Oklahoma City (11-4) defeated Northwood (TX) 13-5 and won two of three against U. of Science and Arts of Oklahoma 12-2, 8-5, and 2-4. RF Dane Phillips went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI in the first game against USAO; Blake Schwartz and Allen Townsend combined for a two-hitter. 1B Miguel Beltran went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, and two RBI in the second game; Rich Hawkins got the win. 1B Zach Gonzales singled in the winning run for USAO in the third game. Adam Wilson got the win, held the Stars to five hits. The Stars host Oklahoma Wesleyan Feb. 28, visit Northwestern Oklahoma State March 1, and host Northwestern Oklahoma State March 3.
Concordia-Irvine (9-5) began their defense of their Golden State Athletic Conference championship by winning three of four against San Diego Christian, 5-4, 12-4, 6-1, and 5-6. RF Ty Holm stole home for the winning run in the first game. DH Tony Harkey hit a three-RBI double in the second game. Jake Hovis pitched a complete game in the third game, allowed five hits. The Eagles were done in by three unearned runs on the fourth game. They visit Vanguard March 1-2, and host Vanguard March 3.
The Sea Lions and Mustangs opened their Golden State Athletic Conference schedules with a double-header split at Point Loma.
First game (nine innings): The Sea Lions were in control of this game for the first four innings, building a 4-0 lead on an RBI on a ground out by SS Clinton Harwick, an RBI on a ground out by 2B Marcus Heisner, and back-to-back RBI doubles by DH Tyler Nordgren and LF Bryan Burkhead. Sea Lions starter Justin Lawrence held the Mustangs to one hit over the first four innings.
The Mustangs got on the board in the top of the fifth, when DH Joe Riddle scored on a ground out by 1B Spencer Downs. The Sea Lions got a two-run home run by RF Trey Hunt in the sixth, and the Mustangs got a home run by C Bryan Lucas in the seventh, making the score 6-2.
The Mustangs got back in the game a two-run home run by RF Chris Talley in the top of the eighth, off Nolan Stouder, who had just come in in relief of starter Justin Lawrence. Talley's home run made the score 6-4, and that's as close as the Mustangs got. Stouder was replaced by true freshman Garrett Gooding, and it was lights out. Gooding struck out five of the seven batters he faced, allowed one hit. The Sea Lions completed the scoring with a two-run home run by LF Brian Burkhead in the bottom of the eighth.
Oklahoma City (8-3) defeated Southern Nazarene 8-4 in mid-week. The Stars scored six runs in the first inning, and Blake Schwartz recorded seven strikeouts in six innings of work. The Stars then dropped two games to MidAmerica Nazarene, 8-4 and 4-2. In the first game, RF Josh Greer hit two home runs for the Pioneers, batted in five of their eight runs. In the second game, Pioneer starter Tino Luna recorded ten strikeouts in six innings, held the Stars to five hits. The Stars rebounded with two wins over Bellevue, 7-2 and 5-1. Rich Hawkins pitched a complete game in the first one, SS Chris Muñoz went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI in the second one. The Stars host Northwood (TX) Feb. 21, U. of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Feb. 23, then visit USAO Feb. 25.
Concordia-Irvine (6-4) swept three games against Patten, 9-1, 12-0, and 11-7. The first game was closer than the score indicates; see campus visit. Jake Hovis went the distance in the shutout, struck out ten. RF Ty Holm went 3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI in the third game. The Eagles begin their defense of their Golden State Athletic Conference championship at home against San Diego Christian Feb. 23, then visit San Diego Christian Feb. 25.
Lee (11-2) lost two midweek games, 9-3 to Union C. (KY) and 8-7 to Tennessee Wesleyan. The Flames led Tennessee Wesleyan 7-6 going into the ninth inning. They had the bases loaded with no outs in the top of the ninth, and couldn't get an insurance run. Tennessee Wesleyan got two cheap runs in the bottom of the ninth to win it. The Flames swept Emmanuel over the weekend, 12-1, 2-1, and 8-5. Kris Hall struck out eleven in the mercy-rule shortened first game. The winning run in the second game came on a solo home run by 1B Roberto Reyes. The Flames trailed the third game 5-2 at one point, got a good five-inning relief effort from James Rechenbach. The Flames host Rio Grande Feb. 20 and Lindsey Wilson Feb.22, and visit U. of Mobile Feb. 24-25.
