Oklahoma City Claims No. 1 Spot from Faulkner in NAIA Top 25 Baseball Poll

By Alan Grosbach, Associate Director of Athletics Communications and Media
Photo by Hugh Scott
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the first time since 2015, Oklahoma City garners the No. 1 ranking in the fourth regular-season edition of the 2017 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Stars, who last held the No. 1 ranking on May 8, 2015, gathered 16 first-place votes and 467 total points en route to the top-spot. The final regular-season edition will release on May 2.

Top 25 Highlights (historical information dates back to 2000)
• Oklahoma City boasts the No. 1 ranking for the 33rd time in program history. The Stars have been listed among the top five for four-straight editions since joining the poll in the first regular-season poll.
• The Stars are the only team to reach the 40-win threshold, as the team enters the week with a NAIA-best 40-5 record.
• Oklahoma City has won 21 of its last 22 games, including a three-game series sweep of Sooner Athletic Conference Rival Wayland Baptist (Texas) over the weekend. The Stars lone loss was a 12-3 defeat to No. 13 Texas Wesleyan on April 8.
• Previous No. 1, Faulkner (Ala.) slips to No. 2 this week. The Eagles, who collected 444 total points, have lost four of their last six games. Faulkner hopes to rebound this weekend with a three-game set against William Carey (Miss.)
• Rounding out the top five are No. 3 Oklahoma Wesleyan (435 points), No. 4 Bellevue (Neb.) (432 points) and No. 5 Central Methodist (Mo.) (383 points).
• The No. 5 ranking is the highest in program history for Central Methodist, dating back to 2000. The Eagles are 32-8 on the season, including a 16-4 mark in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Central Methodist jumped five spots from its No. 10 perch last installment.
• Missouri Baptist highlights the forward movement in the poll, as the Spartans jumped from No. 22 to No. 10 this week. The club has won 11 of its last 12 games, including three-game sweeps of Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), Park (Mo.) and Lyon (Ark.).
• Three new teams joined the Top 25 in No. 22 Mayville State (N.D.), No. 23 Huntington (Ind.) and No. 25 IU Southeast (Ind.). Mayville State is ranked for the first time since the 2003 Preseason Poll, while Huntington garners Top 25 mention for the first time in program history (since 2000). IU Southeast returns to the poll after falling out in the first regular-season edition.
• Lewis-Clark State leads all active members with 58 total No. 1 mentions, dating back to 2000. Ten other teams have been ranked No. 1 in at least two polls: Oklahoma City (33), Faulkner (13), former member Lubbock Christian (Texas) (13), former member Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (11), Georgia Gwinnett (8), LSU Shreveport (La.) (6), former member Lee (Tenn.) (6), Cumberland (Tenn.) (6) and Tennessee Wesleyan (2).
• The Heart of America Athletic Conference is the only league with multiple teams ranked among the top 10 – No. 5 Central Methodist and No. 9 Clarke (Iowa).
• The Southern States Athletic Conference, Sooner Athletic Conference and The Sun Conference lead all leagues with three teams each.
• Fourteen-of-18 conferences have at least one school represented in the poll.

Poll Methodology
• The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions.
• The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 30 points for each first-place vote, 29 for second-place and so on through the list.
• The highest and lowest ranking for each team (a non-rating is considered a low ratings) is removed and the team’s ranking will be recalculated with an additional point added to each team for every ballot (including discounted ballots) that the teams appears on.
• Teams that receive only one point in the ballot are not considered “receiving votes”
• Frequency of polls occur by-weekly. This policy was approved by the National Administrative Council (NAC) for the 2016-17 academic season. This change allows raters the opportunity to consider a larger body of work between ratings periods.
• For the complete Top 25 calendar, click here.

