By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the fifth-straight week, Oklahoma Baptist lands at the No. 1 position in the 2014 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Bison collected 19-of-20 first-place votes and 560 total points in the final regular-season edition.
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Sooner Athletic Conference regular season and tournament champions Oklahoma Baptist (50-6) enters the postseason riding a 20-game winning streak en route to the program’s first 50-win season since 1996 (52-13-1). The Bison’s program record for wins is 54 (1989). Oklahoma Baptist will be making its fifth-straight trip to the National Championship Opening Round and first as a host when the event opens on May 12.
No. 2 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) accrued one first-place vote and 540 points to maintain its position for a second-consecutive week. The Warriors closed the regular season with an 18-2 record in their final 20 games, including sweeps of NCAA Division II Western Oregon and NCAA Division III Linfield (Ore.). Lewis-Clark State – the host of the 58th annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series – will be idle until opening World Series action on either May 23 or 24.
Oklahoma Wesleyan, which opened the season unranked, jumps two spots to No. 3 with 517 points. The Eagles, who boast their highest ranking of the year, received an automatic berth into the National Championship Opening Round field after winning the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament title. Oklahoma Wesleyan owns an NAIA-best 52 wins this season and has not lost since March 28.
No. 4 Faulkner (Ala.) with 498 points and No. 5 Georgetown (Ky.) with 497 points make up the rest of the top five. The defending World Series champion Eagles won their third-straight Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) regular-season banner after finishing the year with a 22-8 record in the league. Faulkner finished runner-up in the SSAC Tournament after falling to then-No. 14 Southern Poly (Ga.), 6-3, on May 3.
Georgetown, which fell two spots from the last edition, enters the national championship with a 42-8 record. The Tigers earned a berth to their third-straight Opening Round after winning the Mid-South Conference regular-season championship.
Southern Poly, which jumped from No. 14 to No. 9 this week, highlights the positive movement within the poll. The Hornets have won nine of their last 10 games, including the previously mentioned victory against Faulkner in the SSAC championship game.
No. 23 Cumberland (Tenn.) and No. 24 Davenport (Mich.) are this edition’s newcomers. The Bulldogs return to the rankings for the first time since the Preseason Poll, while Davenport is ranked for the first time in program history. Both teams earned automatic berths into the national championship field with titles in their respective conference tournaments.
Sixteen of the 21 baseball conferences/independents/unaffiliated groups are represented throughout the Top 25, led by three programs from the SSAC and the Golden State Athletic Conference.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups.
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Notes (all information dates back to 2000): Oklahoma Baptist is making its fifth-straight appearance at No. 1 … The Bison and defending national champion Faulkner (Ala.) are the only teams to hold the No. 1 ranking in 2014 … Four teams held the No. 1 ranking in 2013: Faulkner, Oklahoma City, Tennessee Wesleyan and former-member Lee (Tenn.) … Ten different teams have held the No. 1 ranking since 2000 … No. 2 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) leads all programs with 53 top mentions, while Oklahoma City is second with 31 … Eight other teams have been ranked No. 1 in at least two polls: former member Lubbock Christian (Texas) (13), Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (11), LSU Shreveport (La.) (6), Lee (6), Faulkner (5), Oklahoma Baptist (5), Cumberland (Tenn.) (4) and Tennessee Wesleyan (2) … Lewis-Clark State has been ranked in a NAIA-best 135-straight polls … The next closest active streak is owned by Embry-Riddle, which has received Top 25 mentions in 73-straight … No. 6 Georgia Gwinnett, which opened the year unranked, received its first-ever Top 25 appearance on March 25 … No. 21 Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) made its first appearance since the 2005 Preseason Poll – a string of 87-straight editions – on April 8 … Westmont (Calif.) received its first-ever Top 25 mention on April 22 … No. 24 Davenport (Mich.) earned its first ranking in program history in the final regular season poll … Forty-five teams have been ranked in 2014 … The Golden State Athletic Conference and the Southern State Athletic Conference lead all leagues with three ranked teams.2014 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Final (May 9)
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2014 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Oklahoma Baptist (19)||50-6||560|
|2||3||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) (1)||43-7||540|
|8||7||San Diego Christian (Calif.)||39-18||432|
|9||14||Southern Poly (Ga.)||42-16||413|
|11||10||LSU Shreveport (La.)||42-16||376|
|14||12||The Master’s (Calif.)||37-16||320|
|19||19||Point Park (Pa.)||40-15||181|
|21||21||Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio)||42-10||162|
Others receiving votes: Belhaven (Miss.) 120; William Woods (Mo.) 93; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 78; Westmont (Calif.) 74; Talladega (Ala.) 46; Midland (Neb.) 26; Mayville State (N.D.) 26; Sterling (Kan.) 22; British Columbia 20; Tennessee Wesleyan 12; Judson (Ill.) 11; Friends (Kan.) 9; LSU Alexandria (La.) 8; Concordia (Calif.) 5.