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Schedule for the first two days of the 65th NAIA Baseball National Championship, Friday-Saturday, May 27-June 3, Harris Field, Lewiston, ID (all times PDT):
Friday, 8:30 AM: #8 seed Georgia Gwinnett (45-14) vs. #9 MidAmerica Nazarene (39-16)
Georgia Gwinnett (Lawrenceville, GA) is making their fifth trip to Lewiston. They are the defending champions. They won the Continental Athletic Conference tournament. Twitter: @GGC_Baseball
Rankings:#10 in coaches' poll, #30 in Boyd Nation's Iterative Strength Rating. Strength of Schedule: #94 (lowest in tournament)
Quality wins: 3-1 vs. Northwestern Ohio, U. of the Cumberlands, 1-1 vs. Webber International
Top position players: IF Braxton Megular (.394, 50 RBI), 3B Jake Defries (.324, 47 RBI), C Austin Bates (.377, 44 RBI), OF Livingston Morris (.327, 18 HR, 65 RBI), OF Blaze O'Saben (.372, 31 RBI), DH J.D. Stubbs (.340, 55 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Kevin Kyle (6-0, 1.41 ERA, 64 K), LHP Tyler Clayton (5-1, 1.99 ERA, 66 K), RHP Rob Hamby (8-2, 2.75 ERA, 80 K), RHP Gavin Heltemes (7-1, 3.31 ERA, 84 K)
Coach: Jeremy Sheetinger, third season
Outlook: The Grizzlies won't be repeat champions.
MidAmerica Nazarene (Olathe, KS) is making their first appearance in the Baseball National Championship. They finished first on the South Division of the Heart of America Conference. Twitter: @mnusports
Rankings: Unranked in coaches' poll, #15 in ISR. SoS: #28
Quality wins: 4-3 vs. Central Methodist, Freed-Hardeman, 2-0 vs. Oklahoma City
Top position players: OF Josh Torrance (.379, 7 HR, 40 RBI), 1B/RHP Noah Castillo (.375, 7 HR, 46 RBI, and 7-1, 6.71 ERA, 63 K on the mound), SS Brycen Sherwood (.339, 11 HR, 40 RBI), C Joshuan Sandoval (.307, 15 HR, 50 RBI), 3B Dionathan Cornett (.321, 9 HR, 50 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Nathan Torres (1-0, 0.74 ERA, 43 K, 14 saves), RHP Zach Trevino (10-3, 3.88 ERA, 108 K), LHP Kristian Hurtado (7-3, 4.61 ERA, 61 K), RHP Eric Navarette (5-5, 5.42 ERA, 80 K)
Coach: Ryan Thompson, 16th season
Outlook: Happy to be here.
11:30 AM: #4 LSU-Shreveport (51-6) vs. #5 Bellevue (47-11)
Louisiana State-Shreveport is making their fifth trip to the Baseball National Championship. They went 1-2 in last year's tournament. They won the regular season championship of the Red River Athletic Conference. Twitter: @LSUS_Baseball
Rankings: #4 in coaches' poll, #8 in ISR. SoS: #83
Quality wins: Central Methodist, Science and Arts of Oklahoma
Top position players: OF Ryan Major (.455, 52 RBI), IF Julian Flores (.430, 12 HR, 57 RBI), IF/C Zyon Avery (.358, 11 HR, 69 RBI), OF/RHP Alibry Major (.336, 8 HR, 50 RBI), IF Austin McNicholas (.399, 48 RBI). Major's batting average is sixth-best in the NAIA.
Top Pitchers: RHP Bobby Vath (12-0, 2.33 ERA, 117 K), LHP Josh Fortenberry (1-0, 2.27 ERA, 38 K), RHP Kevin Miranda (12-1, 2.37 ERA, 140 K), RHP Brad White (8-0, 3.90 ERA, 32 K). Miranda has the second-most strikeouts in the NAIA (behind Johnson of Bellevue).
Coach: Brad Neffendorf, third season
Outlook: The Pilots should finish in the middle of the pack.
Bellevue (Bellevue, NE) is making their 15th appearance in the Baseball National Championship. The most recent appearance was in 2019, and they finished 2-2. They won the regular season and tournament championships of the North Star Athletic Conference. Twitter: @BUBruinBaseball
Rankings: #6 in coaches' poll, #11 in ISR. SoS: #66
Quality wins: 1-1 vs. Oklahoma City, 1-1 vs. Science and Arts of Oklahoma, 2-1 vs. Saint Thomas, 2-1 vs. Concordia-Nebraska
Top position players: OF Kanta Kobayashi (.449, 42 RBI), OF Conner Barnett (.406, 13 HR, 57 RBI), IF/C Brenton Davis (.387, 16 HR, 49 RBI), IF Alec Ackerman (.380, 18 HR, 71 RBI), OF Andrew Ishii (.353, 11 HR, 40 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Elijah Johnson (11-2, 2.05 ERA, 147 K), LHP Blake Crippen (11-3, 3.28 ERA, 62 K), RHP Alexandro Celiceo (7-1, 3.58 ERA, 72 K), RHP McGrane Pledger (10-3, 3.63 ERA, 75 K). Johnson has the most strikeouts in the NAIA.
