Latest News from Sul Ross September 10, 2013

    by Steve Lang, News and Publications

    In his first professional outing, Dakota Dill towed the rubber for the Danville (Va.) Braves, walked the first Princeton Rays hitter he faced, then struck out the next three.
    “The next inning, I threw a 93 mile-per-hour fastball inside and the guy really turned on it,” Dill recalled.
    Over the course of the 68-game Appalachian Rookie League season, Dill, still a Sul Ross State University student, weathered the ups and downs of minor league baseball.

Former Lobo Dakota Dill in action for Danville Braves of the Appalachian League. (Photo Courtesy Dakota Dill)

    At season’s end, the ups far outweighed the downs for the Tomball righthander. He led the team in appearances as a middle reliever, posting a 2-1 won-lost record with a 3.67 earned run average and 32 strikeouts in 27 innings. He issued just nine walks, did not surrender a home run and did not give up an earned run in 12 of his 18 games. Subtract a five-run, two-thirds of an inning nightmare against Bluefield at mid-season and Dill’s E.R.A. was a cool 2.05.
    Over his final 10 appearances, Dill was 1-1, allowing 14 hits and three walks in 16 innings, just three earned runs with 18 strikeouts.  

    Dill was drafted in the 26th round of the June draft by Atlanta, and quickly learned baseball economics.
    “My teammate (Victor Caratini), drafted in the second round, received a $990,000 bonus. I signed for a thousand,” he said. Caratini finished the year with a .290 batting average and a league-leading 23 doubles, while Dill provided consistent middle relief.
    Dill, who transferred to Sul Ross from the University of Houston prior to the 2012 season, is still regaining arm strength after Tommy John surgery on his elbow in 2011. He played outfield and was a designated hitter in 2012, then joined the Lobos’ starting pitching rotation in 2013, compiling a 4-2 won-lost record. In 10 appearances, including seven starts, Dill completed four games, including a shutout, collected a save and struck out 58 batters in 50 and one-third innings with a 4.29 E.R.A.
    “I was throwing 88-91 (mph) at Sul Ross, but I got the fastball up to 95 at Danville,” he said. “I stayed healthy all year (both at Sul Ross and Danville) and have continued to build my arm strength.”
    Between Sul Ross and Danville, Dill’s baseball season extended well past 100 games. The Danville Braves played 68 games in 72 days, with a few well-received rainouts. The regular season ended Aug. 30. At Danville, Dill’s daily 10-to-11-hour routine began at the ball park at noon with a workout schedule, followed by a night game, for a princely salary of $1,100 per month.
    “I played baseball almost non-stop since last October,” he said. “Overall, I liked the experience, but it did have its ups and downs. Every now and then I would call (Sul Ross teammate and friend) Brian LaLima to complain, but at the end of the season, I was still here.”
    Dill noted that the level of competition rose decidedly from collegiate play. “The hitters are so much better. You can’t make mistakes because these guys make great swings,” he said.
    Although the Appalachian League has teams in three states – Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee – most of the bus rides were shorter than those he endured as a Lobo.
    “The longest trip (to Greenville, Tenn.) was six hours, even though the actual mileage does not correlate with the time spent on the road. We went around the mountains,” he said.
    Dill, who is two semesters short of completing his Bachelor’s degree in Communication, will work out with the Lobo baseball team during fall practice. He plans to report to spring training in Orlando, Fla. in late February and hopes to be assigned to one of the Braves’ Class A teams in Rome, Ga. or Lynchburg, Va.  He did receive a late invitation to play in an instructional league in late October, but he had already enrolled for classes and declined the offer.
    “If you get invited (to the instructional league) it’s a good indicator of the team’s interest in you,” Dill said.
    For the next few months, Dill will resume his course work, work out with his former Lobo teammates and stay prepared to keep his Major League dream alive.

    Jacob Gernentz has been named interim rodeo coach at Sul Ross State University. He replaces Chance Campbell, who resigned earlier this year.
    Gernentz, Las Cruces, N.M., began his new duties Sept. 3.  He is a graduate of Eastern New Mexico University, Portales, where he was a two-year member of the rodeo team. He also competed collegiately at Western Texas College, Snyder; and Sul Ross.
    He received a B.S. degree in Agriculture from Eastern New Mexico in 2011. Gernentz has been active as a rodeo cowboy and has worked for two cattle companies in New Mexico.
    “We are excited to have Jacob join the program and look forward to building on the strong rodeo foundation we have developed over the past seven years,” said Dr. Rob Kinucan, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.                    –0o0--

