Game Time...Northwestern College will play its home opener on Tuesday, April 2 as they play Dakota Wesleyan in a GPAC softball doubleheader beginning at 4:00pm. This marks the GPAC opener for both teams as well. Northwestern is 10-13 overall while Dakota Wesleyan is 0-12 this season. Listen live to both games via the NWC webcast at the following link: Listen Now!
All-Time...Northwestern leads the all-time series 24-4 in a rivalry that began in 1998. The Red Raiders won both match-ups last year and are 3-2 over the last five games against the Tigers.
Dakota Wesleyan News and Notes...The Tigers bring an 0-12 record into Tuesday's GPAC opener and have not played since losing a doubleheader to Occidental College on March 11. Prior to those losses, DWU went 0-10 playing teams from the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) in California.
Ed Kieff is in his second season as the Tigers' head coach after spending several seasons as a club coach in the Sioux Falls area. Kieff led DWU to a 17-30 overall record in his first season in 2012, tying three other teams for fifth place in GPAC play at 10-10. They qualified for the GPAC Tournament for just the second time in the program's history, losing to Morningside and Hastings in its first two games. Kieff returns four starters off his 2012 squad but lost its top two pitchers and top four hitters. Nine freshmen and a transfer join the Tigers this season.
Offensively, DWU is hitting .199 as a team and averages 1.9 runs per game. Meghan Bovee is hitting a team-best .333, scoring four runs and driving in five. She ranks third in the GPAC with six doubles. Chelsea Moody returns as a starter and is hitting .316 while Hailey Unger is hitting .313 with four doubles. Vanessa Mendez is the top run producer with five RBIs.
The Tigers' pitching staff has a 7.60 ERA, giving up 7.5 runs per game. Newcomer Jill Dickson, a transfer from Seward County Community College, has pitched a team-high 35.2 innings. She is 0-6 with a 5.89 ERA with 25 strikeouts.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders are 10-13 as they open conference play on Tuesday. They have lost six of their last seven games after going 7-3 in Arizona. Most recently, they defeated Valley City State (7-1) but lost to Dickinson State (6-0) and Jamestown (9-3), all played at the Morningside Invite.
Northwestern won the GPAC regular season title last year with a 16-2 record and earned votes in the NAIA softball coaches' poll. They finished the year with a 33-13 overall record, going 1-2 at the postseason tournament. Chris Nachtigall, the 2012 GPAC Coach of the Year, is in his second season as the Red Raiders head coach.
The Red Raiders are scoring 4.2 runs per game and sport a .269 batting average, sixth best in the GPAC. They lead the conference with 70 stolen bases. Sophomore Jillian Kleinhesselink leads the team with a .333 average, scoring a GPAC-best 16 runs and also leads the conference with 23 stolen bases. Freshman Laura Hurley is hitting .323 with 10 runs scored and nine RBIs. Lindsey Remien is hitting .314 with 14 RBIs while Alex Price leads the GPAC with 17 RBIs, hitting .295 this season.
The Northwestern pitching staff ranks fourth in the GPAC with a 4.91 team ERA, giving up 4.9 runs per game. Katie VandeVoort, the 2012 GPAC pitcher of the year, leads the team with a 5-5 record, striking out 32 batters in 66.6 innings. Keely Bracelin, a first team all-GPAC selection in 2012, is 4-8 with a 5.07 ERA. She ranks second in the GPAC with 62 strikeouts in 76.1 innings.
Up Next...Northwestern resumes its season on Thursday, April 4 when they head to Sioux City, Iowa to play Morningside in a GPAC doubleheader beginning at 3/5:00pm.
# 5 | Pitcher/Outfielder
Senior from Brandon, S.D.
# 10 | Shortstop
Senior from Hastings, Neb.
# 22 | Pitcher
Senior from Milford, Iowa
# 14 | First Base
Senior from Sioux City, Iowa
# 18 | Catcher/Outfield
Junior from Everson, Wash.
# 20 | First Base
Sophomore from Canton, S.D.