Cal State-San Marcos and Azusa Pacific split a Cougars vs. Cougars matchup at APU's Cougar Baseball Field.
First game: CSUSM started with five runs in the top of the first inning, on an RBI single by 3B Austin Coleman, a two-RBI double by 2B Michael Meccuci, and a two-RBI single by 1B Kenny Belzer.
APU starter Ben Ruder was replaced by Zachary Hedges in the second inning. He was greeted with an RBI single by LF Anthony Renteria, son of Rick Renteria, who played 184 games with the Pirates, Mariners, and Marlins, and is currently the bench coach for the Padres. Hedges ended up going 6 2/3 innings, and didn't allow another earned run the rest of the way. This made an impressive comeback by APU possible. CF Matt Kimmel got it started. He drew a leadoff walk, stole second and third, and scored on a single by SS Anthony Rodriguez. The second run of the inning was scored by 3B Brendan Casey on a wild pitch; Casey originally got on base with a walk. APU officially got back in the game with two runs in the fourth on an RBI ground out by C Matt Page and an RBI single by 2B Sammy Soyring. This made the score 6-4.
Patten RHP Issac Duran was able to keep the Lions in this one for 6 2/3 innings. However, CF Steven McMichael reached on an error, and the unearned run scored by 3B Ryan DiMascio became the winning run. The Eagles got another run in the seventh on an RBI single by LF Kyle Konicek. The two relievers who replaced Duran in the eighth were ineffective, turning a pretty good ball game into a rout.
The defending champions got a complete game from RHP Brent Clapper, who held the Lions to five hits, struck out 11, and didn't walk a batter.
The Eagles got on the board in the third inning with a leadoff triple by SS Matt Palmer. Palmer scored on a sacrifice fly by the next batter, 2B Daniel Shine. The Eagles left the bases loaded in the fourth; Duran got two key strikeouts, then fielded a ground ball and threw it home for the force out to end the inning.
Oklahoma City (5-1) split a double-header with Missouri Baptist. The Spartans won their season opener 2-1; Bunk Coronado, a transfer from LSU-Shreveport, and Aaron Matula combined to hold the Stars to three hits, and Coronado recorded nine strikeouts. LF Joe Riley doubled in the winning run. The Stars won the nightcap 9-1; Blake Schwartz and Patrick Goelz combined to hold the Spartans to one hit, and Schwartz struck out ten of the 17 batters he faced. RF Chad Carman batted in three of the Stars' runs. A mid-week game at Central Oklahoma was canceled, and a pair of weekend games against Ottawa were also canceled. The Stars have a busy week ahead. They host Southern Nazarene Feb. 16, MidAmerica Nazarene Feb. 17-18, and Bellevue Feb. 18-19.
Concordia-Irvine (3-4) lost four games on the week to Division II teams; 11-1 to Cal State-Los Angeles, and 7-6 (11 innings), 14-8, and 6-4 to Cal Poly Pomona. The Eagles missed two chances to win the extra-innings game. They outhit Cal Poly Pomona in the second game, but Eagle pitched walked ten batters, and hit three more. The Eagles host Patten Feb. 17-18.
Lee (8-0) defeated Tennessee Temple 15-0, and recorded three shutouts against Shawnee State, 5-0, 2-0, and 4-0. Kris Hall and Joe Fabre combined for a two-hit shutout in the first Shawnee State game (Hall struck out twelve), Patrick Merkling pitched five hitless innings in the second game, and Jose Samayoa allowed one hit in the first five innings of the third game. 1B Roberto Reyes hit a three-run home run in the third game. The Flames host Union C. (KY) Feb. 13, visit Tennessee Wesleyan Feb. 15, and visit Emmanuel Feb. 17-18.
