NAIA recap for March 17th

Heller Southern Polytechnic is #1 in Boyd Nation’s Iterative Strength Rating, and the Hornets swept three games against a Berry team that was 11-6 going into the series. David Harden got his sixth win of the season, and is now 6-0, 1.98 ERA, with 39 strikeouts. His six wins put him in second place (to Taylor Siemens of Cal Baptist) in the NAIA. Mason Heller leads the Hornets in hitting, batting .449.

Lewis-Clark State swept three games against Concordia-Portland, the team that handed the Warriors their sole loss at the beginning of the season. They then got their second loss of the season at Division II Saint Martins; 3B Josh Grenier batted in four runs for the Saints. The next game between the Warriors and Saints went ten innings, and the Warriors won it with a two-run home run by LF Jake Eccles. Henry Buenrostro got the win for the Warriors, but it was a 5 1/3 middle relief appearance by Tyrell Poggemeyer that kept the Warriors in the game; Poggeymeyer allowed six hits, but he also struck out six, and kept the Saints scoreless. Upcoming: Whitworth March 23

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#2 Union U. (TN) won two of three at William Carey, then defeated #11 Belhaven 4-3 (11 innings). Beau Baker hit an RBI single in the bottom of the 11th for the win. Jared Davis pitched the last five innings for the Bulldogs, held the Blazers scoreless. They defeated #23 Faulkner 8-2. 1B Kevin Kirksey hit a two-run home run. Baker added a solo home run, and was 3-4 for the game. Upcoming: at Christian Brothers March 22, Mount Mercy March 23.

#3 Fresno Pacific won three of four against The Master’s. The Sunbirds are now 16-2, 8-2 in the Golden State Athletic Conference. They have a serious matchup coming up against #9 Cal Baptist; two games in Fresno March 17 and 18, and a double-header in Riverside March 20.

#4 British Columbia split a four-game series with #18 College of Idaho, which, despite huge graduation losses, is 15-7. The best game of the series was a 2-1 win for the Thunderbirds in a seven-inning game. Both starters, Eric Brown for the Thunderbirds, and Jacob Coats for the Coyotes, went the distance. Brown held the Coyotes to four hits, and the Thunderbirds won in on a pinch-hit RBI single by freshman Matt Cameron. The Thunderbirds are now 16-3, 10-2 in NAIA West play, and rank #2 in the NAIA in fielding percentage (.976). Upcoming: at Concordia-Portland March 20-21.

Craig Massey

#5 Bethel C. (TN) is 17-1-1. The Wildcats got wins against Hannibal-LaGrange and Purdue-North Central, and swept a double-header against Missouri Baptist. The defeated #11 Belhaven 5-4, and scored all of their runs in the seventh inning; the winning run came on a two-RBI double by SS Craig Massey. The Wildcats lead the NAIA in hitting, with a .404 average. Massey is batting .544, Courtney Hardaway is batting .533, and Johnathan Deberry is batting .500.

#6 Embry-Riddle split four games with #20 Trececca Nazarene, then lost two of three to #7 Cumberland (see below). In the first game of the Trevecca Nazarene series, a 3-1 win, RHP Austin Quinn pitched a complete game, allowed three hits. Quinn is now 5-1, 1.17 ERA, with 45 strikeouts. The Eagles are 20-9, 7-2 in the Sun Conference. Upcoming: Warner March 19-20.

Shawn Schaefer

#7 Cumberland swept three games against Shawnee State. The Bulldogs then won two of three against Embry-Riddle. This series provided some pitching masterpieces. In the first game, a 3-1 win for the Bulldogs, Senior LHP Shawn Schaefer went the full nine innings, threw 128 pitches, allowed four hits and struck out twelve. The Bulldogs got all the runs they needed in the first inning with a two-RBI single by 3B Matt Greener. In the second game, a 7-1 win for the Bulldogs, Aaron Wilkerson pitched a complete seven-inning game, allowed three hits, struck out nine. In the third game, a 4-2 win for the Eagles, Jonathan Kountis was one out short of a complete seven-inning game, allowed seven hits, struck out seven. The game was decided by a two-run home run by 1B Manny Reyes in the fifth inning. The Bulldogs are 18-5, and the Eagles are 20-9, 7-2 in the Sun Conference. Schaefer is 4-0, 1.26 ERA with 26 strikeouts. Wilkerson is 3-1, 2.05 ERA with 35 strikeouts. Greener is batting .436. Upcoming: Davenport March 20-21, Campbellsville March 23.

Joey Delgado

#8 Brewton-Parker won two of three against Lee. Both wins were 3-2, and Joey Delgado and Delgis Soto got complete-game wins. The loss was 10-0, and Scott Swinson got the seven-inning complete-game shutout for the Flames, his fifth win of the season. Delgado is 5-0, 1.06 ERA, 53 strikeouts for the Barons. Upcoming: at Auburn-Montgomery March 19-20, Savannah College of Art and Design March 23.

#9 Cal Baptist swept four games against Azusa Pacific, running their record to 22-5, 11-1 and first place in the GSAC. Taylor Siemens continues to lead the NAIA with seven wins. They play four games against #3 Fresno Pacific March 17, 18, and 20.

#10 Oklahoma City won two of three against #17 University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Both wins were lop-sided, and the loss was 5-4. The Stars also defeated Division II Southeastern Oklahoma State 8-6, on a two-run home run by LF/P Mark Purser. Chad Carman is batting .409 for the Stars, Garrett Regan is batting .408. Purser has pitched five scoreless innings, struck out nine, and is .310 at the plate. The Stars are 19-6, 5-1 in the Sooner Athletic Conference, and #1 in the NAIA in fielding percentage (.977). Upcoming: at Northwestern Oklahoma State March 18, Northwestern Oklahoma State March 20, Northwood (TX) March 23.

#11 Belhaven defeated Iowa Wesleyan 7-0, and swept three games against Tougaloo. Chris Bennett, Graham Upshaw, and Wade Broyles combined for the three-hit shutout against Iowa Wesleyan, and Bennett got his first win of the season. The Blazers then lost 4-3 (11 innings) to #2  Union U. (TN), and 5-4 to #5 Bethel. Upcoming: at U. of Mobile March 19-20.