THIS WEEK: Dakota State softball team (11-14 overall record) returns back to action for the first time since April 1 on Wednesday evening. The Trojans take on their in-state rival Mount Marty (2-20) in a doubleheader at Riverside Park in Yankton, S.D. First game is set for 5 p.m. with the second game to follow at approximately 20-25 minutes after the completion of the first game. It was originally scheduled for Thursday evening, but was forced to move to Wednesday evening due to wet weather conditions forecasted for Thursday.
LAST MEETING: Dakota State won the last meeting with Mount Marty nearly two weeks ago in the Morningside Tournament at the SYA Complex in Yankton, S.D. on April 1. The Trojans and Lancers went into extra innings, which DSU prevailed by the score of 5-4 in eight innings. Taylor Mackey had four hits in the game and produced two RBIs for the Trojans. Brittany Hill added three singles. Mackey tossed a complete game and allowed four runs (one unearned) on seven hits. Mount Marty was led by Mercedees Ricke with two hits and three RBIs. Emily Girard added three singles. Brittany Bruns was tabbed as the losing pitcher for the Lancers as she worked four innings in relief.
BUSY WEEK AHEAD FOR THE TROJANS: DSU will be playing a total of eight games within one week against in-state rivals. The Trojans head to Yankton, S.D. on Wednesday evening for a doubleheader with Mount Marty. Dakota State returns home on Saturday (April 14) as they host Dakota Wesleyan at Thue Softball Complex. On Monday, April 16, the Trojans welcome Mount Marty in another home doubleheader. DSU travels to Mitchell, S.D. on Wednesday, April 18 as they visit Dakota Wesleyan in a doubleheader.
NATIONAL TEAM RANKINGS: According to DakStats-NAIA statistical website as of Tuesday, April 10, Dakota State ranks 19th in the nation in stolen bases per game (2.0), assists per game (9.8) and chances per game (31.3). The Trojans are 23rd in the nation in steal attempts per game (2.2) and 46th in total stolen bases with 47.
INDIVIDUAL NATIONAL RANKINGS: Brittany Hill is third in the nation in batting average (.519), according to the DakStats-NAIA statistical website as of Tuesday. She is fourth in the nation in hits per game (1.8), 31st in slugging percentage (.778) and 37th in home runs per game (0.3). Alisa Balesteri ranks sixth in the nation in total walks allowed with three and 28th in total runs allowed (19). Taylor Mackey is seventh in the nation in saves with four (4). Jessica McLane ranks 16th in putouts per game (7.6). Renaye Gamson is 31st in the nation in runs scored per game (1.0).
DSU QUICK LEADERS: Brittany Hill leads the Trojans with 42 hits and a batting average of .519. Hill also leads the team with 23 RBIs (1.0 per game). Taylor Mackey records an earned run average (ERA) of 2.61. She records 71 strikeouts this season (6.4 strikeouts per nine inning). Leslie Neiman leads DSU with 12 stolen bases (0.6 stolen bases per game).
INDEPENDENT WEEKLY RANKINGS: The Association of Independent Institutions softball weekly ranking was released on Monday, April 9. The rankings are:
(1) Cal State San Marcos (38-3 overall record)
(2) Houston-Victoria (Texas) (23-5)
(3) Louisiana State-Alexandria (18-13)
(4) Dickinson State (N.D.) (18-15)
(5) Jamestown (N.D.) (16-13)
(6) Valley City State (N.D.) (14-15)
(7) Dakota State (S.D.) (11-13)
(T-8) Thomas (Ga.) (14-23)
(T-8) Mayville State (N.D.) (14-13)
(10) British Columbia (13-24)
(11) Patten (Calif.) (9-14)
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.
UP NEXT: Dakota State returns home on Saturday as they welcome another in-state rival at Thue Softball Complex. The Trojans host the Tigers of Dakota Wesleyan in a doubleheader in Madison, S.D. First game of the doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. with the second game to follow at approximately 20-25 minutes after the completion of the first game.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director