#1 Georgia Gwinnett swept through the Association of Independent Institutions tournament, defeating Fisher 13-3, Mount Mercy 9-1, and Clarke 6-3 and 14-1. In the first game against Clarke, CF Josh Merrigan hit an RBI single for the winning run. RHP Nikolay Uherek got the win, pitched seven innings, allowed two earned runs on nine hits, struck out six. Story
Zac Rinehart is second in the NAIA in hitting with a .476 average. The Grizzlies are hosting an Opening Round bracket May 17-20. video
#2 Bellevue won the North Star Athletic Association tournament. They hit eight home runs in the final against Mayville State, and won 14-1. LF Joe Moran hit two of the home runs. RHP Ben McKendall had a shutout going into the eighth inning before giving up a home run by LF Aaron Miller. The Comets had to play an "if necessary" game to get to the final, and ran out of pitchers in the seventh inning, when the Bruins scored ten runs. Story None of the games the Bruins played in the tournament were close. RHP Todd Nicks and RHP John Timmins combined for an 11-0 shutout over Waldorf; Nicks struck out 14. Story
McKendall is now 11-1, 1.53 ERA (ninth-best in the NAIA), with 111 strikeouts (tied for sixth-best in the NAIA). The Bruins now wait to learn their Opening Round location.
#3 Lewis-Clark State won the NAIA West tournament, without giving up a single run. The defending champions defeated Corban 7-0, British Columbia 3-0, and C. of Idaho 5-0. RHP Kevin Hamann, RHP Noel Gonzalez (in relief), and RHP Connor Brogdon got the wins; Hamann went the distance. The game against British Columbia was probably the best of the three. It was scoreless until the eight inning, and a good pitching duel between RHP Curtis Taylor of the Thunderbirds (6 IP, 4 hits, 10 strikeouts, no walks) and RHP Quin Grogan of the Warriors (7 2/3 IP, 3 hits, seven strikeouts, three walks). The Warriors got the only run they needed on an RBI double by CF Logan Griffin, off reliever RHP Christian Botnick. LF Jacob Zanon completed the scoring with a solo home run. Story 1B Tyler McDowell went 4-for-4 with two triples and a stolen base in the game against C. of Idaho. Story
The Warriors are idle until the Baseball National Championship tournament May 27-June 3. Both the Thunderbirds (ISR #9, #1 in strength of schedule) and C. of Idaho (ISR #12) will be playing in the Opening Round.
In every conference listed here (except the the Southern States Athletic Conference, which had a winner-take-all final), the title was decided by an “if necessary” game. ISR's mentioned here are as of May 6.
Cal State San Marcos (ISR #13) won the Association of Independent Institutions championship for the third time in five years. They lost the first “final” to #1 Georgia Gwinnett 2-1. The Grizzlies out-hit the Cougars 11-5, and SS Ernesto Vasquez hit an RBI single for the winning run. CSUSM won the deciding game 11-5. The Cougars got five runs in the first inning, and added four more in the second. LF Clinton Perez hit an RBI single for the winning run. Emilio Esquibel got his second win of the tournament, and ran his record to 12-1, 2.43 ERA. Story Georgia Gwinnett will host an Opening Round bracket.
#2 Oklahoma City won the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament, defeating #3 Oklahoma Baptist twice, 9-6 and 7-5. The Stars trailed in the late innings of both games. They scored four runs in the eighth inning of the first one. In the second one, C Connor Lynch hit a grand slam home run in the bottom of the ninth. Story Both Oklahoma City and Oklahoma Baptist are hosting Opening Round brackets.