By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the second-straight season, Lee (Tenn.) claims the No. 1 ranking in the first regular-season edition of the 2013 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Flames, who are earning their fourth all-time top billing and first since March 27, 2012, were awarded six first-place votes and 546 points.
Lee enters the week winners in six of their last seven games en route to a 26-7 overall record. The Flames showcase one of the NAIA’s top pitching staffs, ranking amongst the top three in ERA (1.83), strikeouts (260) and opponent batting average (.192). Jose Samayoa leads the staff with a 6-1 record in 44 innings, while Myles Smith owns a team-best – 18th nationally – 50 strikeouts, including a season-high 11 K’s in his most recent outing on March 21 against Southern Poly (Ga.).
Coming in at No. 2 is fellow perennial power Oklahoma City with six first-place votes and 530 points. The Stars, who jumped two positions since the preseason poll, are 26-6 and have won six-straight. During the streak, Oklahoma City has outscored its opponent 46-4.
Cal State San Marcos, who was previously unranked, is No. 3 with six first-place votes and 467 points, while No. 4 Faulkner (Ala.) and No. 5 The Master’s (Calif.) round out the top five with 466 and 464 points, respectively. Similarly to Cal State San Marcos, The Master’s was not ranked in the preseason poll.
The poll’s two remaining first-place votes went to No. 7 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) and No. 10 Northwood (Texas).
In a poll that saw all 25 positions change hands, Faulkner, No. 11 Lubbock Christian (Texas) and No. 12 Bellevue (Neb.) boast the largest improvement as each team advanced five places since the Preseason Top 25. Conversely, Sterling (Kan.) fell the farthest within the poll, dropping eight places from No. 15 to No. 23.
In addition to Cal State San Marcos and The Master’s, eight newcomers joined the Top 25: Northwood, No. 15 Cumberland (Tenn.), No. 19 William Carey (Miss.), No. 20 York (Neb.), No. 21 Campbellsville (Ky.), No. 22 Science & Arts (Okla.), No. 24 Bacone (Okla.) and No. 25 Lyon (Ark.). Lyon ends the longest drought amongst the newcomers with its last mention coming on March 28, 2007.
The following schools dropped out since the preseason poll: Madonna (Mich.) (No. 23), Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) (No. 12), LSU Shreveport (La.) (No. 2), Georgetown (Ky.) (No. 20), St. Francis (Ill.) (No. 19), Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) (No. 18), Doane (Neb.) (No. 23), Judson (Ill.) (No. 25), Point Park (Pa.) (No. 6) and South Carolina Beaufort (No. 21).
Thirteen of the 21 baseball conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by five squads from the Sooner Athletic Conference – Oklahoma City, No. 6 Rogers State (Okla.), Lubbock Christian, No. 14 Oklahoma Baptist and Science & Arts. The Southern State Athletic Conference is second with three teams, including two in the top five – Lee and Faulkner.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups. The second regular-season Top 25 will be announced on April 2.
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Notes (All information dates back to 2000 season): Lee earned the No. 1 ranking for the fourth time in school history … the Flames also were picked No. 1 in the first regular-season edition of the 2012 Top 25 … Lee has now been ranked in 64-consecutive polls … The last time the Flames went unranked was March 22, 2006 … Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) leads all teams with 53 all-time No. 1 mentions, followed by Oklahoma City (28), Lubbock Christian (Texas) (13), Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (11), LSU Shreveport (La.) (6) and Cumberland (Tenn.)/Lee (4) … Oklahoma City last went unranked in the 2009 preseason poll, but has been rated no lower than seventh since … No. 3 Cal State San Marcos and No. 5 The Master’s (Calif.) are ranked in the top five for the first time … Newcomers Cal State San Marcos, The Master’s, Northwood (Texas), Cumberland, York (Neb.) and Campbellsville (Ky.) were all ranked at least once last season … No. 25 Lyon (Ark.) is receiving its first Top 25 mention since March 28, 2007 … 35 clubs have been ranked in two polls this season.2013 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 1 (March 26)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||3||Lee (Tenn.) (6)||26-7||546|
|2||4||Oklahoma City (6)||26-6||530|
|3||NR||Cal State San Marcos (6)||21-2||467|
|5||NR||The Master’s (Calif.)||26-9||464|
|6||5||Rogers State (Okla.)||20-6||449|
|7||8||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) (1)||24-7||443|
|10||NR||Northwood (Texas) (1)||25-6||424|
|11||16||Lubbock Christian (Texas)||24-7||375|
|16||13||St. Thomas (Fla.)||27-9||263|
|19||NR||William Carey (Miss.)||22-10||222|
|22||NR||Science & Arts (Okla.)||27-5||193|
Others receiving votes: Madonna (Mich.) 89; Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 86; Belhaven (Miss.) 69; Texas Wesleyan 66; LSU Shreveport (La.) 39; Georgetown (Ky.) 30; Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) 24; Davenport (Mich.) 15; Webber International (Fla.) 14; Avila (Mo.) 12; St. Francis (Ill.) 11; Indiana Tech 8; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 8; Mayville State (N.D.) 6; LSU Alexandria (La.) 4; Virginia Intermont 3.