2017 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll (April 18) – No. 4

RANK PRVS SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES) 2017 RECORD TOTAL POINTS
1 2 Oklahoma City (16) 40-5 467
2 1 Faulkner (Ala.) 38-8 444
3 4 Oklahoma Wesleyan (1) 38-8 435
4 5 Bellevue (Neb.) 37-7 432
5 10 Central Methodist (Mo.) 32-8 383
6 6 Tennessee Wesleyan 31-14 379
7 16 Keiser (Fla.) 33-15 365
8 13 Northwestern Ohio 31-10 345
9 11 Clarke (Iowa) 34-8 343
10 22 Missouri Baptist 31-11 338
11 3 Southeastern (Fla.) 39-7 317
12 7 Tabor (Kan.) 31-11 303
13 12 Texas Wesleyan 32-11 280
14 8 Georgia Gwinnett 31-16 269
15 15 Webber International (Fla.) 35-9 266
16 17 Middle Georgia State 35-12 262
17 18 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 27-12 218
18 21 Science & Arts (Okla.) 35-13 182
19 19 Indiana Tech 31-9 165
20 25 Cumberlands (Ky.) 36-11 152
21 20 Bryan (Tenn.) 30-13 135
22 RV Mayville State (N.D.) 33-6 132
23 14 William Carey (Miss.) 29-14 125
24 RV Huntington (Ind.) 22-8 109
25 NR IU Southeast (Ind.) 32-9 104

Dropped from Top 25: Menlo (Calif.) (No. 9); Sterling (Kan.) (No. 23); St. Thomas (Fla.) (No. 24)

Others receiving votes: St. Thomas (Fla.) 91; Vanguard (Calif.) 90; Biola (Calif.) 85; Point (Ga.) 72; Friends (Kan.) 33; LSU Shreveport (La.) 24; Campbellsville (Ky.) 22; Mobile (Ala.) 19; Sterling (Kan.) 14; Davenport (Mich.) 9; Hope International (Calif.) 3; Midland (Neb.) 3; Columbia (Mo.) 3; Reinhardt (Ga.) 3.

Faulkner claims No. 1 ranking for third-straight poll

By Alan Grosbach, Associate Director of Athletics Communications and Media
Photo provided by Faulkner Athletics

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Faulkner (Ala.) owns the No. 1 ranking in the third regular-season installment of the 2017 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Eagles gathered 13 of the 18 available first-place votes and 494 total points en route to their third-consecutive top billing. The fourth regular-season edition will release on April 18.

Top 25 Highlights (historical information dates back to 2000)
• Faulkner (Ala.) owns the No. 1 ranking for the 13th time in program history and third-straight time this season. Prior to their current reign at No. 1, the Eagles had not held the top-spot since March 22, 2016. Faulkner has landed in the top-spot in each of the past five seasons.
• The Eagles have won 13 of their last 14 games with the only loss coming to Loyola (La.), 5-3, in game one of a three game series over the weekend. That defeat is the first for Faulkner in Southern States Athletic Conference play, as the club boasts an 11-1 record – 1.5 games ahead of the second place teams.
• The Eagles return to the field Tuesday with a non-conference double-header against Point (Ga.).
• Oklahoma City locks down the No. 2 ranking for a second-consecutive week. The Stars, who claimed five first-place votes, is second nationally with 35 wins this season. Oklahoma City enters the week riding a 16-game winning streak. Next up for the Stars is a three-game set against Texas Wesleyan on Friday and Saturday.
• No. 3 Southeastern (Fla.), No. 4 Oklahoma Wesleyan and No. 5 Bellevue (Neb.) make up the remainder of the top five this installment. The Fire and Eagles swap places from last edition, while Bellevue jumped three spots from its No. 8 perch on March 21.
• No. 11 Clarke (Iowa) and No. 19 Indiana Tech each jumped a poll-best five places this week.
• Conversely, defending national champion Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) dropped six spots from No. 12 to No. 18. The Warriors have lost three out of their last five games – all coming against British Columbia.
• Three newcomers joined the poll in No. 22 Missouri Baptist, No. 23 Sterling (Kan.) and No. 25 Cumberlands (Ky.). The Patriots are ranked for the first time since holding the No. 20 position on Feb. 24, 2009.
• Lewis-Clark State leads all active members with 58 total No. 1 mentions, dating back to 2000. Ten other teams have been ranked No. 1 in at least two polls: Oklahoma City (32), Faulkner (13), former member Lubbock Christian (Texas) (13), former member Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (11), Georgia Gwinnett (8), LSU Shreveport (La.) (6), former member Lee (Tenn.) (6), Cumberland (Tenn.) (6) and Tennessee Wesleyan (2).
• Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, The Southern States Athletic Conference, Sooner Athletic Conference and The Sun Conference lead all leagues with three teams each.
• Fourteen-of-18 conferences have at least one school represented in the poll.

