#1 Faulkner went 2-2 on the weekend, making their record 5-2. They split two games with #4 Missouri Baptist, winning 5-4, and losing 4-3. In the first game, DH Randy Joung, who reached on an error, scored the winning run on a balk by Carl Jameson in the bottom of the sixth of a seven-inning game. Labradford Griffis got a save; he struck out RF Enrique Pagan in the top of the seventh with the tying run at third base. 2B Jeff Smith hit a solo home run in the second inning for the winning run in the second game. Ryan Stapp got the win; he combined with two other pitchers to hold the Eagles to four hits.
The Eagles' other loss was to #15 Lindsey Wilson, 4-1. The Eagles held a 1-0 lead going into the seventh inning, but several errors in the seventh allowed the Blue Raiders to win it. LHP Jason Turner went the seven-inning distance for the Blue Raiders, allowed five hits. Jeremy Holcombe, who allowed only three hits, and struck out seven, got the loss.
The Eagles finished the weekend with a 7-4 win over #10 Cumberland. LHP Thomas Dorminy went the seven-inning distance for the Eagles, allowed two earned runs on four hits, struck out eight. LF Esteban Paula went 2-for-2 with two RBI.
The Eagles visit Blue Mountain Feb. 14-15.
Missouri Baptist is 1-3; they lost 6-5 (12 innings) to Lindsey Wilson, and 5-4 to Cumberland. Derek Shugart hit an RBI triple in the 12th for the win for the Blue Raiders. Sam Ross got the win, pitched five innings in relief. DH Richie Seaton hit a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning to win it for Cumberland. The Bulldogs out-hit the Spartans 11-5, and SS Josciel Veras went 3-for-3 with two RBI for the Bulldogs. The Spartans play Campbellsville Feb. 13, Saint Francis Feb. 14, and Belhaven Feb. 15; all three games are at Belhaven.
The Blue Raiders split a double-header with Auburn-Montgomery the following day, making their record 3-4. They visit Point Feb. 14-15.
The Bulldogs also split a double-header with Auburn-Montgomery, making their record 2-2. They host Union U. (TN) Feb. 11, and Taylor Feb. 14-15. The Warhawks are 5-3, and they visit Brewton-Parker Feb. 14-15.
A four-team tournament at #2 Lewis-Clark State was cancelled by snow. They host Division II Montana State-Billings Feb. 14-16.
RHP Keegan Yuhl, a transfer from Lee, pitched a no-hitter for #9 Concordia-Irvine in a 9-0 non-conference win over Antelope Valley. Yuhl threw 115 pitches, struck out 12, walked three. Story from Concordia-Irvine: Keegan Yuhl Throws First No-Hitter In Concordia History. The story includes three video clips; scroll down to see them. Box score.
The Eagles didn't just get a no-hitter and a three game sweep of Antelope Valley; all three games were shutouts, and the Eagles allowed only four hits for the series.
#12 The Master's won two of three at #22 San Diego Christian in a Golden State Athletic Conference matchup of two teams that were previously undefeated. The scores were 4-2, 8-11, and 3-1. The Mustangs got three runs on the top of the ninth inning to win the first game; 1B Josh Brown hit a two-RBI single to bring in the winning run. Jason Karkenny pitched two perfect innings to get the win in relief. 3B Jeff Lusardi hit a home run, a double, and five RBI for the Hawks in the second game. RHP Tucker Richardson pitched a seven-inning gem for the Mustangs in the third game; three hits, nine strikeouts, one walk. He was one out short of a shutout; Lusardi hit a home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. The Mustangs visit Concordia-Irvine Feb. 7-8. The Hawks host #16 Cal State San Marcos Feb. 8.
