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Wednesday, 23 May 2012 22:57

National Championship preview

Written by Administrator

Schedule for the first two days of the 56th NAIA Baseball National Championship, Friday, May 25, Harris Field, Lewiston, ID (all times PDT):

9 AM: #7 seed Point Park (51-9) vs. #10 College of Idaho (41-19)

Point Park (Pittsburgh) is making their first appearance at the Baseball National Championship since 1998.
Nickname: Pioneers
Rankings: #12 in coaches' poll, #17 in ISR. Strength of schedule: #160
Significant wins: Campbellsville
Top position players: OF Tom Pasinski (.351), IF Tom Birko (.343)
Top pitchers: RHP Derek Peluso (9-1, 2.23 ERA, 73 K), RHP Manny Perdomo (7-0, 1.47 ERA), LHP Nathan Spohn (8-0, 2.29 ERA), RHP Sean Clark (7-0, 2.55 ERA)
Coach: Loren Torres, third season
Outlook: The Pioneers are happy to be here.

College of Idaho (Caldwell, ID) is making their first trip to the Baseball National Championship since 2002. They won the championship in 1998.
Nickname: Coyotes
Rankings: Unranked in coaches' poll, #28 in ISR. SoS: #31
Significant wins: 1-1 vs. Azusa Pacific, 3-1 vs. British Columbia, 2-3 vs. Lewis-Clark State
Top position players: LF Izaac Garsez (.396, 8 home runs, 52 RBI), Jarel Lewis (.374, 6 home runs, 56 RBI), Tanner Hodges (.373, 66 RBI), 3B/RHP Todd Griffiths (.258), DH Jesse Dodd (.369).
Top pitchers: RHP Taylor Nicholson (9-2, 2.47 ERA, 63 K), LHP Zachary Fabricius (5-4, 4.04 ERA, 39 K), RHP Chad Yeggy (8-3, 3.71 ERA), LHP Joshua Orr (7-4, 4.09 ERA), RHP Todd Griffiths (4-1, 2.58 ERA).
Coach: Shawn Humberger, 12th season
Outlook: The Coyotes played well all season in a good conference, and got a win at Azusa Pacific to get here. They should get a couple of wins in this tournament.

Noon: #8 South Carolina-Beaufort (40-17) vs. #9 Rogers State (45-14)

South Carolina-Beaufort is making their first trip to Lewiston, in the fourth year of their program..
Nickname: Sand Sharks
Rankings:
#15 in coaches' poll, #14 in ISR. Strength of schedule: #29
Significant wins:
Faulkner, 3-3 vs. Saint Thomas, 2-2 vs. Embry-Riddle
Top position players:
OF Ty Main (.317, 5 HR), C Dylan Nasiatka (.335), OF Conald Mansfield (.311)
Top Pitchers:
LHP Michael Heesh (9-2, 2.13 ERA, 108 K), RHP Miles Galvin (6-0, 3.66 ERA), LHP Adam Miller (9-5, 3.12 ERA)
Coach:
Bryan Lewallin, first season
Outlook:
The Sand Sharks are happy to be here.

Rogers State (Claremore, OK) is making their first trip to Lewiston.
Nickname: Hillcats
Rankings:
#23 in coaches' poll, #15 in ISR. Strength of schedule: #40
Significant wins:
2-0 vs. Tabor
Top position players:
OF Eric Baker (.391), 2B Hector Rivera (.365), 1B/OF Colton Campbell (.362, 7 HR, 54 RBI)
Top Pitchers:
LHP Shawn Spainhoward (9-2, 2.87 ERA), RHP Kyle Duncan (8-1, 3.28 ERA), LHP Brandon Bargas (6-3, 3.79 ERA, 90 K)
Coach:
Ron Bradley, ninth season
Outlook:
The Hillcats will get one win.