Poll Methodology
• The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions.
• The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 30 points for each first-place vote, 29 for second-place and so on through the list.
• The highest and lowest ranking for each team (a non-rating is considered a low ratings) is removed and the team’s ranking will be recalculated with an additional point added to each team for every ballot (including discounted ballots) that the teams appears on.
• Teams that receive only one point in the ballot are not considered “receiving votes”
• Frequency of polls occur by-weekly. This policy was approved by the National Administrative Council (NAC) for the 2016-17 academic season. This change allows raters the opportunity to consider a larger body of work between ratings periods.
• For the complete Top 25 calendar, click here.

2017 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll (April 4) – No. 3

RANK PRVS SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES) 2017 RECORD TOTAL POINTS
1 1 Faulkner (Ala.) (13) 33-4 494
2 2 Oklahoma City (5) 35-4 485
3 4 Southeastern (Fla.) 36-3 465
4 3 Oklahoma Wesleyan 33-7 450
5 8 Bellevue (Neb.) 28-6 434
6 5 Tennessee Wesleyan 26-11 404
7 10 Tabor (Kan.) 27-8 398
8 6 Georgia Gwinnett 27-12 377
9 7 Menlo (Calif.) 26-8 366
10 14 Central Methodist (Mo.) 24-5 349
11 16 Clarke (Iowa) 26-5 319
12 15 Texas Wesleyan 26-9 318
13 17 Northwestern Ohio 26-10 299
14 9 William Carey (Miss.) 25-10 298
15 13 Webber International (Fla.) 28-8 283
16 11 Keiser (Fla.) 26-13 273
17 18 Middle Georgia State 29-10 223
18 12 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 19-12 215
19 24 Indiana Tech 26-7 194
20 19 Bryan (Tenn.) 24-12-1 180
21 20 Science & Arts (Okla.) 25-12 168
22 RV Missouri Baptist 23-10 153
23 RV Sterling (Kan.) 23-9 125
24 23 St. Thomas (Fla.) 28-12 111
25 RV Cumberlands (Ky.) 27-10 103

Dropped from Top 25: Vanguard (Calif.) (No. 21); LSU Shreveport (La.) (No. 22); MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) (No. 25).

Others receiving votes: Huntington (Ind.) 91; IU Southeast (Ind.) 66; Vanguard (Calif.) 63; Mayville State (N.D.) 49; LSU Shreveport (La.) 46; Mobile (Ala.) 35; Reinhardt (Ga.) 28; Georgetown (Ky.) 16; MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 11; Hope International (Calif.) 9; Columbia (Mo.) 8; Benedictine-Mesa (Ariz.) 5; Biola (Calif.) 5; Friends (Kan.) 4; Concordia (Mich.) 4.

Faulkner (Ala.) remains No. 1 in NAIA Top 25 Poll

By Spencer Scheve, Athletics Communications and Sports Media Intern

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the 12th time in program history, Faulkner (Ala.) claims the No. 1 position in the 2017 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Tuesday. The Eagles gathered all 18 first-place nods to go along with 498 total points in the second regular-season edition. The third regular-season ranking is scheduled to be released on April 4.

