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First place votes: Oklahoma Baptist 19, Faulkner 1, Lewis-Clark State 1
#1 Oklahoma Baptist swept Saint Gregory's, 18-11, 12-4, and 16-5. The first game was closer than the score indicates; both teams had twelve hits, and the Bison didn't put it away until they scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning. CF Joey Szczepanski went 4-for-6 with a three-run home run, five RBI, and four runs scored. 1B Steven Knudson hit two home runs in the second game, batted in three runs. Julian Merryweather got the win, went eight innings, allowed four runs on ten hits. Knudson got another home run in the third game, went 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. Jinny Parra got the win, allowed four runs on six hits, struck out seven. Parra's record is 6-1, 1.99 ERA.
The Bison then defeated now-Division II Rogers State 3-2 in twelve innings. Szczepanski hit an RBI double for the winning run in the 12th. Frankie Wright, who allowed one hit over the last two innings, got the win. Szczepanski had another double, was 3-for-6 for the game.
Merryweather is 9-2, 1.39 ERA, 91 K. The Bison have won 15 straight, and they won the Sooner Athletic Conference pennant. They are co-hosting the SAC tournament May 2-5. Live video The Bison play Mid-America Christian in the first round. #16 Oklahoma City plays Southwestern Assemblies of God.
#2 Lewis-Clark State dropped their first game against Division II Northwest Nazarene 11-10, then won the remaining three games 12-5, 9-0, and 1-0. The Warriors were charged with four errors in the first game. The Crusaders got the winning run on a sacrifice fly by CF Josh Hatfield in the eighth inning; Hatfield had three RBI's for the game. Aaron Vaughn got the win for the Crusaders, despite giving up eight earned runs on 14 hits over eight innings. The Warriors didn't over the second game until the seventh inning, when they scored four runs, two of them on a single by RF Cody Lavalli. CF Ryan Sells went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI. Ty Jackson and Nick Lemoncelli combined for the shutout in the third game. They allowed two hits apiece, and Lemoncelli struck out five in three innings of work. Lavalli, 1B Jacob Cano, and LF Zach Holley hit home runs. The only run of the fourth game came from an RBI double by DH Jake Shirley in the top of the ninth. The Crusaders loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but David Murillo got a strikeout to end the game. Shirley was 4-for-5 for the game. J.T. Kaul, Beau Kerns, Joe Mello, and Murillo combined for the shutout; Mello got the win.
The Warriors finished the weekend with a 2-1 win in a non-conference game at nearby C. of Idaho. The Warriors' only runs came from a two-run home run by Jackson, playing first base in this one. Cody Chartrand got the win, went five innings, allowed a run on five hits. Gunnar Swanson and Michael Noteware held the Coyotes hitless the rest of the way.
Lavalli has 13 home runs, which ties him with seven other players, including Knudson of Oklahoma Baptist and Ruiz of Oklahoma Wesleyan, for second-best in the NAIA. (Forrest Smith of Oklahoma City leads the NAIA with 16.) The Warriors visit Division II Western Oregon May 2 and 4, and visit Linfield, ranked #1 in Division III, May 3.
The NAIA Coaches' Poll for April 22, 2014, with Boyd Nation's ISR ranking.
First place votes: Oklahoma Baptist 18, Faulkner 2, Lewis-Clark State 1
#1 Oklahoma Baptist swept Southwestern Assemblies of God, 17-0, 6-2, and 14-0. Jordan Morales, Tallen Parker, and Jeff Gunter combined for the shutout in the first game. Morales got the win (he is 10-0, 1.96 ERA for the season), pitched five innings, allowed three hits, struck out six. Jinny Parra got the win in the second game. RHP Julian Merryweather and Andrew Millner got the mercy-rule-shortened shutout in the third game. Merryweather pitched six innings, allowed two hits, struck out six. 3B Garrett Roberts went 3-for-3 with an RBI and three runs scored.
The Bison have won ten straight, and lead the Sooner Athletic Conference by 2½ games over #14 Oklahoma City and Wayland Baptist. The Bison visit Saint Gregory's April 24 and 26, end their home season against Saint Gregory's April 25 ( Live video), and end their regular season against now-Division II Rogers State April 29 in Tulsa.
#2 Faulkner completed their season sweep of #6 Georgia Gwinnett, winning the third game of the season 5-4. The defending champions led 3-0 after four innings, and 5-1 after seven, but the Grizzles scored three runs in the top of the ninth to make it interesting. The Grizzlies had the tying run on third, but Kurt Lipscomb got a strikeout to end it. Jay Gause got the win, pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowed a run on four hits, struck out 11. SS Dauris Holguin went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
The Eagles won two of three at Southern Wesleyan, 5-3, 8-1, and 6-7. In the first game, each team scored three runs in the first inning, but Jeremy Holcombe and Patrick McGrady held the Warriors off the board the rest of the way. RF Michael Cruz scored the winning run on a ground out; he was 1-for-4 with three RBI for the game. Thomas Dorminy got the win in the second game, pitched five innings, allowed no runs on two hits. The Eagles led the third game 6-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, but the Warriors came up with six runs in the bottom of the ninth to win it. The comeback was led by a bases-loaded triple by CF Michael Hyman. Two hit batters and a walk tied it, and 1B Stephen Wyatt scored the winning run on a bunt single by SS J.J. Julian. Matt Craig Went the distance for the Warriors, recorded seven strikeouts.