The NAIA's top 11 teams, and 12 of the top 13 teams, have started their seasons.
Oklahoma City started their season with four wins, two against Hastings, and two against Grand View. The Stars trailed the first game 1-0 going into the sixth inning of a seven-inning game. P Rich Hawkins tied it with a home run in the sixth, and SS Chris Munoz batted in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Hawkins went the distance, scattered six hits, struck out seven. Kirby Wells and and Addison Ives combined to hold the Stars to only three hits. The Stars visit Division II Central Oklahoma on Feb. 7, and host Missouri Baptist and Ottawa Feb. 10-12.
Concordia-Irvine (3-0) visits Division II Cal State-Los Angeles Feb. 8 and Division II Cal Poly Pomona Feb. 10. They host a double-header against Cal Poly Pomona, who are 4-0, in Feb. 11.
Lee swept three games against Talladega, 14-2, 4-1, and 2-1, and defeated Hiwassee (NCCAA) 11-0. Kris Hall, Patrick Merkling, Andy Hillis, and Mike Fasolo got the wins, and Fasolo combined with James Rechenbach and Kyle Briner for a one-hitter against Hiwassee. Blake Barber is batting .538 for the Flames. They host Tennessee Temple Feb. 7 and Shawnee State Feb. 10-11.
Lubbock Christian lost two of three to Northwood (TX) and lost to Texas Wesleyan. All four games were close. Kyle Forsyth was credited with the 10-8 win over Northwood; the Chaparrals scored seven runs in the eighth inning, led by a bases-loaded double by RF Benny Woodard. In the first loss to the Knights, Clayton Woodruff, Nick Harrison, and Colton Reavis combined to hold the Chaparrals to four hits. The next game went into extra innings, and the Knights won it on an RBI single by 1B Adam Humes. In the 3-2 loss to Texas Wesleyan, C Alex Padilla bunted with the bases loaded to bring in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Oklahoma transfer Nolan Barbee got the win for the Rams, but starter Derek Vaughn put in a strong performance; six innings, four hits, seven strikeouts. The Chaparrals host York Feb. 10-11. The Rams have started the season 4-0, and they visit Division III Mary Hardin-Baylor Feb. 7, host Tabor Feb. 9, and U. of the Southwest Feb. 10-11.
Embry-Riddle swept three games from Florida Memorial, 6-5 (11 innings), 12-0 (mercy rule) and 10-4. 1B Chris Page went 3-for-6 in the first game, hit a single off the wall in the bottom of the 11th to bat in the winning run. Chad Modomo pitched a four-hit shutout in the second game. CF Frankie Arias went 4-for-4 in the third game, and Kevin Maloney got the win. The Eagles visit Warner Feb. 10-11.
Concordia-Irvine has started the season 3-0, with an easy win over Simpson, and a double-header sweep of Arizona Christian, 6-3 and 10-7. C/DH Chris Kuber is batting .600 for the Eagles, Blake Harrison, Brent Clapper, and Thomas Hoenshell got the wins. The defending champions don't play again until Feb. 8, at Division II Cal State-Los Angeles.
Auburn-Montgomery hosted a round-robin event with four ranked teams, and the result was a draw. The Warhawks (they are no longer the Senators), Embry-Riddle, and Tennessee Wesleyan went 2-2, and Southern Polytechnic went 1-1. The best game of the event was probably the first one, a 2-1 win for the Warhawks over Embry-Riddle. Story at Auburn-Montgomery site: Dugan's Walk-Off Gives Warhawks Split with No. 5 Embry-Riddle. Enbry-Riddle got a complete seven-inning game from Chad Modomo in a 5-2 win over Tennessee Wesleyan; it was Modomo's first start for the Eagles. The Warhawks host Webber International Feb. 3, and Southeaster Feb. 4. The Eagles host Florida Memorial Feb. 3-4.
