2015 NAIA Baseball Coaches? Top 25 Poll ? No. 4 (March 31)
By Mike DeVader, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After a shake-up in the polls, Faulkner (Ala.) takes over as the No. 1 team in the NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Eagles swooped up 590 total points and 19 of a possible 21 first-place votes en route to their sixth all-time No. 1 ranking.
Today is the first time Faulkner has found itself at the highest point of the Top 25 since being the top-squad of the April 1, 2014 release.
The Eagles (32-6) – the 2013 national champions – have gone 3-1 since the March 24 release of the Coaches’ Poll, including a 10-0 shutout of then-No. 5 Georgia Gwinnett. Most recently, Faulkner split a doubleheader with Martin Methodist (Tenn.), winning the nightcap, 8-2. In the victory, Jack Charleston tossed seven scoreless innings, surrendering only three hits.
The win upped the Eagles’ Southern States Athletic Conference (SSAC) record to 14-4. They take on Reinhardt (Ga.) tonight on the road.
Jumping up two spots to its highest ranking in program history is No. 2 Tabor (Kan.). The Bluejays (32-4) garnered one first-place vote and 559 points after winning four-straight contests over Friends (Kan.) soon after falling just short of former No. 1 Oklahoma Baptist, 5-4, on March 24.
The rest of the top five also saw new schools in each slot, starting with No. 3 Davenport (Mich.). The Panthers posted their highest rating in baseball history with 530 points and the final first-place vote. No. 4 is Northwood (Fla.) (513 points), while Oklahoma City comes in fifth with 501 points earned. The Stars shot into the top five after taking two-of-three from the then-No. 1 ranked Bison on March 26-28.
Oklahoma Baptist (30-2) – who had owned the top-billing for three-straight weeks – fell to No. 8 after dropping the two aforementioned contests with Oklahoma City. The losses snapped the Bison’s 29-game winning streak to open the season.
There was substantial movement in this week’s poll, as every team in the top 10 found a new home. No. 12 Westmont was one of three schools, No. 20 St. Thomas (Fla.) and No. 22 Mobile (Ala.), not to shuffle spots in the ranking.
Oklahoma City was the biggest riser within the Top 25, flying upward from No. 11. Sixteenth-ranked LSU Shreveport (La.) dropped the most of any institution, tumbling from No. 8.
No newcomers made appearances in this week’s poll.
The SSAC, Golden State Athletic Conference and The Sun Conference each boast a poll-best 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 fifth regular-season edition will be released on April 7.
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Notes (all information dates back to 2000): Oklahoma Baptist’s steak of three-straight appearances at No. 1 is finished … Overall, the Bison have been ranked No. 1 eight times …New No. 1 Faulkner (Ala.) joins Oklahoma Baptist and defending national champion Cumberland (Tenn.) as teams who have topped the poll this season … Ten different teams have held the No. 1 ranking since 2000 … No. 13 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) leads all programs with 53 top mentions, while No. 5 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), Faulkner (6) and Tennessee Wesleyan (2) … Lewis-Clark State has been ranked in a NAIA-best 140-straight polls.
2015 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – No. 4 (March 31)
|RANK||PRVS^||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2015 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||2||Faulkner (Ala.) (19)||32-6||590|
|2||4||Tabor (Kan.) (1)||32-4||559|
|3||6||Davenport (Mich.) (1)||25-2||530|
|9||8||The Master's (Calif.)||31-7||476|
|13||14||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||23-7||359|
|15||16||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||26-10||310|
|T16||8||LSU Shreveport (La.)||23-8||300|
|20||20||St. Thomas (Fla.)||25-10||214|
|21||23||Point Park (Pa.)||20-5||200|
Others receiving votes: Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 86; William Woods (Mo.) 83; British Columbia 76; Bryan (Tenn.) 40; Peru State (Neb.) 32; Southeastern (Fla.) 25; Doane (Neb.) 23; Vanguard (Calif.) 23; Mount Vernon Nazarene (Ohio) 23; Judson (Ill.) 15; Wayland Baptist (Texas) 11; St. Catharine (Ky.) 6; York (Neb.) 3; Madonna (Mich.) 3.