2015 NAIA Baseball Coaches? Top 25 Poll ? No. 1
By Alan Grosbach, Manager of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Oklahoma Baptist, which ended the 2014 regular-season ranked No. 1, tops the first regular-season edition of the 2015 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Bison received 20-of-21 first-place votes and 591 points en route to their sixth top billing since 2000.
The Bison enter the week 19-0, which is the most victories among the three unbeaten teams in NAIA baseball – Purdue Calumet (Ind.) (4-0) and Rochester (Mich.) (1-0). Oklahoma Baptist is led by a potent offense that ranks among the top 10 nationally in nine statistical categories, including second in team batting average (.394) and slugging percentage (.591).
No. 2 Faulkner (Ala.), which jumped three positions from its preseason perch, gathered the remaining first-place vote and 572 points. The Eagles are 23-3 on the year and have ranked among the top five for 17-straight installments.
Rounding out the top five are No. 3 Georgia Gwinnett (531 points), No. 4 (tied) Tabor (Kan.) (526 points) and No. 4 (tied) Missouri Baptist (526 points).
Significant movement occurred throughout the poll, as only No. 10 LSU Shreveport (La.) and No. 16 Oklahoma City held their positions from the Preseason Poll.
Among teams ranked in the last installment on Nov. 11, Concordia (Calif.) made the largest improvement, jumping 12 places from No. 18 to No. 6. The Eagles enter the week 21-6 overall and 10-3 in their last 13 games.
Eight newcomers joined the poll this week – No. 7 Northwood (Fla.), No. 12 St. Thomas (Fla.), No. 15 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), No. 18 USC Beaufort (S.C.), No. 19 Sterling (Kan.), No. 21 Westmont (Calif.), No. 22 Mobile (Ala.) and No. 24 (tied) Campbellsville (Ky.).
The Southern States Athletic Conference, Golden State Athletic Conference and The Sun Conference each boast a poll-high three programs.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, the Association of Independent Institutions and the NAIA West Group. The second regular-season edition will be released on March 17, 2015.
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Notes (all information dates back to 2000): Oklahoma Baptist is making its first appearance at No. 1 since the 2014 final regular season poll on May 9, 2014 … Overall, the Bison have been ranked No. 1 six times …Oklahoma Baptist and defending national champion Cumberland (Tenn.) have topped the poll this season … Ten different teams have held the No. 1 ranking since 2000 … No. 9 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) leads all programs with 53 top mentions, while No. 16 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), former member Lee (Tenn.) (6), Cumberland (6), Oklahoma Baptist (6), Faulkner (5) and Tennessee Wesleyan (2) … Lewis-Clark State has been ranked in a NAIA-best 138-straight polls.2015 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 1 (March 10)
|RANK||PRVS^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2015 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||3||Oklahoma Baptist (20)||19-0||591|
|2||5||Faulkner (Ala.) (1)||23-3||572|
|9||2||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||13-5||429|
|10||10||LSU Shreveport (La.)||11-4||416|
|11||20||The Master’s (Calif.)||21-6||410|
|12||RV||St. Thomas (Fla.)||16-6||354|
|15||NR||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||15-6||310|
|18||NR||USC Beaufort (S.C.)||19-4||253|
|20||22||Point Park (Pa.)||9-1||239|
|T24||17||Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio)||0-0||116|
Others receiving votes: Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 90; Friends (Kan.) 74; Union (Ky.) 69; Southeastern (Fla.) 68; Cal State San Marcos 42; William Woods (Mo.) 38; Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 34; Science & Arts (Okla.) 32; Bryan (Tenn.) 32; Jamestown (N.D.) 18; LSU Alexandria (La.) 14; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 11; Northwestern Ohio 10; Vanguard (Calif.) 9; Talladega (Ala.) 6; Doane (Neb.) 5; Mayville State (N.D.) 3.