THIS WEEK: Dakota State (10-10 overall record) softball team plays a total of five games in the Morningside Tournament this weekend in Sioux City, Iowa. The Trojans will face four opponents from the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) during the tournament. DSU's first game of the tournament is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday. All games will be held at the SYA Complex.
MORNINGSIDE TOURNAMENT: Dakota State opens the tournament play on Saturday against Midland (Neb.) at 1 p.m.. The Warriors are 6-17 overall record after splitting with Bellevue (Neb.) on March 28 (both games in extra innings). DSU will play Northwestern (Iowa) (13-7) in a rematch at 3 p.m. The Red Raiders swept the Trojans on March 17 in Madison, S.D. by the scores of 5-0 and 9-5. Dakota State will play Bellevue (18-11), receiving votes to the latest NAIA Softball national poll, at 5 p.m. On Sunday, the Trojans face their in-state rival Mount Marty (2-14) at 1 p.m. DSU concludes the tournament play versus the host-team Morningside (6-10) at 3 p.m. All games will be held at the SYA Complex.
MACKEY NAMES A.I.I. FEMALE ATHLETE THE WEEK: The Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) named Dakota State's Taylor Mackey as its Female Athlete of the Week. Mackey, a 5-foot-11 sophomore pitcher from Burnsville, Minn., compiled a .600 batting average and a 1.067 slugging percent for the Trojans. She went 9-for-15 at the plate with two home runs, a double, four runs scored and recorded seven RBIs despite a 1-3 week for DSU.
NATIONAL TEAM RANKINGS: According to DakStats-NAIA statistical website as of Thursday, March 29, Dakota State ranks 14th in the nation in stolen bases per game (2.3), 20th in chances per game (31.5), 21st in assists per game (9.7) and 32nd in total stolen bases (45). The Trojans are 38th in the nation in batting average (.322) and 39th in hits per game (8.9). DSU ranks 46th in the nation in total doubles (1.6) and 48th in slugging percentage (.449), 36th in runs batted in per game (5.2), 40th in home runs per game (0.6) and 46th in doubles per game (1.6).
INDIVIDUAL NATIONAL RANKINGS: Alisa Balesteri ranks second in the nation in total walks allowed (1). Taylor Mackey ranks fifth in the nation in total saves (4). She is 49th in the nation in hits per game (1.5). Brittany Hill is sixth in the nation in hits per game (1.8) and 10th in batting average (.507). She is 25th in slugging percentage (.812) and home runs per game (0.3). Jessica McLane ranks 11th in chances per game (8.6) and 18th in putouts per game (7.7). Renaye Gamson is 29th in the nation in runs scored per game (1.2). Leslie Neiman is 30th in the nation in stolen bases per game (0.6) and 46th in total stolen bases (12).
DSU QUICK LEADERS: Brittany Hill leads the Trojans with 35 hits and a batting average of .507. Hill also leads the team with 21 RBIs (1.1 per game). Taylor Mackey records an earned run average (ERA) of 2.38 (29 earned runs in 85 1/3 innings). She records 56 strikeouts this season (5.9 strikeouts per nine inning). Leslie Nieman 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, March 26. The rankings are:
(1) Cal State San Marcos (32-3 overall record)
(2) Houston-Victoria (Texas) (17-5)
(3) Louisiana State-Alexandria (15-12)
(4) Valley City State (N.D.) (9-6)
(5) Jamestown (N.D.) (9-8)
(6) Dickinson State (N.D.) (11-12)
(7) Thomas (Ga.) (12-21)
(T-8th) Mayville State (N.D.) (8-6)
(T-8th) Patten (Calif.) (9-14)
(10) British Columbia (B.C.) (7-21)
(11) Dakota State (S.D.) (9-9)
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/DaSUAthletics.
UP NEXT: Dakota State returns home Tuesday night for a doubleheader with in-state rival University of Sioux Falls at Thue Softball Complex in Madison, S.D. First game of the doubleheader is set for 5 p.m., followed by the second game in approximately 20-25 minutes after the completion of the first game.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director