COLLEGE NOTEBOOK: Newcomers make impact for UND baseball
The UND baseball team will enter the toughest stretch of its schedule this week battling a number of nagging injuries. But North Dakota coach Jeff Dodson said a few first-year players have alleviated some of his depth concerns. UND (7-4-1 overall...
The UND baseball team will enter the toughest stretch of its schedule this week battling a number of nagging injuries.
But North Dakota coach Jeff Dodson said a few first-year players have alleviated some of his depth concerns.
UND (7-4-1 overall) will play Wichita State today and Wednesday, followed by a Thursday matchup with Creighton.
Three of UND's top four hitters right now are first-year transfers, while the pitching staff has also been boosted by a newcomer.
"The mentality that some of our junior college kids have brought in has really helped," Dodson said. "They have the expectation of winning, and we're playing a lot better this year in close ball games. That says a lot about our will to win."
Third baseman Ryan Reese, a sophomore from Iowa Central Community College, is making a comeback from an injury. He's had immediate results in his return, hitting a team-best .375 with five doubles in seven games.
Infielder Patrick Vandoorne, a sophomore who redshirted at UND last year after transferring from Valley City State, is second on the team with a .345 batting average. Vandoorne was the Dakota Athletic Conference freshman of the year for VCSU in 2011.
UND's lone returner among the top four hitters is Sam Alt (.333 batting average), while newcomer Patrick Riewer, a junior transfer from Ellsworth Community College, is fourth with a .314 average.
"The kids are playing hard," Dodson said. "We're not executing in some situations, but it's not due to a lack of effort. It's just about getting them reps."
On the mound, UND's No. 1 is sophomore standout Andrew Thome, who is 2-1 with a 2.37 earned-run average.
Reid Jungling, a sophomore transfer from the University of Mary, has stepped into a pitching role for UND after throwing seven shutout innings against Nebraska-Omaha last week.
"He pounds the strike zone," Dodson said. "He keeps guys off balance. He bounces back really well after an outing, too. He's going to be very valuable for us."
UND recruits to play
in Minn. tournament
Providence Academy's Leah Szabla and Hopkins' Erin O'Toole -- two UND recruits -- will try to defend state championships this week at the Minnesota state girls basketball tournament in Minneapolis.
Szabla, a point guard, scored 12 points in the Lions' 49-38 Section 5AA title win over Howard Lake-W-W.
O'Toole, a post who averages 10.3 points per game, will be trying to capture Hopkins' third consecutive state championship at the Class AAAA level.
Around the Big Sky
• Men's basketball: Montana's Mathias Ward, who was injured on Feb. 16 against Idaho State, had surgery last Wednesday morning and will miss the rest of the season. Ward, a senior, was the Grizzlies' leading scorer at the time of the injury.
• Women's basketball: Northland Community & Technical College has received its seeding for the NJCAA national tournament, which begins Thursday in Rochester, Minn. The Pioneers (26-2) will play the No. 3 seed Roxbury Community College (Mass.), which is 17-6. The quarterfinal game begins at 6 p.m.
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