Top 25 Highlights (historical information dates back to 2000)
• Faulkner (Ala.) boasts the No. 1 ranking for the second-consecutive poll.  The Eagles have now tallied 12 all-time top mentions, with a No. 1 position at least once in each of the past five seasons.
• The 28 wins accomplished by Faulkner this year is tied for the most in the NAIA – through games played Sunday, March 19. The Eagles are tied with Southeastern (Fla.) and Oklahoma City..
• The Eagles face Georgia Gwinnett next on March 24.
• Oklahoma City jumps into the No. 2 as it claims 479 points this poll. The Stars are an offensive powerhouse leading the NAIA in total doubles (105), total hits (377), total runs scored (287) and total runs batted in (287).
• Rounding out the top five is Oklahoma Wesleyan at No. 3 with 467 points, Southeastern at No. 4 with 444 points and Tennessee Wesleyan at No. 5 with 426 points.
• The only team to hold its ranking from the Coaches Top 25 poll on March 7 was No. 1 Faulkner.
• Five newcomers joined the Top 25 this week – No. 12 Webber International (Fla.), No. 14 Central Methodist (Mo.), No. 15 Texas Wesleyan, No. 24 Indiana Tech and No. 25 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.).
• Lewis-Clark State leads all active members with 58 total No. 1 mentions, dating back to 2000. Ten other teams have been ranked No. 1 in at least two polls: Oklahoma City (32), former member Lubbock Christian (Texas) (13), former member Embry-Riddle (Fla.) (11), Faulkner (12), Georgia Gwinnett (8), LSU Shreveport (La.) (6), former member Lee (Tenn.) (6), Cumberland (Tenn.) (6) and Tennessee Wesleyan (2).
• The Sun Conference leads all leagues with four teams represented: No. 4 Southeastern, No. 11 Keiser (Fla.), No. 13 Webber International and No. 23 St. Thomas (Fla.). The Southern States Athletic Conference, Sooner Athletic Conference and Heart of America Athletic Conference each send three Top 25 teams into the poll. Overall, 12 of the 18 conferences are represented this week.

Poll Methodology
• The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions.
• The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 30 points for each first-place vote, 29 for second-place and so on through the list.
• The highest and lowest ranking for each team (a non-rating is considered a low ratings) is removed and the team’s ranking will be recalculated with an additional point added to each team for every ballot (including discounted ballots) that the teams appears on.
• Teams that receive only one point in the ballot are not considered “receiving votes”
• Frequency of polls occur by-weekly. This policy was approved by the National Administrative Council (NAC) for the 2016-17 academic season. This change allows raters the opportunity to consider a larger body of work between ratings periods.
• For the complete Top 25 calendar, click here.

2017 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll (March 21) – No. 2

RANK LAST WEEK^ SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES) 2017 RECORD TOTAL POINTS
1 1 Faulkner (Ala.) (18) 26-3 498
2 4 Oklahoma City 28-4 479
3 2 Oklahoma Wesleyan 26-5 467
4 7 Southeastern (Fla.) 28-3 444
5 10 Tennessee Wesleyan 20-8 426
6 2 Georgia Gwinnett 23-8 419
7 6 Menlo (Calif.) 22-5 392
8 18 Bellevue (Neb.) 18-6 382
9 12 William Carey (Miss.) 22-5 374
10 9 Tabor (Kan.) 20-7 361
11 5 Keiser (Fla.) 21-10 313
12 8 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) 13-8 307
13 NR Webber International (Fla.) 24-5 282
14 NR Central Methodist (Mo.) 21-4 280
15 NR Texas Wesleyan 20-7 267
16 11 Clarke (Iowa) 20-3 240
17 20 Northwestern Ohio 19-10 218
18 19 Middle Georgia State 23-8 211
19 14 Bryan (Tenn.) 21-9 199
20 17 Science & Arts (Okla.) 22-9 190
21 16 Vanguard (Calif.) 19-12 186
22 13 LSU Shreveport (La.) 20-8 185
23 22 St. Thomas (Fla.) 23-9 144
24 NR Indiana Tech 16-7 111
25 NR MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) 14-5 110

Dropped from Top 25: No. 24 Reinhardt (Ga.); No. 15 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.); No. 25 Mobile (Ala.); No. 23 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.); No. 21 Westmont (Calif.)