Belhaven swept three games against Blue Mountain, 4-0, 6-3, and 15-4. Geoffrey Thomas, Matthew Shaw, and Robert Marzoni combined for a four-hit shutout in the first game. Thomas, a transfer from Southern Mississippi, pitched six shutout innings, allowed one hit, struck out five. The Blazers host Tougaloo Jan. 31, and visit LSU-Alexandria Feb. 3-4.
Wayland Baptist swept four games against U. Of the Southwest, 6-2, 5-4, 3-1, and 6-3. The Pioneers score three runs in the bottom of the seventh to win the second game; freshman LF Colton Palmer hit a two-RBI single, and freshman SS Bernie Rosario hit a walk-off RBI double. The Pioneers will be playing at the Arizona Desert Classic in Anthem, AZ Feb. 2-4, with College of Idaho, Fresno Pacific, Lewis-Clark State, and Point Loma Nazarene.
More teams with good starts: Loyola-New Orleans is 4-0, Emmanuel is 3-0.
Savannah College of Art and Design has announced that they are dropping baseball and two other sports at the end of this season. Click here for the announcement and comments.
The program had been successful in recent years, under Coach Doug Wollenburg. The 2009 team was 39-23. The Bees have two alumni currently playing pro ball, RHP Ryan Pope (Yankees) and LHP Richard Sullivan (Braves). Pope had an ERA of 1.15 in 2007, recorded 122 strikeouts, pitched a no-hitter and a phenomenal 14 complete games; he completed every game he started.
Story by Dennis Knight in Savannah Morning News: SCAD to drop baseball, softball and volleyball
The 56th NAIA baseball season starts today, with defending champion Concordia-Irvine hosting Simpson, Palm Beach State at Saint Thomas (FL), and Point Loma Nazarene playing an exhibition game at UC San Diego. Simpson visits Point Loma on Jan. 25, and The Master's on Jan. 27. On January 26, Doane visits Texas-Brownsville. On January 27-29, Auburn-Montgomery hosts a four-team tournament with Embry-Riddle, Tennessee Wesleyan, and Southern Polytechnic. Also on the 27th, Belhaven hosts Blue Mountain, Brewton-Parker hosts South Carolina-Beaufort, and at least nine more games are scheduled. On January 28, Montreat visits Thomas (GA) and Warner visits Webber International.
Here is an evaluation of the top 10 teams according to the pre-season coaches' poll:
#1 – Oklahoma City: The Stars are led by All-American C Chad Carman (.323), IF Miguel Beltran (.346), and LHP Rich Hawkins (10-5, 2.04 ERA). They've loaded up on talent with C Dane Phillips (transfer from Oklahoma State, batted .337 in 2010), RHP Blake Schwartz (transfer from Minnesota State-Mankato, 10-2, 2.11 ERA, 79 K), RHP Patrick Goelz (transfer from Bethune-Cookman, 8-3, 3.09 ERA, 75 K), IF Chris Munoz (transfer from Eastern Oklahoma State JC), OF Cody Ferrell (transfer from Seminole State JC, .367, 8 home runs), and LHP Ryan Gibson (transfer from Oklahoma, 48th round draft pick in 2009). Games to watch: Missouri Baptist Feb. 11-12, at Oklahoma Baptist March 22, 24, Oklahoma Baptist March 23, Rogers State April 5, at Rogers State April 7, at Lubbock Christian April 20-21.
#2 – Concordia-Irvine: The defending champions lost Matt Ivanoff to graduation, and John Hill and Bryan Nicholson to pro ball. They still have OF Kyle Konicek (.391), RHP Blake Harrison (8-1, 2.74 ERA), and LHP Josh White (2-1, 2.20 ERA). They've added a high-profile JUCO transfer, P/OF Ty Holm (Everett CC), and two Division I transfers, LHP/OF Aaron Gates (Pepperdine, 4-5, team-best 3.15 ERA) and IF Dave Peterson (Hawaii, .283). Games to watch: at Cal State-San Marcos March 9, Cal State-San Marcos March 10, at Point Loma Nazarene March 16, Point Loma Nazarene March 17, at Biola March 29-30, Biola March 31, at Cal Baptist April 5-6.