April 30, 2010

By Sara Weber
Special to NCAA.com


Last Week's Top team drops series, falls out of first in all three polls


Top-ranked Southern Arkansas suffered its first series loss of the season Sunday, as the Muleriders ended their regular season in a forgettable weekend with a 21-8 run-rule loss to No. 20 Delta State in Gulf South Conference action. The teams split Saturday's twin-bill, with the Statesmen taking the opener 16-6, before SAU rebounded to claim the nightcap 9-6 in extra innings.

Southern Arkansas (39-6, 18-2 GSC) had a good start Sunday when junior designated hitter Chris Harrison plated two runs with a double down the right field line, but Delta State (34-13-1, 13-7 GSC) responded with four runs of its own in the bottom half, highlighted by third baseman Josh Gordon's two-run home run.

The Statesmen then had their first seven men reach safely in the third as they piled on seven more runs for a commanding 11-2 advantage from which the Muleriders could never recover. Things got out of control after that as Delta State put up another seven-spot in its own half of the fifth and three more in the sixth to induce the mercy rule.

SAU will be the top seed in the Gulf South Tournament beginning Saturday, May 1 and running through Wednesday, May 5 at USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn. The winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and SAU needs to win in order to secure hosting the NCAA South Region tournament.

Tampa Sweeps Arch Rival Florida Southern in the South to Clinch SSC Title

With a sweep of then No. 4 Florida Southern Moccasins, then No. 2 University of Tampa Spartans clinched the Sunshine State Conference title for its 2010 campaign. The Spartans sit at 42-8 and an unmatched 21-3 SSC mark while the Mocs stumble to 37-10 and 12-6 in league play after dropping the Saturday doubleheader.

UT won the first game by a 3-1 margin and concluded the second game at 9-5 as the Spartans took the series. The Mocs, ranked third in the latest NCAA South Region poll, still have two more conference series left as they will host Nova Southeastern (31-19, 11-7 SSC) this weekend and go to Rollins (32-17, 13-8 SSC) next weekend (May 7-8)

New Number One: Central Missouri moves to top of NCAA-II poll, clinches MIAA title

University of Central Missouri (40-5, 32-4 MIAA) has climbed to the top spot in the new NCAA-II Poll released Monday. It's the first time the Mules have been ranked number one since Feburary 6, 2006.

The Mules, also number one in the NCAA-II South-Central regional ranking, completed a sweep of a four-game MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) series against Truman State, on Monday with a 21-3 victory. That victory, plus a loss by Emporia State to Washburn on Monday evening, clinched the MIAA regular season title for the Mules. The Mules will play Nebraska - Omaha (30-14, 26-10 MIAA) in their last regular season series matchup this Saturday and Sunday in Omaha, Neb. The Mules will also be the top seed in the MIAA Tournament May 6-9 in Kansas City, Kansas.

Central Missouri Outfielder Chance Tuttle Named MIAA Baseball Hitter of the Week

Tuttle helped the No. 2 Mules go 5-0 last week with two wins over Southwest Baptist at home and three wins over Truman on the weekend. He hit .667 (12-of-18) with 13 RBIs and seven runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Tuttle had three hits in each of the three wins against Truman, with a career-high six RBIs in game two, followed by five more RBIs in the third game. He had a three-RBI double, followed by a two-run homer in the second game, before hitting a grand slam in the third. The Mules took 5-3, 16-9, and 13-5 wins in those three games. Tuttle also had three doubles on the week to go with his two homers and two triples.

Regional Rankings Released Wednesday….

In the South Region


Despite ending the regular season in dropping two of three games at Delta State, SAU's in-region record of 33-5 ranks highest percentage-wise among the 10 teams in the poll. Nationally third-ranked Tampa (42-8, 34-8 in-region) is trying to catch No. 4 Southern Arkansas' heels, moving up to second this week after ending its regular season with a three-game sweep of seventh-ranked Florida Southern (37-10, 24-9), which slipped to third in the region. In the Muleriders' corner is the fact they won three of four games at Tampa in February.

