation. DSU is 42nd in the nation in assists per game with an average of 8.9 assists. Ellie Kristensen leads the nation in fielding percentage with 1.000 (no defensive errors). Brittany Hill is eighth in the nation in putouts per game (8.5) and ninth in chances per game (8.8). Samantha Mitchell averages 2.6 assists per game, ranking her 32nd in the nation.
REGIONALLY SPEAKING: Dakota State had moved up one spot in the latest North Star Athletic Association/Frontier conference weekly rankings, announced Monday. Dickinson State (N.D.) remains in the top spot with an overall record of 14-11. Great Falls (Mont.) is at No. 2 with 12-9 record, followed by Jamestown (N.D.) at No. 3 (9-11 record). Valley City State (N.D.) dropped to No. 5 with an overall record of 11-13. The weekly rankings are used to determine the NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 national rankings, which is released every Tuesday afternoon.
LAST MEETING: Dakota State and Mayville State did not play each other during the 2013 season. The last time they met was on March 28 in a doubleheader in Madison. The Comets won the first game by the score of 4-1. The Trojans exploded for four runs in the bottom third inning to earn a 4-0 shutdown victory over Mayville State in the second game, earning a doubleheader split.
QUICK LEADERS: Samantha Mitchell, Brittany Hill and Erica Belter each lead the Trojans with 21 hits. Mitchell leads the team with .429 batting average. Brittany Hill re cords 15 RBIs this season and averages 0.8 RBIs per game. Erica Belter swipes 16 bases, averaging 0.8 stolen bases this season. Ellie Kristensen leads the team in earned runs average of 4.11 and 19 strikeouts.
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 home stand with eight games scheduled for the week at the Thue Softball Complex. The Trojans continue their NSAA conference action against Presentation (S.D.) on Wednesday, April 9. The doubleheader kicks off at 3 p.m. On Friday, DSU welcomes in-state rival Mount Marty in a non-conference doubleheader action at 3 p.m. On April 12-13, Dakota State hosts Dickinson State (N.D.), who will join the North Star Athletic Association conference in 2014-15 academic season, in a four-game series. The doubleheader starts at 1 p.m. on April 12 and 12 p.m. on April 13.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director