Robert Llera is batting .442 for the Eagles. The Eagles lead the Southern States Athletic Conference by 1 1/2 games over #15 Southern Polytechnic, and two games over #10 Brewton-Parker. The Eagles host Martin Methodist April 24-25. Live video
#3 Lewis-Clark State won three of four against Corban (ISR #21), 0-5, 4-3 (13 innings), 5-2, and 12-4. Jacob Kopra pitched the shutout for Corban in the first game. He allowed five hits, struck out one, and walked three. He is 9-0, 1.44 ERA, 64 K, and this was his third shutout of the season. 1B Daniel Orr hit a sacrifice fly for the winning run in the first inning, went 4-for-4 with a double and two RBI for the game. Corban led the second game 3-1 after five innings, but were kept off the scoreboard the rest of the way by Gunnar Swanson (4 1/3 IP, 4 hits, 8 K) and David Murillo (3 2/3 IP, 3 hits, 7 K); Murillo got the win. Two of his strikeouts came after he entered the game with one out in the top of the tenth, and runners at second and third. L-C State tied it with two runs in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single by C Jake Shirley and a sacrifice fly by CF Ryan Sells. Sells scored the winning run on a wild pitch. Corban won a 15-inning game against British Columbia the previous weekend. Story Corban out-hit L-C State in the third game 8-7, but three of L-C State's hits were two home runs and a triple by RF Cody Lavalli; he batted in two runs, and scored two more. Beau Kerns got the win in relief, pitched four innings, allowed no runs on two hits. Sells went 2-for-3 in the fourth game with a home run, three RBI, and three runs scored.
Lavalli has 11 home runs, which ties him with four other players for fifth-best in the NAIA. (Forrest Smith of Oklahoma City leads the NAIA with 15.) L-C State visits Division II Northwest Nazarene April 24-26, and plays a non-league game at nearby C. of Idaho (ISR #23) April 27. Corban finished in a three-way tie for third place with C. of Idaho and Concordia-Portland in NAIA West; the NAIA West tournament will be in Vancouver May 2-5.
The NAIA Coaches' Poll for April 8, 2014, with Boyd Nation's ISR ranking. Locations for the Opening Round tournaments appear at the end of this article.
First place votes: Oklahoma Baptist 12, Lewis-Clark State 5, Faulkner 2, Georgia Gwinnett 1
#1 Oklahoma Baptist defeated Division II East Central 23-4, and swept Mid America Christian, 15-2, 15-1, and 11-0. All four games were mercy-ruled. Move along, folks, nothing to see here.
Matt Page has batted in 57 runs for the Bison, and Page and Steven Knudson have hit nine home runs apiece. The Bison now lead the Sooner Athletic Conference by ½ game over #10 Oklahoma City. The Bison visit Southwestern Assemblies of God April 17-18.
#2 Lewis-Clark State swept Simpson, 14-0, 9-4, 15-6, and 13-1. Not much to see here, either; Simpson is 1-39, and the first and fourth games were mercy-ruled. Michael Noteware and J.T. Kaul combined for the shutout in the first game. The second game was tied 3-3 after seven innings, but the Warriors pulled away with four runs in the eighth inning. An RBI double by pinch-hitter Chris Walker brought in the winning run. Carsen Nylund got the win.
Noteware's record is 5-0, 0.88 ERA, 53 K. The Warriors have have won 14 straight, and have clinched the NAIA West pennant. (They don't compete in the NAIA West tournament.) The Warriors concluded their home season against a good Corban team (ISR #19) April 18-19.
The NAIA Coaches' Poll for April 1, 2014, with Boyd Nation's ISR ranking.
#1 Oklahoma Baptist won two of three at Texas Wesleyan, 3-4, 13-1, and 13-0. The Rams took advantage of five Bison errors to score three unearned runs in the first game. Sam Martin went the seven-inning distance for the Rams, allowed six hits, walked four. Martin is 6-1, 2.17 ERA. C Garrett Gallacher went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a double in the second game. He is batting .444 for the Bison. Jordan Morales got the win, went five innings, allowed three hits, struck out five. He is 8-0, 2.03 ERA. Kelvin Rivas and Andrew Milner combined for a mercy-rule-shortened no-hitter in the third game. Rivas pitched the first five innings, struck out four and walked two. Milner retired all six batters that he faced, struck out four of them. RF Tyler Melton went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI.
Wayland Baptist continues to lead the Sooner Athletic Conference. The Bison are 1 ½ games behind, and #12 Oklahoma City is two games behind. The Bison visit Division II East Central April 9, host Mid America Christian April 10 and 12, and visit Mid America Christian April 11.
#2 Lewis-Clark State swept Concordia-Portland (ISR #21), 7-4, 6-0, 8-7 (10 innings), and 14-6. The Warriors got away with five errors in the first game; only one of the Cavaliers' runs was earned. The game was tied 3-3 after three innings, but Steve Thompson held the Cavaliers to two hits in a five-inning relief appearance, got the win. CF Ryan Sells hit an RBI single for the winning run. Michael Noteware pitched eight shutout innings in the second game, scattered seven hits, struck out seven. Noteware is 4-0, 0.99 ERA, 48 K. The Warriors trailed the third game 6-0 after 2 ½ innings, but tied it with six runs in the bottom of the third. RF Cody Lavalli hit the second pitch of the tenth inning over the left field fence to win it. The fourth game was tied 4-4 at the seventh-inning stretch, but LF Tariq Staton hit a grand slam home run in the bottom of the seventh to break it open.
The Warriors have opened up a three-game lead over British Columbia (ISR #2) in NAIA West. The Warriors visit Simpson April 12-13.