Jacks seek title in Sioux Falls
The second-seeded Jackrabbits, 35-18 overall and 20-8 in The Summit League, open tournament play at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at Sioux Falls Stadium against third-seeded North Dakota State. The Bison qualified for their first-ever appearance in the Summit League Baseball Championship after posting a 15-12 mark in league play and are 21-30 overall.
The winner of Thursday's game will play the semifinal round at 3 p.m. Friday; the loser will play in an elimination game at 11 a.m. Friday. The double-elimination tournament is scheduled to wrap up Saturday afternoon.
All SDSU games will be broadcast live on KJJQ 910 AM and streamed through the Jackrabbit Extra subscription service at GoJacks.com. Coverage, with Tyler Merriam calling the play-by-play, begins 15 minutes prior to scheduled first pitch each day. All tournament games will be televised live on Sioux Falls-based Midco Sports Network, which is part of the cable television lineup offered by Midcontinent Communications throughout South Dakota and North Dakota and parts of Minnesota.
Following is a complete tournament schedule:
Thursday, May 26
• Game 1: No. 1 Oral Roberts (33-20, 21-7 Summit) vs. No. 4 Western Illinois (21-36,
11-15), 2 p.m.
• Game 2: No. 2 SDSU (35-18, 20-8) vs. No. 3 North Dakota State (21-30, 15-12), 7 p.m.
Friday, May 27
• Game 3: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 11 a.m. [loser eliminated]
• Game 4: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 3 p.m. [winner to championship]
• Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, 7 p.m. [loser eliminated]
Saturday, May 28
• Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 1 p.m.
• Game 7: if necessary, immediately following preceding game
Tickets for the Summit League Baseball Championship are now on sale at the Sioux Falls Sports Authority offices at 200 N. Phillips Ave. (Suite 304). Call (605) 373-2041 for more information. Tickets also are available at the Sioux Falls Pheasants box office or any Sioux Falls Hy-Vee store.
Ticket prices are as follows (note that stadium will be cleared following each game):
• All-Session (Reserved): $45
• Single-game reserved: $10
• Single-game adult general admission: $6
•Single-game student (12 and under) general admission: $4
• Youth Team Package (15 GA tickets): $45
VERSUS THE TOURNAMENT FIELD: South Dakota State has compiled a combined 8-5 record against the rest of the tournament field this season.
The Jackrabbits went 4-1 against first-round opponent North Dakota State, winning three of four Summit League games at home and adding a non-conference victory in Fargo.
SDSU opened Summit League play by winning three of four games at Western Illinois in early April. Against top-seeded Oral Roberts, the Jackrabbits lost the first three games in Tulsa before rallying to win the series finale.
TOURNAMENT HISTORY: South Dakota State is making its third consecutive appearance in the Summit League Baseball Championship in as many years it has been eligible to compete in the four-team event.
The Jackrabbits have advanced to the title series each of the past two seasons, falling to perennial tournament champion Oral Roberts both times. Overall, SDSU has compiled a 4-4 record in the Summit League Baseball Championship.
Following are SDSU's year-by-year results in the Summit League Baseball Championship:
2009 at Tulsa, Okla.
• lost to Southern Utah, 8-11
• def. Centenary (La.), 7-3 (10 inn.)
• def. Southern Utah, 9-4
• lost at Oral Roberts, 2-6
2010 at Tulsa, Okla.
• def. Oakland (Mich.), 6-5 (10 inn.)
• lost at Oral Roberts, 6-21
• def. Oakland, 20-6
• lost at Oral Roberts, 2-12
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER: The Jackrabbits have made a habit out of rallying from deficits and winning close games in Summit League play this season.
Eight of SDSU's 20 wins in conference play came in games in which they trailed after five innings. The Jackrabbits have outscored their league opponents 94-60 from the sixth inning on.
Following is a look at the Jackrabbit comebacks:
• April 10 at Western Illinois - trailed 9-1 after five innings, won 14-10
• April 15 at Centenary (La.) - trailed 6-4 after seven innings, won 9-6
• April 16 at Centenary (La.) [Game 1] - trailed 1-0 after six innings, won 4-1
• April 16 at Centenary (La.) [Game 2] - trailed 3-2 after five innings, won 4-3
• April 17 at Centenary (La.) - trailed 10-6 after six innings, won 13-10
• April 22 vs. Southern Utah - trailed 8-7 after 6 1/2 innings, won 9-8
• May 1 vs. Oakland (Mich.) - trailed 4-2 after 5, won 7-6
• May 19 vs. IPFW [Game 2] - trailed 3-2 after 8 1/2 innings, won 4-3 in 14 innings
MARATHON MEN: SDSU has played six extra-inning games this season, including what is believed to be the longest game in program history.
In their Summit League series finale on May 8, the Jackrabbits dropped an 8-7 decision to North Dakota State in a 15-inning contest. The Jackrabbits also have won a pair of 14-inning games this season, outlasting Iowa, 7-4, on March 29, and IPFW, 4-3, on May 19.
