THIS WEEK: After completing a 12-game schedule in the Snowbird Tournament last week, the Dakota State University softball team (8-4 overall record) returns home for the first time on Saturday. The Trojans host Northwestern (Iowa) (6-4) of the Great Plains Athletic Conference in a doubleheader. First game is set for 4 p.m. at Thue Softball Complex in Madison, S.D. The second game will follow in approximately 15-20 minutes after the completion of the first game.
LAST MEETING: Northwestern swept the Trojans in both teams' last meeting on Feb. 9, 2008 where they played indoor stadium at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Red Raiders won the first game by the score of 10-0. The Trojans fell short in the second game of the doubleheader 4-2.
ABOUT NORTHWESTERN (IOWA): Northwestern (Iowa) currently holds a 6-4 record, all games at the Tucson Invitational from March 5-9 in Tucson, Ariz. The Red Raiders defeated Iowa Wesleyan, Purdue-North Central, Alfred, Trinity International (Ill.), Cornerstone (Mich.) and Calumet (Ind.). Northwestern is under their first-year head coach Chris Nachtigall. The Red Raiders are picked to finish seventh in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, polled by the coaches. Northwestern was 16-22 overall record and 12-10 in the GPAC in 2011.
SNOWBIRD TOURNAMENT RECAP: Dakota State started the Snowbird Tournament with a 6-1 record and completed their 12-game schedule with a 8-4 record. The Trojans recorded wins over King's (Pa.), Immaculata (Pa.), Southern Vermont, Penn State-Harrisburg, SUNY-IT (N.Y.), St. Joseph's (N.Y.) and Gettysburg (Pa.). The Trojans outscored its opponents 68-43 in the Snowbird Tournament. DSU produced a tournament's batting average of .356 with 21 doubles and nine home runs. Dakota State recorded 40 stolen bases in 45 attempts compared to the opponents' nine stolen bases in 11 attempts.
DSU IN SEASON HOME OPENERS: The Trojans produced an 8-2 record in DSU's season home opener since 2007 at Thue Softball Complex. Last season, Dakota State swept Presentation (S.D.) 16-2 and 6-1 in their season home opener on April 6, 2011.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: According to DakStats-NAIA statistical website as of Thursday, March 15, Dakota State ranks second in the nation in stolen bases per game (3.5), 16th in total stolen bases (38), 17th in batting average (.360), 19th in hits per game (9.7) and 20th in slugging percentage (.525). Brittany Hill ranks first in the nation in batting average (.650). She ranks fourth in the nation in hits per game (2.1) and home runs per game (0.5). Jessica McLane is 13th in the nation in put-outs per game (8.2). Taylor Mackey ranks 13th in the nation in total saves (3).
DSU QUICK LEADERS: Brittany Hill leads the Trojans with 26 hits and a batting average of .650. She recorded six home runs during the Snowbird Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Hill also leads the team with 17 RBIs and a slugging percentage of 1.150. Taylor Mackey recorded an earned run average of 2.07 in 44 innings and produced a 4-2 record and three saves during the Snowbird Tournament. Leslie Nieman leads DSU with 11 stolen bases.
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).
LIVE STATS: Live stats and play-by-play will be available in all Dakota State's home games. The live stats are available on game day on www.dsuathletics.com under 'Live Games' tab above the 'Upcoming Events.'
STAY CONNECTED: Stay connected with Dakota State baseball and athletics all season long at www.twitter.com/DaSUAthletics.
UP NEXT: Dakota State hits the road for a four-game series next weekend. The Trojans travel to Omaha, Neb. to take on Saint Mary (Neb.). The doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25. First game of each doubleheader is slated to start at 12 noon.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director