Beavers tabbed 11th in NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Beavers tabbed 11th in NSIC Preseason Coaches’ Poll
BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University baseball team was tabbed 11th in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, released by league officials today. The Beavers received 55 votes after closing the 2010 season with a 16-37 overall record and a 7-25 mark in NSIC play, finishing 11th in the final league standings. Seniors Colton Smith (3B/OF, Waddell, Ariz.) and Ryan Sander (RHP/1B, St. James, Minn.) were named BSU’s Players to Watch.

After winning the regular season and tournament championships and earning its way to the Division II College World Series, Minnesota State University, Mankato was chosen to finish first with 155 points and 11 of the 13 first place votes. NCAA regional particiants Winona State University and St. Cloud State University followed in second and third, respectfully. WSU earned 137 points and the other two first place votes, while SCSU wasn’t far behind with 133 points. Rounding out the top five were Augustana College (118 points) and Wayne State College (109 points). Sophomore third baseman/outfielder Jordan Smith from St. Cloud State was named NSIC Preseason Player of the Year. Minnesota State junior right-hander Blake Schwartz was named the NSIC Preseason Pitcher of the Year.

Smith started 49 of the 50 games he played in, batting .274 with 46 hits, 39 runs, 24 RBI and a team-high 13 doubles. He also recorded team-highs in walks (19) and stolen bases (12-for-12). Playing primarily third base, he owned a .869 fielding percentage, adding 95 assists and 31 putouts. Smith recorded 12 multi-hit games, including three three-hit contests. In a game against Wayne State March 22 he went 3-for-5 with three RBI, one run and one double.

Sander played in 39 games, starting 38. He owned a .294 batting average with 37 hits, 13 runs and 21 RBI. Sander finished the season with a team-high 281 putouts, adding 29 assists and two errors for a .994 fielding percentage. On the mound he started three games (15.1 innings) before suffering an injury that forced him out of the rotation for the rest of the season. Sander made the best of his time on the bump, going 2-0 while posting a 2.93 ERA, allowing five runs on 16 hits. He fanned 11 batters, walked four and allowed four extra base hits. Sander opened the 2010 season on the mound for BSU and earned his first-career NSIC Pitcher of the Week award after throwing six-innings of shutout baseball against University of Minnesota, Crookston Feb. 5 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, giving-up just three hits in a 7-0 victory.

The Beavers will open the 2011 season in Phoenix, Ariz. March 8-13 at the 2011 RussMatt Greater Phoenix Invitational. BSU’s first game of the invitational is against Northwestern (Iowa) March 8. The Beavers begin NSIC play March 26-27 at Upper Iowa University.      

Bemidji State University, located in Bemidji, Minn., is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).