KANSAS CITY, Mo. - LSU Shreveport (La.) maintains its strangle-hold on the No. 1 ranking for the fifth-consecutive week in the 2012 NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced on Tuesday. The Pilots, who claimed their second-straight Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) regular-season championship with a sweep of Texas Wesleyan on April 21 - 22, tallied 18 first-place votes and 559 total points in this week's poll.
LSU Shreveport owns a national-best .922 winning percentage and 47-4 record this season following an 11-5 thrashing of Texas at Brownsville in RRAC tournament action on Monday night. The Pilots never trailed in the contest, jumping out to a 5-0 lead over the first two innings before tacking on four more runs in the top of the four. LSU Shreveport currently leads the NAIA in runs scored (482) and RBIs (435), while ranking fourth in team batting average (.352) and hits per game (11.5). The Pilots conclude RRAC tournament play Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. CDT against Bacone (Okla.). With a win, LSU Shreveport will lockup the RRAC's automatic qualifying berth to the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round.
No changes occurred throughout the rest of the top 11. No. 2 Oklahoma City, which earned 527 points in the poll, finished the season 41-8 overall and 26-4 in Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) action to win its second-straight regular-season conference crown.
No. 3 Faulkner (Ala.) remains in third position this week with 521 points. The Eagles claimed their first-ever Southern States Athletic Conference regular-season championship following a 5-1 and 4-2 doubleheader sweep of No. 20 Shorter on April 20. Faulkner continued its solid season, advancing to the tournament title game before falling to No. 5 Lee (Tenn.), 13-0, on Monday.
Azusa Pacific (Calif.) holds the poll's two remaining first-place votes and claimed 514 points to stay strong at No. 4 this week. The Cougars have won 13-of-14 heading in to the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) tournament. Azusa Pacific is guaranteed at least a host berth in the Opening Round Tournament, as the Cougar Baseball Complex is acting as one of the event's nine host sites.
Lee rounds out the top five with 495 points. The SSAC Tournament champion Flames lead the NAIA with 50 wins this season, while ranking atop the national leader board in at-bats (1,920), putouts (1,460) and innings pitched (487.2). Additionally, Lee ranks second in the NAIA in strikeouts (485), opponent batting average (.211), hits (608) and RBIs (415).
Rogers State (Okla.) boasts the best improvement this week, jumping seven spots to No. 18 with 247 points. The Hillcats closed the regular season with nine-straight victories, including sweeps of SAC conference foes Southern Nazarene (Okla.) on April 12 - 16 and Mid-American Christian (Okla.) on April 19 - 21.
Lubbock Christian (Texas) dropped the farthest this week, falling from No. 18 to No. 24. The Chaparrals are 2-3 in their last five games with losses coming against Southern Nazarene on April 27 (3-1), Wayland Baptist (Texas) on April 23 (11-9) and Oklahoma City on April 21 (4-2).
Newcomers this week include: No. 23 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), who makes its first-ever appearance in the Top 25 and No. 25 Bellevue (Neb.), who is ranked for the first time since May 4, 2010.
Fifteen different conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented in the poll with the SSAC and the SAC leading the pack with four teams, while the Sun Conference is third with three.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independent/unaffiliated groupings. The final Coaches' Top 25 Poll will be released on May 6.
Notes: (All information dates back to 2000 season) LSU Shreveport (La.) earns the No. 1 ranking for the fifth time in program history ... No. 3 Faulkner (Ala.) is ranked amongst the top five for the third time since Nov. 12, 2003 ... Lee (Tenn.) has now been ranked for 60-consecutive polls ...The last time Lee went unranked was March 22, 2006 ... Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) leads all teams with 53 all-time No. 1 rankings, followed by Oklahoma City's 28 ... Lubbock Christian Texas comes in third with 13 appearances, followed by Embry-Riddle with 11, LSU Shreveport (La.) with five, Cumberland (Tenn.) with four and Lee with three... Oklahoma City last went unranked in the 2009 preseason poll, but has been rated no lower than seventh since then ... No. 11 Concordia (Calif.) has vaulted into the Top 25 for the fifth time since being ranked No. 15 on March 7, 2007 ... No. 7 Tennessee Wesleyan is ranked for the fifth time since the first regular-season poll of last season ... No. 14 Georgetown, Cal State San Marcos and No. 16 Judson (Ill.) each made their first all-time appearances in the March 27th poll ... Azusa Pacific's No. 5 ranking on March 27 marked the first time the Cougars have been ranked amongst the top five since May 7, 2008.
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||LSU Shreveport (La.) (18)||46-4||559|
|4||4||Azusa Pacific (Calif.) (2)||41-9||514|
|9||9||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||39-11||404|
|10||10||Point Park (Pa.)||44-7||396|
|12||13||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||41-14||350|
|13||15||South Carolina Beaufort||35-14||343|
|15||12||St. Thomas (Fla.)||39-12||293|
|17||16||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||36-22||263|
|18||25||Rogers State (Okla.)||41-12||247|
|23||RV||MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.)||38-12||134|
|24||18||Lubbock Christian (Texas)||30-19||127|
Others receiving votes: Missouri Baptist 111; College of Idaho 93; Sterling (Kan.) 90; Campbellsville (Ky.) 60; Biola (Calif.) 40; Southern Poly (Ga.) 30; The Master’s (Calif.) 25; Union (Tenn.) 24; Bryan (Tenn.) 22; Tabor (Kan.) 13; British Columbia 10; Cal State San Marcos 10; Davenport (Mich.) 8; Avila (Mo.) 6; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 4; Doane (Neb.) 3; York (Neb.) 3; Webber International (Fla.) 1; St. Ambrose (Iowa) 1; Oklahoma Wesleyan 1.