The split between The Master's and San Diego Christian enabled Vanguard to take over first place in the GSAC. The Lions swept three games against Arizona Christian, 3-2, 4-2, and 2-1. The Lions were held to three hits by Ismael Castro in the first game, but all three Lions runs were unearned. CF Thomas Mobley hit a two-RBI double in the bottom of the eighth to win the second game. Scott Torrey went the seven-inning distance for the Lions in the third game, didn't allow an earned run, allowed four hits, struck out six. The Lions visit Westmont Feb. 7-8. Live video
The 58th NAIA baseball season is already under way, and
six games were played in California last weekend. The Golden State
Athletic Conference is already playing conference matchups, with #9
Concordia-Irvine at Arizona Christian, Biola at The Master's, and San
Diego Christian at Westmont. Ave Maria and Southeastern play Edward
Waters and Calumet College of Saint Joseph in Lakeland, FL, Bryan
hosts Lindenwood, Cal State San Marcos visits Vanguard, Doane visits
Houston-Victoria, and Warner visits Webber International.
Here is an evaluation of the top 10 teams according to the
pre-season coaches' poll:
#1 – Faulkner: The
defending champions will have returning position players OF Michael
Cruz (.355, 13 HR, 68 RBI; he led the Eagles in all three categories,
and is a Pre-season All-American), C/IF Sergio Sanchez (.363, 65
RBI), IF Luis Sanchez (.344) and IF Dauris Holguin (.291). Their
returning pitchers are RHP Julian Esquibel (11-2, 2.71 ERA), LHP
Labradford Griffis (5-0, 2.11 ERA), and RHP Jeremy Holcombe (4-0,
3.19 ERA). They will have three key transfers; OF Willie Allen
(Western Oklahoma State), C T.C. Mark (Arizona), RHP Kurt Lipscomb
(Jacksonville State), and OF Omar Gomez (New Mexico Junior College).
Games to watch: Missouri
Baptist Feb. 7-8, Lindsey Wilson Feb. 7, Cumberland Feb. 8, at
Tennessee Wesleyan March 5 Live
#2 – Lewis-Clark State: The Warriors have Cody Lavalli
(.373, 10 HR), who was drafted in 37th round by the Rangers, and is a
Pre-season All-American. Other
returnees are OF/C Jake Shirley (.340), RHP Michael Noteware
(missed most of 2013 with a medical redshirt), RHP Steve Thompson
(5-5, 2.49 ERA), and RHP Dave Murillo (5-0, 3.02 ERA, 38 K). Their
most impressive recruit is IF Michael Sexton, a freshman drafted in
the 38th round by the Mariners. They also have RHP Gunnar Swanson
(transfer from Everett CC; he was 9-2, 1.63 ERA with 8 complete games
and 88 K there) and OF Raymond Pedrina. Games to watch:
British Columbia Feb. 7, Concordia-Portland Feb. 8 and April 4-6,
Western Oregon Feb. 21-23, at British Columbia March 7-9, at Western
Oregon May 2, 4, at Linfield (Division III champion) May 3 Live
The South defeated the North 11-2 in the 2014 Sun Conference All-Star Game, played Jan. 18 in Babson Park, FL. Four of the South's runs were batted in by Ave Maria C Conor Sullivan, three of them on a bases-loaded double in the sixth inning. The winning run was also scored in the sixth, by Warner RF Justin Burgess on a single by Northwood (FL) DH Angel Garcia. Garcia went 2-for-5 with an RBI for the game.
Sullivan earned a Rawlings Gold Glove for the 2013 season. He batted .277, and wasn't charged with a single error.
The South used ten pitchers for the game, the North nine. The best pitching performance was turned in by Webber International RHP Josh Ganus of the North, who gave up an unearned run, but struck out three of the four batters he faced. Ganus is a transfer from North Carolina A&T, had a good summer with Leesburg of the Florida Collegiate Summer League.
The 2013-14 NAIA Coaches' Preseason poll, released November 12:
||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)
||The Master’s (Calif.)
||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)
||Cal State San Marcos
||Southern Poly (Ga.)
||Point Park (Pa.)
||LSU Shreveport (La.)
||San Diego Christian (Calif.)
||William Carey (Miss.)
||Ave Maria (Fla.)
