GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The Fighting Sioux baseball team heads south to the Lone Star State this weekend for a Great West Conference series with Texas-Pan American. The four-game set is scheduled to begin at the Edinburg Baseball Stadium with Friday’s opener at 7 p.m. CT.
Live Stats: www.UTPABroncs.com (Free)
All-time: UND leads 5-3
At Edinburg Baseball Stadium: UND leads 3-1
Last meeting: UTPA won 7-4 (May 20, 2011; Grand Forks, N.D.)
UND head coach Jeff Dodson vs. UTPA: 5-3
UTPA head coach Manny Mantrana vs. UND: 3-5
IN THE DUGOUT
• The Sioux will look to snap a season-long, 10-game losing streak this weekend in Edinburg as they face a UTPA team that is off to a 4-0 start in league play.
• UND’s 5-3 all-time record against the Broncs is only bettered by a 6-2 mark against Chicago State in Great West action over the past two years.
• The Sioux won the inaugural series with UTPA in Edinburg in 2010, taking three of four. The teams split the four-game set in Grand Forks last season.
• Junior Kris Kwak (Maple Grove, Minn.) has started all eight contests against the Broncs over the past two seasons. He is batting .375 (9-for-24) with six doubles and six RBI. He had five doubles alone during the 2011 series.
• Sophomore catcher Zack Trygstad (Wayzata, Minn.) hit his first career home run against the Broncs in 2011. He went 3-for-7 in two starts (.429), scoring a pair of runs and driving in three.
• Tygstad went 4-for-12 (.333) in the Utah Valley series this past weekend. after hitting .347 in Great West play as a freshman.
• After going 1-for-12 in the four-game set at Wichita State, freshman Tyler Follis has hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games, including five straight. He is batting .403 (25-for-62) during that stretch and has raised is overall average to a team-best .351 clip. Follis leads the team with six doubles and seven multiple-hit games.
• Freshman Jeff Campbell (Clearwater, Fla.) went 8-for-14 (.571) with his first two collegiate home runs and seven RBI during the GWC opener at Utah Valley.
• Campbell homered in games two and four, driving in a career-high three runs in both contests. Campbell also added the first four-hit game of his career and first by a Sioux player this season in the finale. He had seven RBI entering the series in the first 18 games.
• Campbell also fired his second-complete game of the season from the mound in the game three. He took the loss in the 5-0 setback, but went six innings, allowing only three earned runs on seven hits. He will start game four of the UTPA series on Sunday.
• Campbell’s other CG-effort was in a 4-1 victory over Creighton on March 17, which was also the last victory by the club.
• Campbell was not the only Sioux freshman to deliver his first collegiate home run in Orem. Leftfielder Sam Alt (Lino Lakes, Minn.), who rallied his team from a 2-0 deficit in the opener with a two-run, opposite-field shot. Alt finished the series 4-for-14 (.286) with three RBI.
• Right-hander Andrew Thome (St. Cloud, Minn.) had his second-consecutive quality start in the opener at Utah Valley. The freshman went 8.2 innings, allowing only two earned runs, but did not factor into the decision, which was a 6-5 victory for Utah Valley in 10 innings.
• Thome earned Great West Conference Pitcher of the Week honors a week earlier after tossing his first career complete game against North Dakota State on March 30. Thome was the tough-luck loser, allowing only an uneared run in a 1-0 loss. He struck out a career-high six and allowed five hits.
• Earlier in the season, the Sioux registered a 12-9 victory over Kansas, which was the first for UND against a BCS Conference program since beginning the transition to Division I in 2009.
• In the triumph over the Jayhawks, senior Kyle Bolander went 4-for-4 with a career-high three RBI. It was the first four-hit game of his career as well as he reached base safely in all five of his plate-appearances.
• Redshirt freshman Brock Johnson (Detroit Lakes, Minn.) picked up his first collegiate win in that contest, working two scoreless innings and striking out a pair of Jayhawks. He has allowed four earned runs in eight relief appearances (4.15 ERA in 8.2 IP).
• Johnson shares the team lead in appearances with classmate Alex Twenge (Minnetonka, Minn). The right-hander leads all Sioux relievers with 12 strikeouts.
• Fourth-year head coach Jeff Dodson’s 27-man roster is filled with 10 returning letterwinners, three redshirt freshmen and 14 newcomers (11 true freshmen). Two of those 14 newcomers will be sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules.
• The Sioux were scheduled to play their first 26 games this season on the road, but that changed when the NDSU series shifted back to home sites. Friday’s home opener cut the season-opening road stretch down to 14 games.
SCOUTING THE BRONCS
Texas-Pan American is off to a fast start in 2012 behind skipper Manny Mantrana. The Broncs are 16-7 and coming off a four-game sweep of NYIT in the GWC opener for both schools. UTPA did lose a 7-3 contest to Texas-San Antonio in midweek action.
UTPA is led at the plate by second baseman Roger Bernal, who is batting .465 with a home run and 20 RBI. Third baseman Vincent Mejia sports a .329 batting average with team bests in home runs (4) and RBI (30). First baseman Angel Ibanez is also off to a nice start at the plate, posting a .356 average with five extra-base hits and 16 RBI.
On the mound, Mantrana will throw four juniors at the Sioux this weekend. Right-hander Colby McCasland owns a 3-0 record with a 2.19 ERA and will start the opener. He has two complete games to share team-high honors in that category with classmate Dusten Knight (2-1, 6.30 ERA). The lone southpaw in the rotation is junior Dylan Badura, who is making just his second start of the season in the final. Badura is 2-1 with a 2.76 ERA in eight total appearances.
GLANCE AT THE GREAT WEST
The Fighting Sioux will be embarking on their third season in Great West Conference play in 2012. Utah Valley won the league’s inaugural regular season and tournament titles in 2010 and 2011. The conference season will culminate in Orem, Utah with the GWC Tournament May 22-26 at Brent Brown Ballpark.
The other six members of the league are Chicago State, Houston Baptist, New York Tech, NJIT, Northern Colorado and Texas-Pan American. The Great West is the second conference affiliation for UND in program history. UND spent its Division II years playing in the North Central Conference. New York Tech and Northern Colorado are associate members for baseball.