Others receiving votes: .Cumberlands (Ky.) 93; Mayville State (N.D.) 74; Reinhardt (Ga.) 43; Friends (Kan.) 37; Columbia (Mo.) 34; Midland (Neb.) 33; Huntington (Ind.) 32; Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 27; Hope International (Calif.) 25; Mobile (Ala.) 19; Davenport (Mich.) 16; Missouri Baptist 12; Sterling (Kan.) 5; IU Southeast 3

^From the 2017 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll (March 7, 2017)

LCSC gets two-year extension to host Series through 2021

LEWISTON, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College has received a two-year extension to play host to the Avista-NAIA World Series at LCSC’s Harris Field through 2021, NAIA and LCSC officials announced jointly on Tuesday.

LCSC received a three-year contract extension last January to host the Series through 2019. With improvements currently underway at Harris Field, LCSC sought and received another two years as the tournament’s host. The final year of the new deal will mark 22 straight years the Series will be held in Lewiston and the 30th overall.

“Extending our agreement to host of the Avista-NAIA World Series demonstrates the strong relationship between LCSC and the NAIA,” LCSC President J. Anthony Fernandez said.  “It is a reflection of the partnerships between LCSC, Avista, our community, and the NAIA and guarantees that the Avista-NAIA World Series will remain one of the most successful collegiate national championships in the country.”

Harris Field is currently going undergoing more than $1.75 million in remodeling and changes, most of which is driven by private donations. This includes a new seating project and the installation of a video display board to replace the old scoreboard.  It also includes the naming of Ed Cheff Stadium in honor of the most successful coach in NAIA baseball history, pending approval from the Idaho State Board of Education.

“The tournament has been a tremendous success in the Lewis-Clark Valley,” LCSC Associate Athletic Director and Avista-NAIA World Series Tournament Director Brooke Cushman said. “We are extremely excited to continue our relationship with the NAIA and the Avista-NAIA World Series. By extending the contract, this will allow us to continue to provide a great experience to the spectators, fans, players and coaches.”

LCSC Athletic Director Gary Picone said the contract extension is similar to the previous extension with some minor financial changes. The tournament will remain a 10-team double elimination tournament with nine teams qualifying by winning an NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round tournament. LCSC will be the 10th team and receives an automatic berth into the tournament as the host team.

The 2020 Avista-NAIA World Series will be held on May 22-29, and the 2021 Series will be May 28-June 5.
“This extension continues the long-term relationship between the NAIA and LCSC,” Picone said.   We want to continue to provide a championship showcase within the NAIA and this extension allows us to do that.”
There are four phases to the renovations at Harris Field, which started in October with the demolition and removal of the existing grandstands and seats. A new foundation is being poured and new grandstands and seating are scheduled to be installed by Feb. 1. The new seats will allow for more seating and leg room. This first phase of the project will cost around $950,000.

The second phase is the addition of a 24-by-32 foot DVX video display board, which will replace the old scoreboard in right field. P1FCU has generously donated the $300,000 video board.

The third phase includes the completion of the grandstands with the addition of brick columns, a vendor area, and display for LCSC baseball. This has a completion date of May 1. Picone said this phase will continue the brick facade that currently is just in the grandstand area to continue around to the seating in the first- and third-base bleacher areas.

Picone said a fundraiser is currently underway to help this phase of the project, which includes naming/display rights for the new brick pillars on the backside of the grandstands.
The fourth phase is connected with the third phase and is the renovation of the first and third base decking and seating, which is expected to be completed by May 1
The baseball field will continue to be called Harris Field as it has since 1950 in honor of Loyd Harris. Harris was instrumental in baseball in Lewiston as a player, manager and club director until his death in 1969.

This year’s Avista-NAIA World Series will be held May 25-June 2 at Harris Field. For tickets or for more information, contact Kristina Keener in the LCSC athletic department at 208-792-2471. To volunteer at the Series, contact Allie Canfield at 208-792-2492.