Sophomore Zack Trygstad and the sixth-seeded Fighting Sioux open the GWC Tournament on Tuesday vs. No. 3 seed NJIT at 9 a.m. MT.
Sioux set for opening game of 2012 GWC Tournament
Courtesy: Ryan Powell, UND Media Relations
Release: 05/21/2012
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OREM, Utah - The Fighting Sioux baseball brings a three-game winning streak into the Great West Baseball Tournament this week in Orem, Utah. Those victories allowed the Sioux to claim the No. 6 seed and open the tournament vs. No. 3 seed NJIT. The Highlanders took three of four from the Sioux in Newark earlier this season. First pitch is slated for 9 p.m. MT.

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SIOUX EARN NO.6 SEED WITH SERIES WIN AT CHICAGO STATE: After falling 3-2 in the opening game of their Chicago State series, the Sioux bounced back to win the final three games by averaging 15 runs and 15 hits in each of those victories. UND equaled its most runs scored in a GWC game in a 20-8 victory in the series finale on Saturday. The Sioux had 20 hits in that contest and 20 in the previous victory - a 16-10 triumph in the night cap of Friday’s doubleheader. 
All-time: NJIT leads 8-4
Last meeting: UND Won 6-3 (April 21, 2012) 
UND head coach Jeff Dodson vs. NJIT: 4-8
NJIT head coach Mike Cole vs. UND: 8-4

PROBABLE PITCHERS - Game 1 (No. 6 North Dakota vs. No. 3 NJIT; 9 a.m. MT)
UND: RHP Andrew Thome (4-5, 3.96 ERA)
NJIT: RHP Mark Leiter (5-6, 3.89 ERA)

• The Sioux are embarking on their third GWC Tournament and will be the No. 6 seed for the first time. UND was the No. 5 seed at the inaugural league tournamnet in 2010 in Edinburg, Texas where the team went 1-2 in pool play. Last season, the Sioux were the No. 7 seed and hosted the tournament at Kraft Field. UND made it to the semifinals of the event, posting a 2-2 record.
• UND is 3-4 all-time at the GWC Tournament.
• The meeting with the Highlanders will be the first between the two teams in the league tournament. UND is 1-3 against No. 5 seed Houston Baptist, 0-2 against No. 1 seed Utah Valley, 1-0 against No. 4 seed Northern Colorado and 1-0 against No. 7 seed Chicago State.
• Freshman Andrew Thome (St. Cloud, Minn.) will garner the start in Tuesday’s opener vs. NJIT. Thome leads the team with four wins and is the only GWC hurler to earn three of the league’s weekyl pitching honors this season. He has two shutouts in league play (vs. UNC and vs. NYIT).
• In his start vs. NJIT on April 20, Thome went eight innings, allowing three earned runs on nine hits in a 5-2 loss.
• Junior Kris Kwak is 6-for-17 (.353) in his two previous GWC Tournament appearances. Kwak has four RBI in five league tournament games.
• The Sioux second baseman is the hottest hitter in head coach Jeff Dodson’s lineup entering tournament play. Kwak owns a nine-game hitting streak and batted .563 (9-for-16) with two home runs, two doubles and seven RBI in the series win at Chicago State.
• His seven RBI against the Cougars pushed his total in league play to a team-high 27 out of his leadoff spot. He had a career-high five RBI in the series finale.
• Centerfielder Riley Beck (Munich, N.D.) batted .313 in four GWC Tournament games last season, going 5-for-16 at the plate with two runs scored. Beck is 16-for-16 in stolen bases this season and is the only GWC player with 10-plus steals to not be caught.
• Left-hander Kevin Auth has held opponents scoreless in three previous GWC Tournament appearances. He has allowed only one hit and struck out two in 3.0 IP.
• Kwak is a career .308 hitter against the Highlanders (12-for-39) with two doubles, a triple, a home run and six RBI in 10 games.
• Designated hitter Zack Trygstad (Wayzata, Minn.) posted identical 4-for-14 clips in two series against NJIT. He has three doubles and five RBI in eight career starts.
• Freshmen Alex Twenge (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Tyler Follis (Bemidji, Minn.) both hit over .400 against the Highlanders in Newark this season. Twenge took over as the starting catcher for the Sioux in league play against the Highlanders, going 6-for-14 (.429) with three RBI.
• In 21 starts, Twenge is batting .307 with two home runs and 12 RBI.
• Follis batted .412 in the series with a double, five runs and three RBI. He enters the GWC Tournament as one of the top hitting freshman in the country with a .369 overall average.
• The Bears took three of four from the Sioux at their home ballpark.
• Freshman Jeff Campbell (Clearwater, Fla.) helped the Sioux avoid a sweep in New Jersey as he tossed his second of five complete games on the season in the finale. He allowed only three earned runs on seven hits, while striking out a then career-high seven Highlanders.
• Senior Kyle Bolander (Hermantown, Minn.) is batting .400 over his last 20 games and raised his season average to a .306 clip. He leads the team with 29 RBI during that stretch and also has six home runs.
• Bolander’s nine home runs on the season are tied for third in the GWC. The Sioux third baseman was homerless coming into his senior campaign. He also has career-highs with 48 hits, 29 runs, eight doubles and 39 RBI.
• Kwak and freshman Sam Alt (Lino Lakes, Minn.) drove in a career-high five RBI in the regular season finale. Kwak also had four runs, while Alt and Campbell both paced the team with four hits. For Alt, the four hits equaled a season-high and the five-RBI were a new personal best.
• Alt’s 4-for-5 against the Cougars has his average up to .292 entering the tournament.
• Freshman Tyler Ruemmele (Eden Prairie, Minn.) takes the momentum of earning his first career victory into the GWC Tournament. Ruemmele pitching 5.2 innings, allowing only two earned runs on five hits in game one of Friday’s doubleheader.
• 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 Highlanders swept NYIT in their final GWC series of the season to vault from fifth in the standings into a tie for second. NJIT shared the second spot with UTPA, but fell to the No. 3 seed because the Broncs took three of four from the Highlanders in the regular season.

Right-hander Mark Leiter, who will likely face the Sioux in Tuesday’s opener, is coming off a masterful one-hit shutout of NYIT on Thursday. Leiter is the son of former Major League Pitcher Mark Leiter, Sr., and nephew of Al Leither. Leiter led the GWC in strikeouts for the second straight season with 92.

Offensively, the Highlanders’ top hitter D.J. Roche is out with an injury as they come in hitting .274 as a team. Centerfielder Ed Charlton and shortstop Matt Weckerle both own .317 averages to top NJIT’s healthy players. Charlton is also one of the league’s top base stealers, swiping 14 of 17 attempts. Catcher Bryan Bleakley is tied for third in the GWC with nine home runs and he leads the team with 36 RBI.
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