Game Time...Northwestern College heads to Des Moines, Iowa, to play Grand View University in a non-conference doubleheader. First pitch of game one at the Luhrs Athletic Complex is at 2pm. Northwestern has won five straight games and is 25-15 overall while Grand View is 24-13 on the year.
All-Time...Northwestern is 4-3 all-time against Grand View but has last the last two and three of the last four games against the Vikings. In 2009, the Red Raiders were swept 3-1 and 11-1 (6). Northwestern last defeated Grand View in the first game of a twinbill in 2008.
Scouting Grand View...The Vikings are in first place in the Midwest Collegiate Conference with a 15-1 record, 24-13 overall. They earned votes in this week's NAIA coaches' poll and have won 11 of their last 12 games. Last time out, they suffered their first MCC loss, falling to St. Ambrose 7-6 in the second game of a doubleheader.
Lou Yacinich is in his 12th season as the Vikings head coach and returns six positional starters and two starting pitchers off a 2013 team that finished tied for second in the MCC at 14-6. They went on to win the conference tournament and qualified for the NAIA National Championship, losing two straight to end the year with a 25-26 record.
Grand View averages eight hits and 6.6 runs per game, hitting .311 as a team. Jessica Grochala, a first team all-MCC pick in 2013, is third in the conference with a .425 batting average, hitting 10 home runs with 39 RBIs. Abbey Wilmes is hitting .409 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs while Cari Smith, a first team all-conference player last year, is hitting .341 with three home runs and 20 RBIs.
The Vikings pitching staff has 3.40 team ERA and is giving up 7.3 hits and 3.8 runs per game. Both Haleigh Munson (8-5, 3.19 ERA) and Wilmes (7-3, 3.21 ERA) return as starters after earning all-conference honors last year. Munson is eighth in the NAIA with 123 strikeouts in 85.2 innings pitched. Jessica Stickel leads the team with an 8-2 record and 2.97 ERA.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders have won five straight games heading into today's doubleheader to move into second place in the GPAC standings at 12-5, 25-15 overall. They swept both Midland and Doane and then defeated Mount Marty in the first game of a doubleheader last night, 14-8.
Northwestern averages just over eight hits and nearly five runs per game, hitting .292 as a team. Clare Ipema ranks fourth in the GPAC with a .432 batting average and has hit safely in her last four games. The sophomore has 10 hits in her last three games and is tied for second on the team with 28 runs scored. Alex Price is hitting .346 and is tied with Laura Hurley for the team lead with 36 RBIs. Jillian Kleinhesselink is hitting .331 with 33 runs scored and a team-high 29 stolen bases. She is just three stolen bases shy of matching the all-time NWC record at 95, set by Brandi Redel from 2004-07.
The Red Raiders pitching staff is second in the GPAC with a 2.71 earned run average, giving up seven hits and 3.6 runs per game. Katie VandeVoort has won five straight starts and eight of her last nine for a 10-3 record and 1.96 ERA. Keely Bracelin has won three straight starts and is 10-7 with a 2.33 ERA.
Up Next...Northwestern will host Peru State on Friday, April 18 in another non-conference doubleheader at 2/4pm.
# 18 | Catcher/Outfield
Senior from Everson, Wash.
# 20 | First Base
Junior from Canton, S.D.
# 4 | Centerfield
Junior from Merrillville, Ind.