Schedule for the first two days of the 59th NAIA Baseball National Championship, Friday-Saturday, May 22-23, Harris Field, Lewiston, ID (all times PDT):
9 AM: #7 seed Lindsey Wilson (41-17) vs. #10 Vanguard (38-20)
Lindsey Wilson (Columbia, KY) is making their first appearance at the Baseball National Championship.
Nickname: Blue Raiders
Rankings: Unranked in coaches' poll, #31 in ISR. Strength of schedule: #105
Quality wins: 2-1 vs. Auburn-Montgomery, 1-1 vs. Faulkner, 2-1 vs. Campbellsville, 2-1 vs. Tennessee Wesleyan
Top position players: RF Alex Bautista (.383, 19 HR, 72 RBI), 3B Ryan Harper (.400). Bautista's 72 RBI is fourth-best in the NAIA.
Top pitchers: LHP Scott Sebald (10-3, 1.07 ERA), LHP Ryan Hartman (10-2, 2.04 ERA, 103 K)
Coach: Jonathan Burton, fourth season
Outlook: Happy to be here.
Vanguard (Costa Mesa, CA) is making their second appearance at the Baseball National Championship; the first one was in 1985.
Rankings: Unranked in coaches' poll, #16 in ISR. SoS: #12
Quality wins: 4-2 vs. Westmont, British Columbia, Northwestern Ohio
Top position players: OF Brandon Sandoval (.291, 36 stolen bases), SS Jose Rojas (.333, 12 HR, 57 RBI), OF Paul Keating (.330)
Top pitchers: RHP Sean Isaac (9-5, 2.91 ERA, 92 K), RHP Scott Torrey (6-1, 3.07 ERA)
Coach: Rob Pegg, third season
Outlook: The Lions play in the very competitive Golden State Athletic Conference, and got to the National Championship by winning the toughest Opening Round bracket. They should do better than their #10 seeding, but won't be championship contenders.
Noon: #8 Concordia-Irvine (47-16) vs. #9 Saint Thomas (44-16)
Concordia-Irvine (CA) is making their third appearance at the Baseball National Championship. (It will be their final appearance; they are moving to Division II next year.) They won the championship in 2011.
Rankings: #19 in coaches' poll, #2 in ISR. SoS: #3 (highest in tournament)
Quality wins: 1-1 vs. Oklahoma City, 1-1 vs. Lewis-Clark State, 6-1 vs. Vanguard
Top position players: SS Ryan Goodman (.314), OF Robert Shiroky (.292), OF Mitchell Esser (.312, 52 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Tyler Mark (5-1, 1.30 ERA, 64 K), RHP Dillon Moran (9-4, 3.63 ERA, 64 K), RHP Isaiah Terrazas (6-2, 2.61 ERA). Mark has 23 saves, the most in the NAIA.
Coach: Mike Grahovac, seventh season
Outlook: The Eagles won the Golden State Athletic Conference tournament, and split with #1 Oklahoma City in the Opening Round to make it here. They should be a contender for the championship.
Saint Thomas (Miami Gardens, FL) is making their fifth appearance at the Baseball National Championship; the last one was in 2007.
Rankings: #20 in coaches' poll, #22 in ISR. SoS: #25
Quality wins: 2-1 vs. Northwood, 2-1 vs. Georgia Gwinnett, Westmont
Top position players: 1B Eric Santamaria (.374, 53 RBI), 3B Paul Chacin (Maracuabo, Venezuela; .335, 69 RBI), LF Jerry Downs (.348, 7 HR, 51 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Marcos Barrios (9-2, 3.63 ERA, 78 K), RHP Alex Hernandez (3-1, 2.93 ERA, 43 K). RHP Chris Rodriguez (2-0, 3.00 ERA, 26 K, 12 saves)
Coach: Jorge Perez, sixth season
Outlook: The Bobcats are happy to be here.