Throwing smokeThe Dickinson State baseball team is off to a good start the Dakota Athletic Conference.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
The Dickinson State baseball team is off to a good start the Dakota Athletic Conference.
Eight games into the conference season, the Blue Hawks enter this weekend’s four-game home series against Jamestown College atop the league standings.
DSU interim head coach Andy Emard says his pitching staff’s consistency and confidence has been one of the big reasons behind the success.
“With our starting staff, they’ve been great all year,” Emard aid. “They keep us in ball games, throw strikes and give us a chance to compete.”
DSU doesn’t have a bullpen full of pitchers whose earned-run average hovers below 3.00 though.
What the Blue Hawks have, however, are more than a dozen arms able to keep the team in games as long as the guys at the plate do their job.
“I think quality pitching is something that has to be looked at from a different scope than just stats,” Emard said. “For us, you can’t look at somebody and say, ‘His ERA is under 3, he’s a quality pitcher.’ We may have some guys whose ERAs are around 6 or 7, but they’re doing what they need to do for us to win ball games and that’s eliminating big innings.”
Senior Roberto Gonzalez has a 7.58 ERA. He’s also 3-1 with 17 strikeouts and only seven walks and is DSU’s No. 1 starter.
Senior Bronson Collins has a 5.20 ERA, but is 3-0 with a team-best 25 strikeouts in four starts. He has also faced a team-high 129 batters.
Ryan Crossingham, a junior who saw most of his time as a starter in nonconference games last season, has appeared in five games and has a 3-0 record with a 4.56 ERA.
Crossingham said DSU’s pitchers know more of what is expected out of them this season.
“We all pretty much know our role,” Crossingham said. “That’s the biggest difference with coach is that we all know exactly where we are as far as the team stands. We all have set expectations every time we take the ball. It makes it that much easier on us.”
When DSU doesn’t win games, it’s usually not because of the pitching staff.
In eight of the team’s nine losses —excluding a 20-10 loss to Central College of Iowa during DSU’s spring break trip to Arizona — the Blue Hawk batters have driven in an average of 1.6 runs per game.
In its wins, DSU is averaging 8.1 runs per game.
When the Blue Hawks can gain an edge, Emard says the team’s confidence skyrockets thanks to relievers Chase Doremus and Bobby Santoyo.
Doremus has struck out 17 and allowed three earned runs over 10 innings of work in five games. Santoyo has a 5.40 ERA but is 1-1 and has kept teams from closing the gap in the late innings. Both players have one save.
“There’s a lot of confidence in the pen that we didn’t have last year,” Collins said. “The starters would have to go complete games. This year, we don’t really try to pitch around batters. We could go after them, attack them, knowing the offense we have. We weren’t given those chances last year. Putting certain guys in the pen that can stop the bleeding — like Bobby and Chase — that gives us more confidence in ourselves.”