NAIA recap for March 24

Southern Polytechnic retains #1 in Boyd Nation’s Iterative Strength Rating. The Hornets are 29-2, 6-0 in the Southern States Athletic Conference. The Hornets allowed two runs in three games against Southern Wesleyan. Blake Mainor, Hunter Dinsmore, and Ty Williams combined for a 9-0 seven-inning three hit shutout. David Hardin got his seventh win of the season in a 7-1 win; his ERA is 1.65, and he has 45 strikeouts. He remains tied with Taylor Siemens of Cal Baptist and Kelyn Schellenberg of Fresno Pacific for most wins in the NAIA. Upcoming: Shorter March 26-27.

Lewis-Clark State defeated Division III Whitworth 15-2, and #15 College of Idaho 10-7. In the C. of Idaho game, Brian Burke hit his tenth home run of the season. Burke also leads the Warriors with 30 RBI. Upcoming: at College of Idaho March 25, British Columbia March 27-28.

Andrew Firth#2 British Columbia swept four games at Concordia-Portland, and two of the wins were shutouts. Eric Brown, David Otterman, and Miles Verweel combined for the first shutout, and Sheldon McDonald and Taylor King combined for the second one. The Thunderbirds are 20-3, 14-2 in NAIA West play. Verweel is the team’s ERA leader at 1.42. Brown is 5-0, 1.74 ERA with 22 strikeouts. Freshman 1B Andrew Firth leads the team in hitting at .440. Upcoming: at Lewis-Clark State March 27-28, at Washington State March 29.

#3 Fresno Pacific split four games with #5 Cal Baptist. In the first game of the series, a 4-3 win for the Sunbirds, Kelyn Schellenberg got his seventh win of the season, and Taylor Siemens of the Lancers got his first loss, even though Siemens allowed fewer hits (4) and got more strikeouts (7). (The box score says that the weather was “beautiful”.) Schellenberg is 7-0, 1.23 ERA. The Sunbirds are 18-4, 10-4 and third place in the Golden State Athletic Conference. Upcoming: #19 Point Loma Nazarene March 27, at Sonoma State March 30.

#4 Union U. (TN) swept a double-header against Mount Mercy, 9-2 and 11-10. 2B Alex Turner was 3-3 with a triple and three RBI in the first game. Mount Mercy led the second game 10-5 after two innings, but the Bulldogs pulled it out in the fifth inning when CF Grant Luke batted in two runs with a triple, and scored on a single by pinch-hitter Josh Jones. Turner leads the Bulldogs in hitting at .424. The Bulldogs are 20-3, and start TranSouth Athletic Conference play against #8 Cumberland March 26-27.

Erik Wallace#5 Cal Baptist split four games with #3 Fresno Pacific. The best game of the series was a 4-1 win for the Lancers; RHP Erik Wallace pitched a complete nine inning game (114 pitches), held the Sunbirds to six hits, struck out nine. The Lancers got the winning run in the second inning when courtesy runner Luke Esquerra scored during a double play. The Lancers are 24-7, and are tied with #11 Vanguard for first place in the GSAC with a 13-3 record. Upcoming: at The Master’s March 25, The Master’s March 27, at Dixie State March 30-31.

#6 Bethel C. (TN) did not play this week. They start their TranSouth schedule March 26-27 against Trevecca Nazarene.

#7 Oklahoma City swept three games against Northwestern Oklahoma State, winning the first game 33-7, and outscoring Northwestern Oklahoma State 55-20 for the series. The Stars are 23-6, and lead the Sooner Athletic Conference with an 8-1 record. Upcoming: Rogers State March 25, at Rogers State March 27, at Bacone March 30.

Shawn Schaefer
#8 Cumberland defeated Georgetown College, swept a double-header against Davenport, and defeated Campbellsville. In the opener against Davenport, LHP Shawn Schaefer got his second one-hitter of the season, striking out six of the 16 batters he faced. The game was mercy-ruled after five innings, and Schaefer threw only 65 pitches. This win ran his record to 5-0, 1.07 ERA. He was named National Pitcher of the Week by the NAIA. Upcoming: at Union U. (TN) March 26-27.

#9 Lubbock Christian swept three games against Rogers State, 9-7, 3-1, and 4-2. Hunter Scott, Paul Gonzalez, and Tyler Rogers got the wins, and Scott got saves in the second and third games. C Joe Staley leads the Chaparrals in hitting with a .457 average and 36 RBI. Rogers is 5-0, 2.86 ERA, 35 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings pitched. Upcoming: Saint Gregory’s March 26-27.

#10 Belhaven swept four games against U. of Mobile, 3-0, 16-6, 9-4, and 11-6. Paul Faulkenberry and Wade Broyles combined for the shutout in the first game. Brandt Hinton got the win in the second game. Hinton is 6-0, 3.18 ERA, and Broyles is 1-0, 0.55 ERA with 24 strikeouts in only 16 1/3 innings pitched. The Blazers are 25-6, and lead the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference with a 16-2 record. Upcoming: #24 LSU-Shreveport March 26-27, at Delta State March 30.

The first NAIA Coaches’ poll of the season will be released March 30.