The unprecedented roll of 2013-14 continued for NDSU athletics on Saturday afternoon in Sioux Falls, already the site of a great Bison victory in March, the school added another when the NDSU baseball team steamrolled Western Illinois 9-0 in the Summit League championship game to earn the school’s first trip to the Division 1 Baseball Tournament.
The game was over after the first inning thanks to a Michael Leach 2-run single followed up by a John Skrbec grand slam. Skrbec who came into the game hitting .186 with no home runs picked the best time to hit his first, NDSU was up 6-0 after one and never looked back. Freshman pitcher Reed Pfannestein, who was named Summit League pitcher of the week last week, did himself one better, going 8.1 innings, allowing no runs and striking out six. Pfannestein was named tournament MVP. Nick Altavilla, David Ernst, Jon Hechtner, Leach and Parker Trewin were named to the all-tournament team.
This was a huge win for NDSU, as written previously how the last two years went in the title game. It’s the first trip for the Bison since 1969 when they qualified as a Division 2 team and won two games before losing to Missouri State. It’s been a long process for Tod Brown since coming to Fargo in 2007, a gradual progression from 15 wins to 40 a couple years ago and now an NCAA berth.
Just a few words on this school year for NDSU. Nine conference/tournament championships is unheard of, but that’s exactly what the Bison have done this year. Football, men’s basketball, softball, baseball, wrestling, women’s cross-country, women’s indoor track and men’s and women’s track. Hard to imagine another school having that kind of dominance in one year.
Reminder: NCAA Baseball Selection Show airs Monday at 11am on ESPNU; follow Kendall James on Twitter; he updates brackets regularly between now and Monday.