In addition, SDSU recorded a 9-6, 12-inning victory at Western Illinois in the second game of a doubleheader on April 9.
Overall, the Jackrabbits are 4-2 in extra-inning games this season.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Six different Jackrabbit players have been honored as Summit League Player/Pitcher of the Week so far in 2011.
Most recently, starting pitcher Blake Treinen earned his second Summit League Pitcher of the Week award on May 23.
A native of Osage City, Kan., Treinen earned the weekly honor after hurling a complete-game, five-hit shutout against IPFW in the first game of a doubleheader on May 20. He struck out nine and walked one in improving to 6-3 on the season and 13-4 during his two-year career with the Jackrabbits. All five hits Treinen allowed were singles in the seven-inning contest, which ended early due to the 10-run rule.
Treinen, who also was honored on March 7, shared this week's award with Oral Roberts pitcher Alex Gonzalez. ORU shortstop Cam Schiller was named Summit League Player of the Week.
Jackrabbits honored by The Summit League this season have been:
• Blake Treinen, Pitcher of the Week (March 7);
• Stephen Bougher, Pitcher of the Week (March 21);
• Andrew Phelan, Player of the Week (March 21);
• Eric Cain, Player of the Week (April 4);
• Trever Vermeulen, Pitcher of the Week (April 18);
• Zach Briggs, Player of the Week (April 25);
• Trever Vermeulen, Pitcher of the Week (May 9)
PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS: South Dakota State University seniors Trever Vermeulen and Jesse Sawyer have each been honored on the preseason All-America baseball team selected by College Baseball Lineup.
A second-team selection as a relief pitcher, Vermeulen was named to his third preseason All-America team. A Mitchell native, Vermeulen was a first-team all-Summit League selectionin 2010 after leading the league with single-season school records of 10 saves and 35appearances. He compiled a 9-1 record, struck out 62 batters in 68 1/3 innings and posteda league-leading 1.45 earned run average.
Earlier in the preseason, Vermeulen was named to the 2011 Proline Athletic National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Preseason All-America Second Team and the Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America Third Team, as chosen by Collegiate Baseball.
Sawyer was a third-team selection as a third baseman to the College Baseball Lineup
Preseason All-America Team. A native of Calgary, Alberta, Sawyer holds the Jackrabbits' single-season home run record of 19 - accomplishing the feat in both 2009 and 2010. A two-time all-Summit League performer, Sawyer hit .359 with 73 runs batted in last season, while drawing a single-season school-record 50 bases on balls.
RECORD WATCH: Four Jackrabbit seniors - Joel Blake, Jesse Sawyer, Billy Stitz and Trever Vermeuelen - have already or are on pace to further rewrite the SDSU record book this season.
Following is a look at where the SDSU quartet currently stand in a number of career categories:
• Doubles: First with 68 (previous record: 54, by Greg Geary, 2002-05);
• Hits: Second with 257 (record: 304, by Billy Stitz, 2008-present);
• Total Bases: Fifth with 391 (record: 453, by Billy Stitz, 2008-present);
• At Bats: Sixth with 683 (record: 898, by Billy Stitz, 2008-present);
• Runs Scored: Ninth with 159 (record: 187, by Billy Stitz, 2008-present)
• Home Runs: First with 50 (previous record: 43, by Greg Geary, 2002-05);
• Hit by Pitches: First with 42 (previous record: 41, by Tyson Fisher, 2005-08);
• Bases on Balls: Second with 102 (record: 123, by Dave Lane, 1983-86);
• Total Bases: Fourth with 401 (record: 453, by Billy Stitz, 2008-present);
• Runs Batted In: Fourth with 173 (record: 192, by Billy McMacken, 1987-90);
• Slugging Percentage: Eighth at .640 (record: .713 by Billy McMacken, 1987-90)
• At-Bats: First with 898 (previous record: 779, by Nick Adams, 2005-08);
• Games Played: First with 212 (previous record: 207, by Nick Adams, 2005-08)
• Hits: First with 304 (previous record: 256, by Greg Geary, 2002-05);
• Runs Scored: First with 187 (previous record: 173, by Korby Mintken, 2005-08);
• Total Bases: First with 453 (previous record: 439, by Greg Geary, 2002-05);
• Doubles: Second with 60 (record: 68, by Joel Blake, 2009-present);
• Triples: Second with 16 (record: 21, by Korby Mintken, 2005-08);
• Runs Batted In: Fifth with 166 (record: 192, by Billy McMacken, 1987-90);
• Stolen Bases: Tied for ninth with 36 (record: 75, by Dave Lane, 1983-86)
• Appearances: First with 86 (previous record: 71, by Gary Olechoski, 2003-06);
• Earned Run Average: Third at 2.54 (record: 2.09 by Bob Ehrke, 1954-56);
• Saves: First with 22 (previous record: 14, by Gary Olechoski, 2003-06)
In addition, junior shortstop Eric Cain has set the career assists mark with 414. Pat Schmidt, who played from 1992-95, previously held the Jackrabbit record with 380 assists.