3 PM: #4 Tennessee Wesleyan (48-11) vs. #5 Embry-Riddle (43-16)

Tennessee Wesleyan (Athens, TN) is making their third straight appearance in Lewiston. They won the Appalachian Athletic Conference championship. They went two-and-out in last year's tournament.
Nickname: Bulldogs
Rankings: #6 in coaches' poll, #4 in ISR. SoS: #23
Significant wins: 2-0 vs. South Carolina-Beaufort, Indiana Tech
Top position players: IF Stephen Branca (.442, 16 HR, 65 RBI), IF Taylor Oldham (.361, 19 HR, 83 RBI), OF Drew Levi (.347, 10 HR, 55 RBI), 1B Jake Stone (.409, 68 RBI). Branca's batting average is fifth-best in the NAIA. Oldham is third in the NAIA in home runs; Branca is tied for eighth. Oldham leads the NAIA in RBI.
Top Pitchers: RHP Jeremy Fitzgerald (10-0, 3.75 ERA, 73 K), RHP Corey Rhoney (9-0, 2.50 ERA), LHP Josh Culler (9-2, 2.56 ERA)
Coach: Billy Berry, 7th season
Outlook: Wesleyan should win a game or two.

Embry-Riddle (Daytona Beach, FL) is making their eleventh appearance in Lewiston, and their ninth in the past ten years. They were 1-2 in last year's tournament.
Nickname: Eagles
Rankings: #8 in coaches' poll, #8 in ISR. SoS: #10
Significant wins: Tennessee Wesleyan, 1-1 vs. Lewis-Clark State, 2-2 vs. South Carolina-Beaufort, 2-0 vs. Auburn-Montgomery, 2-1 vs. Indiana Tech
Top position players: OF Frankie Arias (.351), IF Ben Kline (.345), OF Ian MacGeorge (.332, 60 RBI), IF Chris Page (.316, 53 RBI)
Top pitchers: LHP Kevin Maloney (9-0, 1.68 ERA), RHP Adam Palencu (8-2, 2.49 ERA, 73 K), LHP Daniel Eaton (7-5, 2.68 ERA, 84 K). Maloney's RBI is the tenth-best in the NAIA..
Coach: Randy Stegall, 5th season
Outlook: The Eagles should win a game or two.

7 PM: #3 Oklahoma City (47-10) vs. #6 Lewis-Clark State (41-12)

Oklahoma City is making their 14th appearance in this tournament. They won it in 2005. They were 1-2 in last year's tournament.
Nickname: Stars
Rankings: #3 in coaches' poll, #5 in ISR. SoS: #26
Significant wins: Missouri Baptist, 2-1 vs. Oklahoma Baptist, 2-1 vs. Rogers State
Top position players: IF Miguel Beltran (.395, 25 HR, 71 RBI), C Dane Phillips (.423, 14 HR, 66 RBI), IF Chris Mu├▒oz (.398), C Chad Carman (.391). Beltran leads the NAIA in home runs, and is sixth in RBI.
Top Pitchers: LHP Rich Hawkins (11-2, 1.96 ERA, 85 K), LHP Ryan Gibson (4-0, 1.00 ERA, 35 K), RHP Davis Henderson (7-0, 1.84 ERA), RHP Blake Schwartz (11-3, 3.55 ERA, 103 K), RHP Cody Crabaugh (10-2, 3.70 ERA, 58 K)
Coach: Denney Crabaugh, 22nd season
Outlook: The Stars come into this tournament with a phenomenal three straight shutouts. If any team can get in the way of LSU-Shreveport, it's this one.

Lewis-Clark State (Lewiston, ID) is the host team. They have won 16 national championships, most recently in 2008. They were 1-2 in 2009, 2010, and 2011. They won the NAIA West regular season pennant.
Nickname: Warriors
Rankings: #10 in coaches' poll, #10 in ISR. SoS: #24
Significant wins: 2-0 vs. Western Oregon, 3-2 vs. College of Idaho, 1-1 vs. Embry-Riddle, 6-0 vs. British Columbia.
Top position players: IF Alfonso Casillas (.372, 10 HR, 62 RBI), IF Trent Bridges (.396), C Braxton Miller (.314, 9 HR), OF Kyle Knigge (.357)
Top Pitchers: RHP Seth Haehl (2-0, 1.98 ERA), RHP Michael Noteware (9-2, 2.03 ERA), LHP Anthony Armanino (9-1, 2.10 ERA, 83 K), RHP Sal Arena (3-0, 3.58 ERA), RHP Austin Pentecost (6-3, 2.78 ERA)
Coach: Gary Picone, second season
Outlook: The Warriors shound win two games this time. This first-round game will get the crowd going.

