THIS WEEK: The Dakota State University softball team (13-22 overall record) concludes their regular-season schedule on Tuesday evening. The Trojans visit their in-state rival University of Sioux Falls in a doubleheader. First game is set for 5 p.m. at Harmodon Park in southeast area of Sioux Falls, S.D. with the second game to follow at approximately 20-25 minutes after the completion of the first game. It will be the final regular-season collegiate career softball games for two DSU seniors (Leslie Neiman and Alisa Balesteri).
LAST MEETING: University of Sioux Falls swept Dakota State in both teams' last meeting on April 5, 2011 at Sherman Park in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Cougars won the first game 9-5, despite that DSU outhit USF 14-11 in the game. The Trojans held a 7-5 lead in the second game, but USF scored five times in the bottom sixth inning and held on to defeat DSU 9-7 to earn a doubleheader sweep.
ABOUT UNIVERSITY OF SIOUX FALLS: Travis Lape is in his first year head coach for the University of Sioux Falls. He had served as an assistant coach for the Cougars the past three seasons. University of Sioux Falls is a transitional member of the NCAA Division II and will join the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference next fall. The Cougars are 13-19 on the season and earned a doubleheader split with Truman State on April 22. USF Is 2-4 against teams from South Dakota and 2-2 at home.
DSU 13-GAME ROAD STRETCH: Dakota State is currently on a 13-game road stretch to end their regular-season schedule. The Trojans defeated Mount Marty and York (Neb.) on the road in April.
NATIONAL TEAM RANKINGS: According to DakStats-NAIA statistical website as of Monday, April 23, Dakota State ranks 12th in the nation in assists per game (10.1), 17th in chances per game (31.6) and 34th in stolen bases per game (1.5).
INDIVIDUAL NATIONAL RANKINGS: Taylor Mackey is fourth in the nation in saves with four. She is 35th in total innings pitched (149 2/3 innings). Jessica McLane ranks 15th in the nation in chances per game (8.2) and 20th in putouts per game (7.4). Brittany Hill is 16th in hits per game (1.5), 31st in total bases per game (2.3), 32nd in assists per game (2.5) and 33rd in batting average (.445)
DSU QUICK LEADERS: Brittany Hill leads the Trojans with 53 hits and a batting average of .445. Hill also leads the team with 28 RBIs (0.8 per game). Taylor Mackey records an earned run average (ERA) of 2.53. She records 88 strikeouts this season (5.3 strikeouts per nine inning). Leslie Neiman leads DSU with 12 stolen bases (0.4 stolen bases per game).
INDEPENDENT WEEKLY RANKINGS: The Association of Independent Institutions softball weekly ranking was released on Monday, April 23. The rankings are:
(1) Cal State San Marcos (45-4 overall record)
(2) Houston-Victoria (Texas) (34-6)
(3) Louisiana State-Alexandria (21-16)
(4) Jamestown (N.D.) (24-17)
(5) Dickinson State (N.D.) (24-21)
(6) Valley City State (N.D.) (21-18)
(7) Thomas (Ga.) (17-26)
A.I.I. SOFTBALL INDEPENDENT TOURNAMENT: The Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) softball independent tournament will take place in Columbus, Ga., hosted by Thomas (Ga.) University. Besides the host-team Thomas, five other teams will qualify to the independent tournament to be played on May 3-5 at Golden Park (where the 1996 Olympics softball competitions were held).
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State softball and athletics all season long at www.twitter.com/GoDaSUAthletics.
LIVE VIDEO: University of Sioux Falls will be providing the live video streaming of DSU-USF softball games. The link can be found on http://www.usfcougars.com/mediaPortal/player.dbml?&id=472822&catid=0&KEY=GBEHCIRDDVWEPLC.20120423232557&DB_OEM_ID=26500 or go to www.dsuathletics.com. Check the 'Live Games' tab above the 'Upcoming Events' to find the link.
UP NEXT: The A.I.I. Softball Independent Tournament will start on May 3-5 in Columbus, Ga. The postseason is hosted by Thomas (Ga.).
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director