April 15, 2010

By Sara Weber
Special to NCAA.com

Triple Threat: Southern Arkansas No. 1 In All Three National Baseball Polls

For the second consecutive week, Southern Arkansas maintains its hold on the No. 1 ranking in all three national baseball polls (Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, PING!Baseball, National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association).

SAU's school record 24-game winning streak came to an end Tuesday as Louisiana State-Shreveport upset the No. 1 ranked Muleriders 12-4 at Pilot Field. It was SAU's first loss since a 6-5 decision to North Alabama on February 27 in Magnolia.

Mulerider shortstop Andrew Whittington (Texas City, Texas) also saw his Gulf South Conference record 37-game hitting streak come to its end. Whittington was hitless in four official at-bats, while drawing a walk and later scoring.

Houck named PSAC East Player of the Week For Third Straight Time

The weekly Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East Player of the Week honor should be renamed the Shayne Houck (Boyertown/Boyertown) Award. For the third consecutive week and fourth time this season Houck has been named the PSAC East Player of the Week.

Houck, sophomore third baseman, helped Kutztown to a 7-1 week and into a share of first place in the PSAC East as the Golden Bears took three out of four games from rival West Chester over the weekend. For the week, Houck hit .524 (11-for-21) with three home runs, 13 RBI, four doubles, a triple and 12 runs scored. He had a 1.283 slugging percentage and a .645 on-base percentage for an OPS of 1.883.

With his three home runs, Houck tied John Rozich's school record for home runs in a season with 12. His best effort of the week came in the second game on a twinbill sweep of East Stroudsburg last Wednesday as he went 3-for-3 with four runs scored, hit two home runs, his third multi-home run game of the season, and had six RBI in a 10-5 win over the Warriors.

He also went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI in the first game. In a non-conference doubleheader sweep of Wilmington, he went a combined 4-for-6 with three runs and three RBI. In the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against West Chester, his three-run homer helped lead the Golden Bears to an 8-2 win to split the doubleheader.

The Polls...

The top five positions in Collegiate Baseball's NCAA Division II coaches' poll remain unchanged, save for UCSD (34-5) moving up from fourth into a tie at third with Tampa (37-6). Central Missouri (30-4) remains in second, while fellow south region member Florida Southern (34-5) is still fifth.

Those four schools also round out the top five behind SAU in the PING and NCBWA rankings, with Tampa settling in second in PING and UCSD there in the NCBWA poll.

Kutztown Moves Up in Polls, First in Atlantic Region

The Kutztown University baseball team is ranked ninth in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Top 25 poll released Tuesday afternoon. It is Kutztown's highest national ranking of the 2010 season.

The Golden Bears (27-8 overall) have won 12 of their last 14 games to climb into the national top 10. Kutztown helped its efforts this past weekend by winning three out of four games against previously fifth-ranked West Chester.

The Golden Bears posted a sterling 7-1 week and climbed eight spots from last week's ranking of 17th.

Regional Rankings Released...

Kutztown also landed in first place of the Atlantic region as the regional rankings were released Wednesday.

Southern Arkansas is listed as first in the South, followed by Tampa (38-6) and Sunshine State Conference foe and former #1 - Florida Southern(35-5) in third.

Southern Indiana (30-8) is holding down the top spot in the Midwest followed closely by Grand Valley State (24-7).

The South Central has Central Missouri topping the charts at 30-4, followed closely by Abilene Christian at 38-8.

The Southeast region features mostly Peach Belt Conference teams as Francis Marion (31-9) heads the leader board followed by Mount Olive (34-8), the 2008 National Champion.

UCSD (34-5) is leading the West with Cal State Dominguez Hills (30-8) in second. UCSD remains second in the NCBWA poll and in a tie for third with Tampa in the Collegiate Baseball Poll.

The Central region features New Mexico Highlands (29-6) with Winona State (22-6) at second.

The mighty East features Southern Connecticut State (23-7-1) in the top spot followed by Adelphi (23-7). Adelphi also moved up in the overall poll to 16 in the NCBWA poll and a tie for 24 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

Francis Marion hurlers honored by Peach Belt Conference - FMU up to 8th in poll
After a 3-1 week that saw the Patriots win a Peach Belt Conference series against a Top-15 opponent, Francis Marion University moved up one position to eighth in this week's Collegiate Baseball Newspaper NCAA Division II Top 30 poll. Two FMU pitchers were also honored by the PBC for their efforts on the mound last week.

Senior right-hander Barrett Kleinknecht was named the PBC's Pitcher of the Week for April 5-11, while righty Don Sandifer was named the conference's Freshman of the Week.

Sandifer, a 6-1 native of Bamberg, S.C., beat North Georgia on Saturday 1-0. He tossed 7.1 scoreless innings while striking out three and allowing five hits and no walks. His season record remains perfect at 5-0 with a 2.39 ERA. He has not allowed a run in his last 11.2 innings, and with only four walks allowed in 49 innings of work, he ranks in the top 10 nationally for fewest bases-on-balls allowed.

As a team, Francis Marion pitchers have not allowed a run in the last 21.2 innings.

Looking Ahead and Back

No. 1 SAU (35-3, 14-0 Gulf South) gets back to league play in traveling to face Ouachita Baptist(21-19, 6-8 Gulf South)...

No. 2/3 Tampa (38-6) will host SSC foe Barry(25-13) this weekend. Tampa sits atop the SSC standings with a 17-1 mark while Barry resides at 8-7. Tampa lost its first conference game last weekend to Rollins (26-15, 8-7)...

No. 3/4 UC San Diego (34-5, 24-4 California Collegiate Athletic Association) returns to action this week with a home-and-home series against Cal State L.A. (16-21, 14-14 CCAA).

Over in the East, No. 16/24 Adelphi (23-9, 9-5 Northeast-10 heads to New Hampshire to take on Saint Anselm (9-20, 7-9 NE10). No. 23 Southern Connecticut (24-8-1) sits atop those standings with a 14-4 mark followed by N. 29 Franklin Pierce(23-10) at 11-4.