3 PM Saturday: #2 Lee (54-9-1) vs. Point Park-C. Of Idaho winner

Lee (Cleveland, TN) is making their sixth straight trip to Lewiston under Head Coach Mark Brew. They finished third last year.were runners-up in 2008 and 2010. They won the Southern States Athletic Conference tournament.
Nickname: Flames
Rankings: #2 in coaches' poll, #3 in ISR. SoS: #8 (highest in tournament)
Significant wins: Faulkner, 2-1 vs. Tennessee Wesleyan, 2-1 vs. Missouri Baptist, 2-1 vs. Auburn-Montgomery
Top position players: IF Blake Barber (.416), 1B/C Corey Davis (.340), IF/OF Mike Moore (.326), 1B/3B Roberto Reyes (.311, 15 HR, 82 RBI). Reyes is third in the NAIA in RBI.
Top Pitchers: RHP Kris Hall (11-0, 1.52 ERA, 115 K), LHP Patrick Merkling (8-2, 2.15 ERA, 96 K), RHP Jose Samayoa (8-0, 2.36 ERA). Hall's RBI is the fifth-best in the NAIA, and he is seventh in strikeouts.
Coach: Mark Brew, 6th season. His record is a phenomenal 324-75-1.
Outlook: The Flames play well in this tournament every year. They had a lot of ninth-inning wins against a strong schedule. They should finish in the top four again.

6:30 PM Saturday: #1 LSU-Shreveport (51-4) vs. South Carolina-Beaufort-Rogers State winner

LSU-Shreveport is making their third trip to Lewiston. They won the Red River Athletic Conference championship. They were 2-2 in last year's tournament.
Nickname: Pilots
Rankings: #1 in coaches' poll, #2 in ISR (highest in tournament). SoS: #21
Significant wins: 2-0 vs. Lindsey Wilson
Top position players: Greg Friesen (.394, 12 HR, 60 RBI), Kade Billeaudeaux (.381), Stephen Hobbins (.393), Kyle Pearsen (.377, 13 HR, 64 RBI)
Top Pitchers: RHP Logan Norris (8-1, 3.36 ERA), RHP Jared Mortensen (11-1, 1.48 ERA, 125 K), Matt Lackie (11-0, 2.37 ERA, 104 K), Drew Middleton (6-0, 2.63 ERA). Mortensen's RBI is the fourth-best in the NAIA, and he is second in the NAIA in strikeouts.
Coach: Rocke Musgraves, 12th season
Outlook: The Pilots have defeated everything that's come their way. They are a clear favorite to win this championship.

Predicted order of finish

LSU-Shreveport
Oklahoma City
Lee
Lewis-Clark State
Tennessee Wesleyan
College of Idaho
Embry-Riddle
Rogers State
South Carolina-Beaufort
Point Park

If the top four seeds all win their first games, Monday's matchups will be LSU-Shreveport vs. Tennessee Wesleyan and Lee vs. Oklahoma City.

All games are webcast by KOZE Radio (audio and free) and nmnathletics.com (video and $39.95 for the series). Live stats are available for all games by clicking here.

Last modified on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 23:20
Administrator

Administrator

Bob Broughton started going to British Columbia home games in 2001, and was favorably impressed with the caliber of play. This led to annual trips to the NAIA Baseball National Championship in Lewiston, ID, a nine-hour drive from Vancouver. He retired in Guanajuato, Mexico in 2012.

Website: tbirdbaseball.net/

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