What: VCSU baseball @ Midland University (Fremont, Neb.)
When: Saturday, March 8, 2 p.m.; Sunday, March 9, 1/3 p.m.
The Valley City State baseball team is scheduled to open the 2014 spring season this weekend with a road trip to Midland University in Fremont, Neb.
VCSU is slated to play Midland in games on both Saturday and Sunday, subject to change depending on the weather. The current forecast for Saturday is iffy, calling for temps in the mid-30s and mostly sunny skies. The forecast for Sunday looks much more like baseball weather: Sunny with a high near 60 degrees.
As of Friday, the teams were planning to play a single 9-inning game at 2 p.m. Saturday, and a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Sunday.
"The weather looks good for Sunday, so hopefully we'll get to play that day at least," said VCSU head coach Casey Olney.
The Vikings are anxious to get their spring season started after posting a 4-4 record in eight games this fall. Olney said playing fall games for the first time this year seems to have paid off so far.
"I feel like we're farther along now than we have been most springs just because we have some experience and guys have competed against other teams," he said. "The guys are excited and feeling confident going into the spring."
While the Vikings gained some game experience in the spring, Midland has gained game experience this winter. The Warriors have 15 games under their belts since Feb. 8 and are 8-7 overall. Midland is outscoring opponents 107-55, helped by three wins in which they scored 17, 22 and 24 runs.
After the quick trip to play Midland, VCSU will return to class for a few days before boarding an airplane to Tucson, Ariz., for their annual spring trip. The Vikings are scheduled to play 16 games in Tucson from March 13-24.
Valley City State posted a 15-26 record last season, but finished strong by making it to the semifinals of the postseason tournament before Mayville State ended the run. This year, VCSU and Charlie Brown Field will host the postseason tournament, which features all five North Star Athletic Association schools and Dickinson State from the Frontier Conference. The winner of the tournament advances to the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round.
As for season goals, Olney pointed towards that tournament in early May.
"It comes down to that," he said. "You win that, you advance, that's our goal."
The Vikings were picked by coaches to finish third in the North Star behind Mayville State and University of Jamestown.
Five Vikings players were named to the NSAA Preseason All-Conference Team: Thomas Houdek, SO, 3B; Dan Buehner, SR, C; Brady Anderson, SO, Util; Bryce Venaas, SR, P; Carlos Rosales, JR, P.