By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Fueled by three-straight wins against a ranked opponent to close the regular season, Oklahoma City holds the No. 1 ranking for the third-consecutive week in the NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, announced Tuesday by the NAIA national office. The Stars, who have been ranked No. 1 31 times since 2000, grabbed 13 first-place votes and 524 points in the sixth regular season edition.
On May 6, the NAIA is providing a free graphical presentation of the nine NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round brackets. The event is scheduled to begin at approximately 12 p.m. CDT on www.NAIA.org. The 46 national qualifiers will be announced one day prior (May 5) at 5 p.m.
Oklahoma City won three-of-four against then-No. 23 Rogers State (Okla.) last weekend to earn its third-straight Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) regular-season crown. The Stars carry a NAIA-best 44 victories (tied) into the SAC Tournament, which opens play on Wednesday. Oklahoma City, hosts of Pool A, welcomes eighth seed Mid-America Christian (Okla.) on Wednesday, before hosting fifth seed Rogers State on Thursday and fourth seed Science & Arts (Okla.) on Friday. The Stars are also a host for the 2013 NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round, May 9 – 13.
Holding strong at No. 2 is Faulkner (Ala.) with five first-place votes and 516 points. The Eagles secured their second-straight Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) regular-season championship with a pair of 8-4 victories against Auburn Montgomery (Ala.) April 26. Faulkner has won 11 of its last 12 games by a combined score of 108-41 en route to a 44-10 record. The Eagles’ offense ranks amongst the top five in the NAIA in runs scored (425), stolen bases (167) and RBI (372). Similarly to Oklahoma City, Faulkner will host an Opening Round.
SSAC regular-season runner-up No. 3 Lee (Tenn.) jumps one spot to return to the top three following a one-week hiatus. The Flames gathered 486 points this week after finishing the regular-season with a three-game series sweep of Truett-McConnell (Ga.) April 25 – 26. Lee outscored the Bears 38-6 in the three games, including a 15-0 shutout victory to close the series. The Flames open SSAC Tournament action on Tuesday afternoon against Brewton-Parker (Ga.).
Rounding out the top five this week is No. 4 Northwood (Texas) and No. 5 Lubbock Christian (Texas) with 481 and 455 points, respectively. Northwood, who won the Red River Athletic Conference regular-season crown, also received the final first-place vote.
No. 9 Bellevue (Neb.), No. 19 Madonna (Mich.) and No. 21 Point Park (Pa.) all posted positive movements of at least three places within the poll with Madonna’s five-spot jump from No. 24 leading the trio. The Crusaders ride a 16-game winning streak into the week and are the No. 1 seed in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament. They claimed their eighth regular-season title in the last 10 years.
Joining the poll this week is No. 24 William Carey (Miss.) and No. 25 Science & Arts. Both teams were ranked earlier this season. Conversely, Belhaven (Miss.) (No. 21) and Rogers State (Okla.) drop out.
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 final regular-season Top 25 will be announced on May 5.
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Notes (All information dates back to 2000 season): Oklahoma City is making its 31st 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 41-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 State has been ranked in a NAIA-best 126-straight polls … The next closest consecutive polls streak is owned by Lee (Tenn.), who has received Top 25 mention in 70-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. 25 Science & Arts (Okla.) joins the poll for the first time since March 26.2012-13 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 6 (April 30)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Oklahoma City (13)||44-10||524|
|2||2||Faulkner (Ala.) (5)||44-10||516|
|4||3||Northwood (Texas) (1)||38-10||481|
|5||5||Lubbock Christian (Texas)||39-14||455|
|7||8||The Master’s (Calif.)||37-15||422|
|10||7||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||38-13||380|
|12||13||Cal State San Marcos||32-10||320|
|21||25||Point Park (Pa.)||38-13||166|
|23||22||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||41-16||155|
|24||RV||William Carey (Miss.)||33-20||112|
|25||RV||Science & Arts (Okla.)||38-16||92|
Others receiving votes: Ave Maria (Fla.) 72; San Diego Christian (Calif.) 69; Belhaven (Miss.) 51; LSU Shreveport (La.) 47; Bethel (Tenn.) 31; Mayville State (N.D.) 31; Tabor (Kan.) 30; Taylor (Ind.) 29; Judson (Ill.) 27; British Columbia 12; Davenport (Mich.) 12; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 11; Rogers State (Okla.) 10; Southern Poly (Ga.) 9; St. Thomas (Fla.) 5; Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 4; Menlo (Calif.) 3.