Simply put that’s what today is for the Bison baseball team. They have already made history with yesterday’s thrilling upset 4-3 win over Oral Roberts, snapping the Golden Eagles 37 game conference tournament winning streak. Even casual baseball fans at the RedHawks game were asking me about the Bison game and were thrilled to hear about the NDSU win. This has been a process for Tod Brown and his staff, that started five years ago when he was hired and could culminate today with another historic win. When looking at the past five years since Brown took over maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that NDSU is in this position:
2008 – 15-30 (7-16 Summit)
2009 – 16-28 (10-14 Summit)
2010 – 22-30 (11-16 Summit)
2011 – 22-32 (15-12 Summit, made tournament for 1st time)
2012 – 40-18 (School record for wins)
What I see when I look at that are a couple of factors: more money for scholarships, equals better players that you are able to get. Maybe we should have known something was up when the Bison beat 5th ranked Arizona in Tucson in the 2nd game of the season back in Feburary. NDSU put 7 guys on the All-Summit League teams, how John Straka was not named pitcher of the year is unbelieveable and Tim Colwell is a player ORU would love to have. Fargo South’s Kyle Kingsley has been nearly automatic as the team’s closer. Zach Wentz has been the captain of this team and seen the low times and now enjoying the winning. And the future looks solid as well, Colwell is just a sophomore, Wes Satzinger another all-league player a sophomore and the team has a MLB draft pick in South’s David Ernst, just a freshman, who will be counted on big time next year. Brown has stocked his roster with young pitching, he’s bringing in 6 pitchers in next year’s class, and two of North Dakota’s better players in Mandan’s Aaron Janz and Bismarck’s Alex Bray.
Today is a day that go could a long way into re-defining the Bison baseball program. In some ways, the program already has been. But go ask the football, soccer, volleyball, softball and men’s basketball teams about making the NCAA Tournament. It puts you into a different stratosphere of attention and respect. A win today over Oral Roberts would create a buzz that this team has never seen before. Win or lose, NDSU has shown us that baseball is another sport that deserves our attention. First pitch today from Tulsa is at 1, NDSU needs to win just once, Oral Roberts needs two to advance. The Eagles have won 14 straight Summit League crowns, one way or the other this is the last Summit games they play, a historic day indeed.