Coach: Duane Monlux, 12th season
Outlook: The Bruins should finish in the middle of the pack. Like LSU-Shreveport, their players have put up impressive stats, and it will be interesting to see how they do against stiffer competition.
3 PM: #7 Faulkner (37-15) vs. #10 Webber International (41-20)
Faulkner (Montgomery, AL) is making their tenth trip to Lewiston (ninth consecutive). They went 2-2 in 2021, good for fourth place. They won the regular season championship of the Southern States Athletic Conference. Twitter: @FaulknerBSBL
Rankings: #15 in coaches' poll, #18 in ISR. SoS: #21
Quality wins: Tennessee Wesleyan, Georgia Gwinnett, 2-2 vs. William Carey
Top position players: 1B Justice Lucas (.342, 39 RBI), SS Shawn Ross (Fajada, Puerto Rico; (.339, 18 HR, 69 RBI), C/1B Alex Arauz (.303, 43 RBI), IF Juan Trinidad (Barceloneta, Puerto Rico; .326)
Top pitchers: RHP July Sosa (11-1, 1.69 ERA, 119 K), RHP J.C. Toro (Gurabo, Puerto Rico; 5-2, 3.52 ERA, 84 K), RHP Alexis Saldana (Panama City, Panama; 5-1, 4.61 ERA, 83 K)
Coach: Patrick McCarthy, twelfth season
Outlook: The Eagles got a bad break on the seeding, with a first round matchup against a team that has beaten them three times.
Webber International (Babson Park, FL) is making their first appearance in the Baseball National Championship. Twitter: @WebberAthletics
Rankings: #24 in coaches' poll, #13 in ISR. SoS: #4
Quality wins: 3-0 vs. Faulkner, 1-1 vs. Georgia Gwinnett, 4-2 vs. Saint Thomas
Top position players: OF Kenny Rodriguez (.372, 16 HR, 72 RBI), IF Tyren Milliner (.335, 44 RBI), IF Angel Diaz (.295, 48 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Dawson Young (4-4, 2.77 ERA, 69 K), LHP Dylan Martin (11-3, 3.73 ERA, 101 K), RHP Xavier Rodriguez (7-3, 3.97 ERA, 101 K)
Coach: Collin Martin, 3rd season
Outlook: Whoever wins this first game will be in tough against Tennessee Wesleyan.
7 PM: #6 Westmont (45-11) vs. #3 Lewis-Clark State (53-5)
Westmont (Santa Barbara, CA) is making their first appearance in the Baseball National Championship. They are the champions of the Golden State Athletic Conference. They will be moving to NCAA Division II in 2023-24. Twitter: @WestmontSports
Rankings: #9 in coaches' poll, #6 in ISR. SoS: #7
Quality wins: 2-0 vs. Antelope Valley
Top position players: C Simon Reid (.291, 12 HR, 56 RBI), IF Josh Rego (.380, 9 HR, 60 RBI), IF Brady Renck (.330, 14 HR, 49 RBI), OF Thomas Rudinsky (.299, 11 HR, 57 RBI)
Top pitchers: RHP Bryan Peck (7-3, .310 ERA, 66 K), RHP Eric Osegura (10-2, 2.59 ERA, 38 K), RHP Carlos Moreno (1-0, .270 ERA, 30 K, 6 saves), RHP Bradley Heacock (8-2, 3.51 ERA, 56 K), RHP Chad Stoner (5-1, 4.20 ERA, 64 K)
Coach: Robert Ruiz, 14th season
Outlook: Westmont has fielded competitive teams in a strong conference for many years. They have excellent facilities. They could do some damage here.
