By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the second-consecutive week, Oklahoma City claims the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, announced Tuesday by the NAIA national office. The ranking is the 30th since 2000 for the Stars, who pulled in 19-of-20 first-place votes and 560 total points in the fifth regular season edition.
Oklahoma City took three-of-four at Wayland Baptist (Texas) last weekend to enter the week as one-of-three teams in the NAIA with 40-or-more wins. Prior to its game-three loss at Wayland Baptist April 20, the Stars had won six-straight. Oklahoma City, who ranks amongst the top 10 nationally in nine different offensive categories, holds a four-game advantage in the Sooner Athletic Conference standings with four to play. The Stars travel to No. 23 Rogers State (Okla.) for a four-game set April 25 and 27.
Moving up two spots, No. 2 Faulkner (Ala.) joins Oklahoma City in the 40-win club with a 40-10 record after winning both ends of a doubleheader at Union (Ky.) April 20. The Eagles are making their fifth-straight top-5 appearance and have now been ranked in 28-straight Top 25 Polls. Faulkner, who garnered 535 points in the fifth edition, has outscored its opponent 69-25 in its last eight games.
No. 3 Northwood (Texas) holds on for the second-consecutive week with the final first-place vote and 524 points. The Knights took two-of-three at Jarvis Christian (Texas) last weekend en route to a 37-9 record and the No. 1 seed in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Tournament. Northwood opens postseason play Saturday against sixth-seed Texas College at 3 p.m.
In contrast to Faulkner, Lee (Tenn.) falls two positions to No. 4 with 507 points. The Flames’ pitching staff continues to dominate opposing batters, ranking first nationally in opponent batting average (.204) and earned run average (1.89).
Lubbock Christian (Texas) regained the No. 5 ranking after a one-week hiatus at No. 6 with 486 points. The Chaparrals swept a four-game series against then-No. 15 Rogers State April 19 – 20. Lubbock Christian’s offense clicked in the series, outscoring the Hillcats, 26-9, on 43 hits.
Three squads made at least a four-spot jump within the poll: No. 15 Oklahoma Baptist, No. 16 Missouri Baptist and No. 17 Texas Wesleyan. Texas Wesleyan’s eight-position vault highlighted the trio. The Rams are the No. 3 seed in the RRAC Tournament and will play fourth seed LSU Shreveport (La.) at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
No. 19 Georgetown (Ky.), No. 24 Madonna (Mich.) and No. 25 Point Park (Pa.) find themselves ranked for the second time this year, with the previous coming during the Preseason Top 25 (Nov. 13, 2012). No. 21 Belhaven (Miss.) is the poll’s other newcomer. The Blazers were last ranked on April 3, 2012.
Bacone (Okla.) (No. 24), William Carey (No. 18), Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) (No. 17) and St. Thomas (Fla.) (No. 23) dropped out of the Top 25 this week.
Fourteen of the 21 baseball conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by four squads from the Sooner Athletic Conference. The Southern States Athletic Conference and Mid-South Conference are tied for second with three teams each.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups. The sixth regular-season Top 25 will be announced on April 30.
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Notes (All information dates back to 2000 season): Oklahoma City is making its 30th appearance at No. 1 … Oklahoma City has been rated within the top 10 in every poll since last going unranked on Nov. 8, 2008 (2009 preseason poll), a span of 40-straight …The Stars’ 30 No. 1’s rank second all-time, trailing only Lewis-Clark State’s (Idaho) 53 all-time top mentions … Six other teams have been ranked No. 1 in at least two polls: Lubbock Christian (Texas) (13), Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (11), LSU Shreveport (La.) (6), Lee (Tenn.) (6), Cumberland (Tenn.) (4) and Tennessee Wesleyan (2) … Three teams have been ranked No. 1 this season: Oklahoma City, Lee and Tennessee Wesleyan … Lewis-Clark Stats has been ranked in a NAIA-best 125-straight polls … The next closest consecutive polls streak is owned by Lee (Tenn.), who has received Top 25 mention in 69-straight polls …Thirty-seven programs have received Top 25 recognition this season … The Sooner Athletic Conference leads all leagues with four teams in the Top 25, including a pair of top-10 squads … No. 21 Belhaven (Miss.) joins the Top 25 for the first time since April 3, 2012.2012-13 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 5 (April 23)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Oklahoma City (19)||40-9||560|
|3||3||Northwood (Texas) (1)||37-9||524|
|5||6||Lubbock Christian (Texas)||36-13||486|
|7||5||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||36-11||438|
|8||9||The Master’s (Calif.)||34-15||431|
|13||13||Cal State San Marcos||30-9||342|
|22||21||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||38-16||154|
|23||15||Rogers State (Okla.)||30-17||132|
|25||RV||Point Park (Pa.)||35-13||109|
Others receiving votes: Ave Maria (Fla.) 98; Bethel (Tenn.) 92; Bacone (Okla.) 81; William Carey (Miss.) 65; San Diego Christian (Calif.) 62; Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 44; Mayville State (N.D.) 34; Science & Arts (Okla.) 27; LSU Shreveport (La.) 26; Tabor (Kan.) 19; St. Thomas (Fla.) 19; Taylor (Ind.) 12; Judson (Ill.) 11; Evangel (Mo.) 7; Indiana Tech 6; Southern Poly (Ga.) 4.