Game accounts (143)
Los Sultanes (Sultans) lead the Northern Division of the Mexican League with an 11-3 record, and they won two of three in at series at Oaxaca March 30-April 1. They got a convincing 12-3 win in the first game of the series. In the second game, the Guerreros got two runs in the bottom of the ninth, on a home run by Barbaro Canizares and an RBI single by Erick Rodriguez, to win it 9-8.
RHP Sergio Valenzuela got the start for the Guerreros, and he was lucky to get out of the first inning. The first two batters of the game, CF Sergio Perez and 2B Maxwell Leon, got base hits, then RF Karim Garcia hit a three-run home run. The Guerreros needed a double play and a baserunner caught between third and home to get end the first inning. After this shaky start, Valenzuela settled down and allowed only two hits over the next five innings, and struck out six. He also pitched his way out of a jam in the fifth. The Sultanes loaded the bases with one out on a walk, a hit by Perez, and another walk. Valenzuela proceeded to strike out Garcia, then ended the inning by striking out Michel Abreu, who is batting .449.
The NAIA Coaches' poll for March 26, 2012, with Boyd Nation's Iterative Strength Rating (ISR):
First place votes: Lee 13, LSU-Shreveport 3, Oklahoma City 1, Azusa Pacific 3
Azusa Pacific is #1 in Strength of Schedule
Lee (17-1 SSAC) won two games against Freed-Hardeman 5-2 and 6-5, and swept three games against Brewton-Parker, 5-4, 2-0, and 15-3. DH Corey Davis hit a walk-off home run in the second game against Freed-Hardeman to give coach Mark Brew his 300th win. 1B Roberto Reyes went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the first game against Brewton-Parker, and 2-for-6 with a grand slam home run in the third game. Patrick Merkling and Jose Samayoa combined for a two-hit shutout in the second game. Merkling is 7-0, 0.83 ERA (third-best in the NAIA), with 62 strikeouts. The Flames visit Southern Wesleyan March 30-31. The Flames lead the Southern States Athletic Conference; Faulkner is second with a 15-3 record.
The Guerreros (Warriors) de Oaxaca of the Mexican League won their season opener against the Pericos (Parakeets) de Puebla before 6,253 fans at Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos in Oaxaca City.
Fans of AAA ball in the US would be right at home in Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos, except for the Field Turf. Beer (Corona and Victoria) costs $1.60, and they even have vendors selling Domino's Pizza. (I had a “hamburguesa”, which came with cheese and avocado; it was pretty good.) There's the usual video screen in center field, and the washrooms are clean.
The dimensions are 410' in center field, and 350' down the left and right field lines. Don't think for a minute, however, that this is a pitchers' ballpark. A minute is about how long it took for the first batter of the game, DH Serafin Rodriguez of Los Pericos, to hit one of the longest home runs I've ever seen over the left-field billboards. Oaxaca City is 5,102' above sea level, and very dry, so think Denver.
Oklahoma City (19-4, 10-1 SAC) defeated Southern Nazarene 12-11, and swept three games against Mid-America Christian, 15-5, 8-1, and 11-0. 2B Brian Fisher went 3-for-5 with a home run, five RBI, and two runs scored against Southern Nazarene. CC/RF Dane Phillips hit a three-run home run in the first game against Mid-America Christian. Cody Crabaugh got the win in the second game, allowed two hits in five innings. Davis Henderson, Will Patrigo, and Allen Townsend combined for the shutout in the third game; Henderson recorded ten strikeouts. The Stars host Bethany March 12, Southern Nazarene March 13, and Briar Cliff March 17-18.
Concordia-Irvine (15-6, 7-1 GSAC) won two of three in a non-conference series against Cal State-San Marcos, losing 7-3 and winning 8-7 (10 innings) and 6-5. James Dykstra went the distance for the Cougars in the first game, allowed three runs on six hits, struck out seven. LF Kyle Konicek hit an RBI single for the winning run in the second game. CF John Doering laid down a bunt to score 2B Chris Limus for the winning run in the third game. The Eagles visit Point Loma Nazarene March 16, host Point Loma Nazarene March 17, and host Sioux Falls 18 and 21. The Eagles are tied with Azusa Pacific for the lead in the Golden State Athletic Conference.
Oklahoma City (15-4, 6-1 SAC) defeated Oklahoma Wesleyan 12-4, and swept Northwestern Oklahoma State, 10-5, 3-0, and 10-2. 2B Brian Fisher went 2-for-2 with a home run and three RBI against Oklahoma Wesleyan. C Chad Carman hit a solo home run for the winning run in the first game against Northwestern Oklahoma State. Rich Hawkins pitched the shutout in the second game, allowed four hits. C/RF Dane Phillips hit a three-run home run in the third game, and got another RBI on a ground out. The Stars visit Southern Nazarene March 6, host Mid-America Christian March 8 and 10, and visit Mid-America Christian March 9.
Concordia-Irvine (13-5, 7-1 GSAC) swept four games against Vanguard, 9-7 , 20-6, 10-9, and 14-4. Pinch-hitter Matt Taylor hit a two RBI double in the top of the ninth to win the first game. 1B Tony Harkey, Jr. hit two home runs and went 3-for-4 with three RBI and four runs scored in the second game. LF Kyle Konicek when 4-for-5 with a double and two RBI in the third game, and 3B Ryan DiMascio went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI in the fourth game. The Eagles visit non-conference Cal State-San Marcos March 9, and visit Cal State-San Marcos March 10. The Eagles lead the Golden State Athletic Conference; The Master's is second with a 6-2 record.
Lee (21-2, 9-0 SSAC) swept Milligan 10-1 and 13-0. SS Edmanuel Rivera and 1B Roberto Reyes hit home runs in the first game. Dustin Lawson, Kyle Briner, and Joe Fabre combined for a two-hit shutout in the second game. The Flames then swept three games against Truett McConnell, 8-1, 3-2, and 14-4. Kris Hall went seven innings in the first game, allowed one run on three hits, struck out 12. The Flames were out-hit 5-4 in the second game, but 2B Blake Barber singled in a run in the bottom of the seventh to win it. LF Mike Moore went 3-for-4 with a home run in the third game. The Flames visit Bryan March 7 and Tennessee Temple March 8, then host Loyola-New Orleans March 9-10. Barber is batting .507 for the Flames.
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.