Lewis-Clark State (Lewiston, ID) has won 19 national championships; the last one was in 2017. They finished 3-2 in 2021, good for third place. They had an automatic bid to the tournament for many years, and this is the first time since 1999 that they had to qualify. They won the regular season and tournament championships of the Cascade Collegiate Conference. Twitter: @LCWarriors
Rankings: #5 in coaches' poll, #2 in ISR. SoS: #3 (highest in tournament)
Quality wins: Westmont, Vanguard, 2-0 vs. Hope International, Doane, 8-1 vs. British Columbia
Top position players: OF Sam Linscott (.396, 9 HR, 64 RBI), C Justin Mazzone (.359, 44 RBI), 1B Luke White (.343, 19 HR, 73 RBI), OF Aidan Nagle (.340, 15 HR, 70 RBI), IF Riley Way (.349, 8 HR, 52 RBI), OF Nick Seamons (.301, 11 HR, 37 RBI)
Top Pitchers: RHP Trent Sellers (12-0, 2.00 ERA, 125 K), RHP Eric Chavarria (8-1, 4.01 ERA, 70 K), LHP Dawson Day (10-0, 2.21 ERA, 92 K)
Coach: Jake Taylor, fourth season
Outlook: This edition of the Warriors is better than the one that won three games in last year's tournament. However, the Opening Round exposed a weakness; they gave up 26 runs in four games. So, they're good, but probably not as good as Southeastern.
Saturday, 3 PM: #1 Southeastern (54-3) vs. Georgia Gwinnett-MidAmerica Nazarene winner
Southeastern (Lakeland, FL) is making their fourth straight appearance at the Baseball National Championship. They won the championship in 2018. They were 1-2 in the 2021 tournament. They won the regular season and tournament championships of The Sun Conference. Twitter: @SEUFireBaseball
Southeastern wins the United Nations Award; five Puerto Ricans, two Dominican Republicans, two Canadians, and a Venezuelan.
Rankings: #1 in coaches' poll, #1 in ISR. SoS: #5
Quality wins: 3-0 vs. Webber International, 4-0 vs. Saint Thomas, Northwestern Ohio
Top position players: IF Brian Fuentes (Caracas, Venezuela; .421, 20 HR, 82 RBI), SS Sam Faith (.403, 5 HR, 34 RBI), UTL Abdel Guadalupe (Fajardo, Puerto Rico; .395, 18 HR, 56 HR), C/1B Gary Lora (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; .390, 18 HR, 62 RBI), IF Isaac Nunez (.395, 9 HR, 64 RBI), C Luis Cabrera (.351, 11 HR, 53 RBI)
Top pitchers: LHP Alex Munroe (5-0, 1.36 ERA, 49 K), LHP Robb Adams (14-1, 1.58 ERA, 119 K), RHP Drew Gillespie (10-0, 3.32 ERA, 103 K), RHP Logan Walters (7-0, 4.71 ERA, 59 K). Adams has the most wins in the NAIA, and the fourth-lowest ERA.
Coach: Adrian Dinkel, fifth season
Outlook: The Fire are the team to beat.
6:30 PM: #2 Tennessee Wesleyan (54-6) vs. Faulkner-Webber International winner
Tennessee Wesleyan (Athens) is making their sixth appearance in the Baseball National Championship. They won the championship in their last appearance, in 2019. They also won the championship in 2012. They won the regular season and tournament championships of the Appalachian Athletic Conference. Twitter: @twbulldogs
Rankings: #2 in coaches' poll, #3 in ISR. SoS: #12
Quality wins: 3-0 vs. Georgia Gwinnett, 4-1 vs. U. of the Cumberlands, 2-0 vs. Freed-Hardeman
Top position players: IF Livan Reinoso (.422, 30 HR, 93 RBI), C Braxton Turner (.400, 7 HR, 44 RBI), OF Zach Hogueisson (.371, 14 HR, 63 RBI), IF Parker Stinnett (.359, 10 HR, 58 RBI), OF Carson Ford (.239, 13 HR, 47 RBI). Reinoso is tied for most home runs in the NAIA, and is second in RBI.
Top pitchers: LHP Kobe Foster (13-0, 1.13 ERA, 132 K), LHP Robert Gonzalez (9-3, 3.35 ERA, 87 K), RHP Chris Koeiman (7-2, 3.13 ERA, 58 K), RHP Liam Doolan (5-0, 1.86 ERA, 67 RBI), RHP Kyle Bloor (9-0, 5.13 ERA, 66 K). Foster has the second-lowest ERA in the NAIA, and he has the second-most wins (behind Adams of Southeastern).
Coach: Billy Berry, 15th season
Outlook: The Bulldogs should finish in the top three.
Predicted order of finish:
If the top four seeds all win their first games, Monday's matchups will be Southeastern vs. LSU-Shreveport and Tennessee Wesleyan vs. Lewis-Clark State. (Big Memorial Day gate, if L-C State gets this far.) Tournament bracket Schedule and Results News Releases
In a long-standing Lewiston tradition, all games are audio webcast by KOZE Radio, free of charge. Video webcasts for the first 15 games of the tournament are by Stretch Internet. It's $14.95 per day, or $34.95 for all 19 games. Live stats are available for all games by clicking here. The semifinal and final games will also be streamed live by ESPN 3.