Senior pitcher Blake Treinen stands fifth in career strikeouts with 161.
TREINEN ON TRACK: Senior pitcher Blake Treinen has picked up where he left off last season as a front-line starter for the Jackrabbits.
A right-hander from Osage City, Kan., Treinen has posted a 6-3 record with a 3.17 earned run average in 12 starts this season. The Summit League Pitcher of the Week on March 7 and May 23, Treinen has averaged more than a strikeout an inning by fanning 79 batters in 76 2/3 innings.
In 2010, Treinen was a first-team all-Summit League selection after posting a 7-1 record with 82 K's in 75.1 innings. He has moved into fifth place on the SDSU career strikeouts chart with 161, and needs only three K's to move into fourth place.
Treinen was a 23rd-round draft choice of the Florida Marlins in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, but opted to return to SDSU for his senior season.
COACH PRICE: Ritchie Price is in his third season as head coach of the South Dakota State University baseball team in 2011.
The youngest head baseball coach at the Division I level, Price has compiled a 100-69 career record (.592 winning percentage) with the Jackrabbits, including a breakthrough
39-21 season in 2010 as he was named Summit League Coach of the Year. SDSU tied a school record for most wins in a season, shared the regular season league title and earned the No. 1 seed for the Summit League Championship after becoming the first league team to win a four-game regular season series from perennial conference champion Oral Roberts.
Also included in the record-tying 39 victories were a win at nationally ranked and returning College World Series qualifier Arkansas, a three-game season sweep of Big Ten Conference champion Minnesota and a win over the third-place team in the Big Ten, Iowa.
En route to their second consecutive appearance in the Summit League title series, the Jackrabbits re-wrote the record book in 2010, establishing new standards in eight different offensive categories, including batting average (.350), hits (769), runs scored (578), home runs (84) and runs batted in (549). SDSU was far from one-dimensional, however, as the Jackrabbits also set a new single-season record for fielding percentage at .972 and relief pitcher Trever Vermeulen became the first player in the Division I era to earn All-America recognition. The Jackrabbits' eight all-league honorees led The Summit League.
In 2009, Price directed a dramatic mid-season turnaround during his inaugural season with the Jackrabbits. After starting the 2009 campaign with a 5-22 overall record and 1-6 mark in Summit League play, SDSU went 19-6 over the final five weeks of the regular season to earn the third seed in the Currington Mortgage Summit League Championship.
At the league tournament, the Jackrabbits dropped their opening game to Southern Utah but came back to defeat both Centenary (La.) and Southern Utah the next day to advance to the title series, where they lost to Oral Roberts.
Overall, SDSU finished the 2009 season with a 26-30 record, including a 17-10 slate in Summit League regular season games.
Price began his association with the Jackrabbit baseball program by serving as infield and third base coach in 2008, and was elevated to interim head coach following the
resignation of Reggie Christiansen in June 2008. During his tenure, two SDSU players have been drafted by Major League teams: left-handed pitcher Caleb Thielbar in the 18th round of the 2009 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers and right-handed pitcher Blake Treinen in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft by the Florida Marlins.
A native of San Luis Obispo, Calif., Price comes from a baseball family. His two brothers - Ryne and Robby - also played at the University of Kansas, where their father, Ritch, is currently the head baseball coach.
Ritchie Price also played at Kansas, setting Jayhawk career records for games played (255), at bats (1,022), hits (312), runs scored (204), sacrifices (35) and hit by pitches (53). Price's graduating class owns the most wins of any class in Kansas baseball history.
In 2006, Price helped lead the Jayhawks to a Big 12 Conterence championship, as Kansas went 4-0 to win the conference title. After earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, Price's squad went 1-2, earning a win over Hawaii in the opening game.
Price was one of the ironmen of college baseball, starting 252 consecutive games at shortstop. Although no official records are kept by the NCAA, this is most certainly among the best in college baseball history.
He was a four-time all-Big 12 selection, and was named the conference's best defensive shortstop in 2004 by Baseball America.
Following his career with the Jayhawks, Price was an 18th round draft pick of the New York Mets in Major League Baseball's first-year player draft. Price started with the Kingsport Mets of the Appalachian League, but also spent a week in Class A, playing for the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League.
THE ROSTER: The 2011 SDSU baseball roster features 28 players from 10 different states plus Canada. Of the 28 players, six are from South Dakota, while four are from Colorado. Minnesota and Texas are represented by three players, while California, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon and Washington feature one player each. In addition, six players are from Canada. By class, nine are seniors, seven are juniors, seven are sophomores, two are redshirt freshmen and three are incoming freshmen.
A LOOK AHEAD: The winner of the Summit League Baseball Championship will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Pairings will be announced on the ESPN family of networks at 11:30 a.m. Central Time on Monday, May 30.
Regionals at 16 campus sites will be played June 3-6, and will follow a double-elimination format. Super Regionals, featuring eight best-of-three series, are slated for June 10-13. The College World Series is scheduled to be played June 18-29 in Omaha, Neb.