DSU News
Baseball - Thu, Feb. 21, 2013
News Photo
Head coach Jason Watson enters his second season at Dickinson State University.

The Blue Hawks open the season at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. against Dakota Wesleyan University tomorrow. 

 
The Coaches:
 
Jason Watson (21-26, 8-9) enters his second season as head coach of the Blue Hawks.
Coach Watson in his second year created a winning atmosphere from a strong weight/conditioning and Fall baseball program this offseason. Former Blue Hawk Tury Escobedo returns to assist DSU this season. 
 
Last season: 
 
2012 was the Blue Hawks first year as a NAIA Division I Independent. Last season DSU had no home field with new turf being installed. DSU was also plagued with an injury bug. Junior infielder, Jake Coyle battled a finger and hamstring issue. Sophomore pitcher Cole Steinbeisser dealt with a shoulder problem. The Blue Hawks lose nine seniors from last year's squad including leftfielder Derek Carley, who was a solid fielder and bat who had a career batting average of .388 and .321 last season. Also gone is relief pitcher Andrew Grafton who had eight saves last season.
 
 2013's offensive identity:
 
The starting nine will be filled with contact hitters with speed.
 
Since the intercollegiate wide change of bats, offensive power hitting has decreased. Coach Watson has recruited athletes to compliment the changes of the game. The Hawks will look to play "small ball," using their speed and contact hitting to move runners and execute hit and runs. 
 
Senior outfielder Jon Mendoza had a batting average of 352. with 145 at bats last season. Senior pitcher/ outfielder Tanner Newman hit .293 last season and looks to hit solid in his 2013 campaign. Redshirt junior infielder Chris Mjelstad will make his debut this season.  Power hitting looks to be a process as situational hitting will be the primary focus this season. A plethora of left handed bats will give the coaching staff situations that can play in their favor.
 
The Outfield:
 
According to coach Watson outfield production will not be an issue. The group will be covering ground. They also have arms to make the necessary play at the bases. 
 
Infield:
 
The infield is DSU's deepest area. The team lacked in its depth last year. Early on guys will be battling to get in the nine-man order.
 
Catching:
 
Two athletes will platoon for the Blue Hawks. Sophomore catcher Ryan Risse a 6-2, 205 lbs. right hander will provide size, arm strength, and offensive power. Freshman TJ Porter will share time with Risse. 
 
Pitching:
 
Over ten individuals have the ability to pitch for Dickinson State.
 
There are five lefthanders on this roster compared to one left handed pitcher last season.
 
Newman (R) will be playing both ways for DSU. Newman went ten games last season, with a4.92 E.R.A and 4-3 record.  
 
Sophomore Nicholas Kearley, a 6-6 right hander has made adjustments to his throw. Kearley will be a centerpiece in the rotation.
 
Freshman Eric Seiler (L) who was a 2010 Dickinson High School graduate will enter the rotation.
 
Senior Bobby King (R) was a middle relief pitcher last season as a transfer.  
 
Freshman Jeff VanCleave out of Miles City, Mont. will be a young and strong left hander for DSU.
 
Sophomore Chaz Allen (R) according to Watson is developing into a solid pitcher. Allen pitched eleven games last season with a record of (1-1). 
 
Cole Steinbeisser (R) through well in the fall as he looks to get back into the rotation.
 
Senior Brock Murphy a left handed batter will be an option to use this season. The right handed pitcher was not thrown last year but has been hitting the strike zone this fall. 
 
The Schedule: 
 
The Blue Hawks start the season at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn. in a four game series against Dakota Wesleyan University (0-4) on Fri. and Sat., Feb. 22 and 23.  
 
The Hawks will then play a 3-way series in McPherson, Kansas.  Sterling College (7-4) one of their opponents in McPherson was ranked No. 15 in the country preseason.
 
The season will then heat up in Tucson, Ariz. at the Tucson Invitational Games. DSU's last opponent in the ten game trip will be Lubbock Christian (9-3). LC is ranked No. 16 preseason.
 
Concordia College – Moorhead will be DSU's home opener at the newly renovated Astoria Ballpark on March 23 at 12 p.m.
 
Independent regional play will feature Dakota State University, Jamestown College, Mayville State University, and Valley City State University. MSU will not participate in the Preseason "DAC" Tournament. University of Winnipeg will participate instead.