    Facing a shorter turnaround, Sul Ross State University will regroup for Friday’s Lone Star Conference Football Festival meeting with Eastern New Mexico University in Cowboys Stadium, Arlington. The Lobos (0-1) and Greyhounds (0-1) will square off at 1 p.m.
    Sul Ross is smarting from a 51-6 setback at Texas A&M-Commerce Saturday evening (Sept. 7), while ENMU dropped a 31-28 decision to visiting New Mexico Highlands. Last year, the Greyhounds, who compete at the NCAA Division II level, edged the Lobos 38-35 at Portales.
    “Eastern New Mexico, like us, is working a number of new players into their scheme,” said Sul Ross head coach John Tyree. “We played them very competitively a year ago, but just like A&M-Commerce, we will be facing a scholarship opponent.”
    ENMU rushed for 211 yards and passed for 182 more against New Mexico Highlands. Dominique Ferrell ran for 79 yards and two scores, while quarterback Emmanuel Lewis completed 15 of 27 passes with a touchdown and interception and added 78 yards on the ground, scoring once.
    Tyree noted that the Lobos would be making some significant changes offensively in preparation for the Greyhounds. A&M-Commerce limited Sul Ross to 106 yards rushing and passing and recorded eight quarterback sacks.
    “We couldn’t block their nose guard and that disrupted our entire offense,” he said. “Defensively, we played much better than the score would indicate.”
    Sul Ross trailed 17-6 at halftime, surrendering one touchdown on a fumbled snap in the end zone on an attempted punt. The Lions tallied four times in a little over five minutes of the third quarter. One touchdown came on an interception and another on an abbreviated scoring drive deep in Sul Ross territory.
    “The defense played pretty well for the first two quarters,” said defensive coordinator Jarry Poth. “They were put in some bad spots but got out of them. In the end, A&M-Commerce had more depth.”
    Linebacker Earl Hines (Port Arthur/Blinn CC) was credited with 13 tackles, 12 solo, to lead the defense. Jural Hickman (Houston/Forrest Brook) and Zach Roberson (Houston/Cy-Ridge) each intercepted a pass, while Joey Dixon (Pasadena, Cal./Pasadena CC) forced a fumble that Brandon Thornton (Conroe/Blinn CC) recovered and returned 36 yards.
    Hickman and Keyon Lee (Hawaiian Gardens, Cal./Fullerton CC) provided some special teams highlights. Hickman averaged 30 yards on three kickoff returns, including a 53-yarder, while Lee ran back one kickoff 56 yards to set up the Lobos’ lone score and added a 39-yard punt return. In all, Lee ran back four kickoffs for 113 yards (28.2-yard average) and two punts for 44 more.

    Sul Ross State University’s Theatre Department will present the drama, “Lydia” and the musical, “Assassins” as its Fall Semester productions.
    “Lydia,” written by Octavio Solis and directed by Gregory M. Schwab, will be presented Oct. 17-21. “Assassins,” written by John Weidman and Stephen Sondheim; directed by Dona W. Roman with musical direction by Donald Callen Freed and Lana Potts, will be performed Nov. 15-17 and 22-24. Both shows will be held in the Studio Theatre, Francois Fine Arts Building.
    Set in the 1970’s on the Texas border separating the United States and Mexico, “Lydia” is an intense, moving new play. The Flores family welcomes Lydia, an undocumented maid, who cares for their daughter Ceci, who was tragically disabled in a car accident on the eve of her quinceñera, her 15th birthday. Lydia's immediate and seemingly miraculous bond with the girl sets the entire family on a mysterious and shocking journey of discovery.     “Lydia” ontains strong language and nudity. Must be 18 or older to attend. Show times are 8:15 p.m. Thursday –Saturday, Oct. 17-19 and Monday, Oct. 21, with a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Oct. 20.
    In “Assassins,” Weidman and Sondheim examine the motivations of the men and women who have killed — or attempted to kill — United States Presidents throughout history. Using the premise of a murderous carnival game, John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley and others meet and interact in this revue-style musical.
    “Assassins” contains strong language. Performances are at 8:15 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 15-16 and 22-23; and 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 17 and 24.
    For advanced ticket sales, visit the website at or contact the Fine Arts and Communications office at (432) 837-8218.


Summer geology field camp

All Sul Ross State University geology majors finish off their degree with GEOL 3601, a five-week field school that requires them to synthesize lessons learned in their coursework and prepares them either for research in graduate school or for employment in the fields of hard-rock mining, oil  and gas exploration, or environmental and water resources.  The students and instructor Jesse Kelsch spent this summer’s field camp in northern New Mexico honing their skills in, and learning more about, landscapes that were formed by everything from volcanoes to glaciers, from deep-water ocean deposits to deep-crustal ore-rich rocks.  They camped at different sites the whole way, usually in the cool pines above 7,000 feet, mapping rock types.  Students also visited stream-research areas, protected watersheds, and mining sites, and met with professional geologists in a variety of fields to learn about post-graduation employment.  Sul Ross ersity offers field camp every summer, and attracts students from here and from other universities.  (Photos Courtesy Jesse Kelsch)