Courtesy: Stelz Photo
Freshman Alex Twenge got his first four starts behind the plate this past weekend at NJIT and led the team with a .429 batting average.
Sioux open mammoth homestand with VCSU
Release: 04/24/2012
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Fighting Sioux fans will have plenty of opportunities to see the UND baseball team in action over the next several weeks. The club opens a 15-game homestand on Wednesday with a doubleheader against Valley City State.

First pitch of the twin bill with the Vikings is set for 1 p.m. UND will then play host to a trio Great West Conference seriers over the next three weekends in Grand Forks and also play a single game with South Dakota State on May 8.
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All-time: UND leads 38-9
Last meeting: UND won 4-2 (2008)
UND head coach Jeff Dodson vs. VCSU: First Meeting
VCSU head coach Casey Olney vs. UND: 0-1

• The Sioux return to Kraft Field to begin a 15-game homestand on Wednesday. The team is 2-2 in its home ballpark this season.
• Those two wins were both of the dramatic variety as they were 3-2 walk-off wins over Minot State last Tuesday (April 17).
• The doubleheader between UND and Valley City State will be the first games for the clubs since the 2008 season.
• The left-handed starters that pitched so well for UND in last week’s doubleheader vs. Minot State will be back on the mound against the Vikings.
• Senior Kevin Auth (Cambridge, Minn.) allowed only six hits and two earned runs in 6.1 innings of work in the opener. He will pitch game one again on Wednesday.
• Freshman Trent Egan (Valley City, N.D.) got through a shaky first inning of his initial collegiate start to work into the 10th inning of the night cap. Egan’s final line was 9.2 innings pitched, four hits, two earned runs and four strike outs.
• Both Auth and Egan did not factor into the walk-off victories. Egan will go in the night cap of the doubleheader against his hometown Vikings.
• UND enters the homestand on the heels of the team’s first Great West win of the season in the series finale at NJIT.
• Freshman Jeff Campbell (Clearwater, Fla.) tossed his third complete game of the season to pick up the victory, which was his team-leading second of the year.
• Campbell fanned a career-high seven Highlanders in the 6-3 victory, allowing only seven hits. He also hit safely in all four games of the NJIT series
• Campbell and the rest of the UND pitching staff had its best weekend of the season, allowing only 11 earned runs in the 34 innings of baseball in New Jersey (2.91). Seven UND hurlers combined for 29 strikeouts, while walking only six.
• Freshman Andrew Thome (St. Cloud, Minn.) registered his second complete game of the season in a 7-5 loss in night cap of Friday’s doubleheader. He struck out six Highlanders and allowed only three earned runs in eight innings.
• Classmate Tyler Ruemmele (Eden Prairie, Minn.) struck out a career-high nine is six innings of work in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader.
• Freshman Alex Twenge (Minnetonka, Minn.) led the Sioux with a .429 average in the series at NJIT. Twenge, who made his first 10 appearances for UND as a relief pitcher this season, started all four games behind the plate vs. the Highlanders.
• Twenge is filling in for sophomore Zack Trygstad (Wayzata, Minn.), who will be relegated to designated hitter duties the rest of the season.
• Twenge was one of four Sioux players to register three RBI in the series.
• Shortstop Tyler Follis (Bemidji, Minn.) went 7-for-17 to hit .417 against NJIT and raise his team-leading average to .368. Follis scored a team-high five runs in the series.
• Follis, senior Kyle Bolander (Hermantown, Minn.) and junior Riley Beck (Munich, N.D.) also had three RBI vs. the Highlanders.
• Follis hit safely in all seven games last week and pushed his hitting streak to eight games, while Campbell also hit safely in all seven games and has a 10-game hitting streak entering the doubleheader with VCSU. That equals Follis for the longest of the season by a Sioux player.
• Follis has reached base in 17 straight, while Campbell’s streak is up to 15 straight in that category.
• Beck added two steals and is now a team-best 6-for-6 on the season in that category.
• After starting the season in a 2-for-32 slump (.062), junior Kris Kwak (Maple Grove, Minn.) has raised his average more than 200 points over the past 23 games. He is 28-for-82 during that stretch (.341).
• 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.

Head coach Casey Olney is in his sixth season leading the Vikings’ baseball program. He has his squad at 11-29 with only the doubleheader against the Sioux and a single game vs. Jamestown on April 28 left on the 2012 schedule.

Rightfielder Preston Jensen is the team leader in average (.391), hits (50) and runs (33). The Vikings’ leadoff hitter is one of five regulars with a .300 or better batting average. Shortstop Kyle Skinner leads the team with 25 RBI and is hitting .297 on the season. Leftfielder Josh Evans has hit three of the team’s six home runs during the campaign.

Right-hander Ryan Shaw leads the team with five wins and boasts a 4.69 ERA. He has 50 strikeouts in 55.2 innings. 

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.

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