Five Gulf South Conference teams hold five of the top seven spots in the region. Besides SAU, No. 14 Valdosta State (36-14, 28-13) and No. 30 West Florida (34-16, 22-15) remain fourth and fifth, respectively, while No. 18 Delta State (34-14-1, 27-12-1) and unranked Arkansas Tech (34-16, 30-13) switch places at sixth and seventh.

Sunshine State Conference members No. 27 Florida Tech (38-13, 23-12), Barry (29-16, 21-16) and Nova Southeastern (30-19, 20-19) round out the final three spots of the 10 ranked teams in the south region.

In the South Central Region…


Central Missouri still holds down the top spot followed by 2009 National-Runner-Up Emporia State (35-12, 27-9 MIAA). Emporia State visits Missouri Western State (22-19, 16-18 MIAA) for its final conference series this weekend.

In the East…


Kutztown(35-11, 16-8 PSAC) remains in the top spot in the Atlantic Region. Kutztown plays IUP in the PSAC tournament Thursday night and the tourney runs through Saturday, May 1 in Johnstown, Pa. Kutztown is ranked No. 15 in the NCAA-II poll, No. 14 in the NCBWA, and No. 13 in the PING poll.

In the West…

The other team ranked number one in this week's PING poll is UCSD (41-6, 31-5 California Collegiate Athletic Association). They sit at second in the NCBWA poll and the NCAA-II poll and are the top team in the West Region after sweeping rival Cal State Dominquez Hills (34-15, 24-12 CCAA) last weekend.

They travel to Northern California to take on San Francisco State (22-28, 15-21 CCAA) for four games to conclude the conference schedule and prepare for the CCAA Tournament. UCSD head coach Dan O'Brien needs one more victory for career victory No. 400. The Gators are much improved this season, sporting a 15-7 record at home, including taking 3-of-4 from Chico State this year. UCSD has been successful on the road, winning 15-of-16 games away from Triton Ballpark. The teams will play single games on Friday and Sunday, with a doubleheader slated for Saturday.

Gregorich Named Wilson/California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Player of the Week

UC San Diego first baseman Brandon Gregorich was named the Wilson/California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Player of the Week for the week of April 19-25. That was his second honor this season.

Gregorich, a senior, had a big offensive series against Cal State Dominguez Hills over the weekend. In helping the Tritons sweep the Toros and clinch the regular-season CCAA championship, Gregorich batted .600 (9-for-15) with eight runs scored, four doubles, a home run and nine RBI while recording a 1.067 slugging percentage and .684 on-base percentage.

In the Southeast…

Catawba Claims SAC Title


Ryan Bostian had four hits and six RBI to help Catawba claim the 2010 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament title with a 16-5 victory over Mars Hill on Sunday afternoon at McNair Field. The Catawba Indians, seeded third, claim its second straight tournament title and secure a berth in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region Tournament.

The Indians, ranked 26th in NCAA II, currently sit at 38-11 on the year. The second-seeded Lions fall to 29-17. Catawba is fifth in the Southeast Region and Francis Marion (38-11, 16-8 Peach Belt Conf) sits atop that region. Francis Marion will take on Georgia State & College (33-13, 17-4 PBC) in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament, May 8-9, in Aiken, S.C.

Notes…

With his second-inning infield single in Saturday's first game against Flagler, Armstrong Atlantic State senior outfielder Josh Wilson became the Peach Belt Conference's all-time hits leader with his 305th base knock, surpassing the 304 hits by Jason Morales of UNC Pembroke (2005-08). A Springfield, Ga., native, Wilson had two more hits on Saturday, bringing his total to 307 hits and also moving into the Top 15 in NCAA Division II history. Wilson is also chasing another league record as he is two doubles shy of the PBC's doubles mark of 69 (Clint Watters, KSU) - entering his final week of play, Wilson has 67 career doubles. … Kutztown University turned a triple play in its victory against Millersville last Friday.…Southern Indiana (35-12, 19-5 GLVC) remains tops in the Midwest Region followed closely by Grand Valley State (31-11, 21-8 GLIAC)…Southern Indiana concludes its season this weekend at Quincy…Grand Valley will end at Wayne State - both teams will play in conference tournaments the following weekend…Central Missouri becomes the fifth different team to stand at Number One in the NCAA-II poll.