April 22, 2014
THIS WEEK: Dakota State (9-27 overall record, 4-6 North Star Athletic Association conference record) looks to stop their five-game losing skid as they continue their busy schedule this week. The Trojans return back to NSAA conference action with a doubleheader at Presentation (S.D.) (18-21, 6-4 NSAA). First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at Manor Park in Aberdeen, S.D. On Thursday, DSU returns back to Thue Softball Complex Thursday evening to play their final home regular-season doubleheader versus long-time rival Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) (17-13). The non-conference is slated for 5 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, Dakota State play their final NSAA four-game regular-season series at NSAA's conference leader Valley City State (N.D.) (19-19, 8-2 NSAA). The doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. on both days at VCSU Softball Complex.
DSU SENIORS: Dakota State recognized their two seniors on their Senior Day celebration on April 19 versus Jamestown (N.D.). They are Lori Harshbarger and Katie Slibowski and played their final home weekend series at Thue Softball Complex. Harshbarger and Slibowski had been with the Trojan Softball for two years and they were junior transfers from a community college in Kansas. Dakota State will play their final home doubleheader on Thursday.
POWER HITTING: According to the DakStats-NAIA statistical website as of Tuesday, Dakota State ranks sixth in the nation in triples per game with an average of 0.6 triples per game. The Trojans are 11th in the nation in total triples with 20. Samantha Mitchell is 7th in the nation in slugging percentage (.887). Elizabeth Rubalcava and Mitchell each rank 15th in the nation in total triples with five. Mitchell had smashed a total of 10 home runs this season, ranking her 27th-best in the nation. As a team, the Trojans record a slugging percentage of .430 with 81 extra-bases hits (46 doubles, 20 triples and 15 home runs).
DSU DEFENSE RANKS: The Trojans had averaged 31.0 chances per game, ranking them 16th in the nation. DSU is 37th in the nation in assists per game (9.1) and 48th in putouts per game (19.7). Brittany Hill ranks 4th in the nation in putouts per game (8.7) and 6th in chances per game (9.0). She had amassed a total of 314 put-outs, which is 13th-most in the nation. Hill had 325 chances this season (14th-best in the nation). Mitchell averages 2.5 assists per game (32nd in the nation).
REGIONALLY SPEAKING: Dickinson State (N.D.) had won 10 straight games to continue to hold the top spot in the latest North Star/Frontier Softball weekly rankings, released Monday afternoon. The Blue Hawks had lifted their overall record to 27-13. Valley City State (N.D.) had leaped over Jamestown (N.D.) after sweeping the Jimmies last week, earning the top spot in the North Star Athletic Association Softball conference standings. VCSU is No. 2 with 19-19 overall record, followed by Jamestown with 18-16 record. Great Falls (Mont.) remained at No. 4 (14-13 record) and Presentation (S.D.) stayed at No. 5 with 17-20 overall record. The weekly rankings will be used to determine the upcoming six-team NAIA Unaffiliated NSAA/Frontier Softball Conference Tournament, which takes place in Jamestown, N.D. on May 2-4.
LAST MEETING: Presentation (S.D.) won their first-ever NSAA conference games as they rallied back from a pair of four-run deficits to defeat Dakota State at Thue Softball Complex on April 9. The Saints fell behind 4-0 in the opening inning, but rallied back to defeat the Trojans 11-5. Trailing 8-4 in the second game of the doubleheader, PC put together a five-run seventh inning earn a 9-8 come-from-behind to defeat DSU 9-8. Dakota Wesleyan won the last meeting with the Trojans, which was held in Mitchell, S.D. on April 4. The Tigers earned doubleheader sweep over DSU by the scores of 11-10 and 14-3 in five innings. DWU had won the last six meetings with the Trojans.
LAST TIME OUT: Dakota State shut down Jamestown (N.D.) 2-0 in the four-game series opener on April 18 at Thue Softball Complex, but lost five straight since. The Trojans dropped the next three games to the Jimmies by the scores 4-1, 3-1 and 5-0. DSU concluded their two-plus weeks long with a doubleheader loss to Dordt (Iowa) 10-7 and 10-2 on April 21. Presentation (S.D.) swept a four-game series with Mayville State (N.D.) in Aberdeen, S.D. on April 18-19. The Saints posted 10-1, 8-0, 5-4 and 6-4 victories over the Comets. PC split a non-conference doubleheader at Mount Marty (S.D.) on April 21, losing the first game 8-2 but bounced back in the winning column with an 8-0 victory in the night cap. Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) split a conference doubleheader with Dordt (Iowa) on April 22 in Mitchell, S.D. DWU defeated the Defenders 8-5 in the game, but lost in the second game by a 7-0 shutout.
QUICK LEADERS: Samantha Mitchell leads the Trojans' offensive attack with a batting average of .423, tallying a total of 41 hits in 97 plate appearances this season. She had accumulated a total of 10 home runs this season for the Trojans. Mitchell also leads the team with 30 RBIs (0.9 RBIs per game). Brittany Hill produces a batting average of .366 and lwith 28 runs batted in. Erica Betler swipes 24 bases this season. Ellie Kristensen leads DSU on the pitching mound with an earned runs average of 4.07 (38 earned runs) in 65 1/3 innings. Katie Slibowski records a total of 39 strikeouts from the pitching mound to lead the Trojans. She have a 3-3 pitching record for DSU. Rachel Hughes leads the team with four pitching victories.
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.
LIVE STATS/PLAY-BY-PLAY: Dakota State will be providing live stats/play-by-play in all home contests. The live stats/play-by-play is available on http://www.dakstats.com/WebSync/Pages/Team/TeamPage.aspx?association=10&sg=WBA&sea=NAIWBA_2014&team=1447 and click on the letter "W' to view the live stats/play-by-play. The link can also be found on the DSU Athletics home page on www.dsuathletics.com.
UP NEXT: Dakota State play their final regular-season non-conference doubleheader tune-up before the NAIA's Unaffiliated North Star/Frontier Softball Conference Postseason Tournament (May 2-4 in Jamestown, N.D.) on Tuesday. The Trojans head to Sioux Center, Iowa to visit Dordt (Iowa) of the Great Plains Athletic Conference. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Open Space Field.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director