First-place votes: Faulkner 18, Lewis-Clark State 1
NAIA press release
1B Matt Page of Oklahoma Baptist leads the team. Two players from Northwood (TX) and DH Michael Cruz from defending champion Faulkner.
||Spring City, TN
||Redwood City, CA
||Grand Prairie, TX
||Apple Valley, CA
||St. Francis (IL)
||Oklahoma City, OK
NAIA press release
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL, has applied for membership in the Division II Sunshine State Conference.
The Eagles have made 12 trips to the National Championship tournament, ten of them in the last 11 seasons, under coaches Greg Guilliams and Randy Stegall. Their best finish was in 2005, when they were runners-up to Oklahoma City.
Joining the Sunshine State Conference would put the Eagles in the same conference with former NAIA opponents Barry and Rollins. The Eagles have been playing non-conference games against Tampa, the defending national Division II champions. The Eagles lost to them 2-1 (ten innings) this season.
Story by Brent Woronoff in the Daytona Beach News-Journal: ERAU makes case to NCAA conference
Concordia-Irvine won the National Championship in 2011. They would be joining former GSAC members Cal Baptist, Point Loma Nazarene, Azusa Pacific, and Fresno Pacific in the PacWest Conference.
Concordia-Portland is the defending champion of NAIA West. The Cavaliers went to the National Championship tournament in 2004. Rob Vance has been their Head Coach for 15 seasons. They have a new, good quality ballpark. They would, if accepted, compete in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). Whether they can break Western Oregon's long streak of conference championships remains to be seen.
These three schools would continue to complete in the NAIA through the 2015 season.
Georgetown College (KY) has applied for membership in the Division II Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC). A previous application by Georgetown C. was turned down.
The Melville Millionaires won their first-ever Western Major Baseball League championship, defeating the Medicine Hat Mavericks three games to two in the final.
Both teams were loaded with NAIA players. The Millionaires' roster included six players from British Columbia (see picture): Alex Webb, Cam Firth, Tyler Enns, Kevin Biro, Jeremy Newton, and Nathan Kirby. Also Jaime Paxton (Northwood (TX)), Allen Rimer (Bacone), and Chase Medler (Lyon). The Mavericks' roster included four players from Tabor: Alex Mann, Jacob Webb, Grant Silva, and C.J. DeDeaux. The also had Alex Bos (Concordia-Portland), Alex Graham (British Columbia), Kyle McKay (Saint Francis (IN)), Ched Gaskin (Purdue North Central), and Bryan Arthur (British Columbia).
Biro led the Millionaires in hitting during the regular season with a .366 average, and, for the Sabermetricians, 29.668 runs created. Bos led the WMBL with an 8-0 won-lost record. Webb had three starts and three wins during the playoffs, did not allow an earned run in 17 2/3 innings pitched. Silva batted .337 for the Mavericks.
Anthony Armanino of Lewis-Clark State, playing for the Swift Current Indians, had an astonishing 24 strikeouts during three playoff games (19 innings pitched). He had a regular season record of 4-0, 2.25 ERA, 60 strikeouts.
Cumberland, a long-term baseball power in the NAIA, announced on August 7 that they have been granted provisional membership in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC), and will be applying for NCAA Division II membership. Here is Cumberland's press release: CU admitted to G-MAC, will apply to NCAA D-II.
This is a major loss for NAIA baseball. The Bulldogs have made 11 appearances at the Baseball National Championship, and they won it in 2004 and 2011. Woody Hunt has been the Head Coach for 32 years, and has a record of 1403-584-4.
Joining the G-MAC reconnects the Bulldogs with two traditional opponents, Trevecca Nazarene and Georgetown College (KY). Trevecca Nazarene is the current conference champion.
The other significant departure announcement this year is Auburn-Montgomery. They have applied to the Peach Belt Conference and Division II. The Warhawks were 32-24-1 last season.
Update on October 4: Auburn-Montgomery's application to the NCAA was turned down, because of a recruiting violation. They will have to re-apply later.