Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Conference Tournament Season Is Upon Us

Week two of conference tournament season is now upon us. Five conferences will at least begin their tournaments this weekend, with every other conference beginning their tournaments next week. In addition to that, we have what is essentially a conference championship series out west in our D2 Diamond Series of the Week. This is when things start getting real!


We begin with our D2 Diamond Series of the Week, where the PacWest will be crowning a champion in a de-facto conference championship. Below that, we have a couple other match-ups to keep an eye on, as well as the links to follow along with the handful of conference tournaments that will be waging on this weekend.

#8 Dixie State (35-10-1, 24-7-1 PacWest, #3 W) at #12 Azusa Pacific (38-8, 25-7 PacWest, #2 W)
PacWest Conference
Game One (Monday, 5/8, 4 p.m. PT): DSU Tanner Howell (1-2, 4.32) vs APU Michael Fairchild (8-1, 2.02) Live Stats | Live Video
Game Two (Tuesday, 5/9, 2 p.m. PT): DSU Preston Hannay (3-2, 5.12) vs APU Billy Oxford (9-1, 3.18) Live Stats | Live Video
Game Three (Tuesday, 5/9, 5 p.m. PT): DSU Dylan File (8-1, 3.45) vs APU Kale Morton (6-0, 3.47) Live Stats | Live Video
Game Four (Wednesday, 5/10, 12 p.m. PT): DSU Mason Hilty (9-2, 2.88) vs APU Dillon Miyashiro (6-2, 3.15) Live Stats | Live Video
(Projected pitching match-ups are based exclusively on prior series' rotations, and should not be considered official in any way.)

The PacWest is one of just two conferences in Division II which does not have a conference tournament. And as fate would have it, we have the two top teams in the conference facing off to end the season. By virtue of a tie on Dixie State's record, they trail Azusa Pacific in the standings by less than a half game. If there's a winner to this series, they take the conference crown. If there is a split, APU gets the title.

This is yet another match-up where things look even on paper. APU (.313 team BA, 2.93 team ERA) has a slight advantage on the mound, while DSU (.351 team BA, 3.73 team ERA) has a slight advantage at the plate. However, keep in mind that a lot of APU's damage at the plate has come from the hands of two guys, Pablo O'Connor (.407 avg., 15 2B, 16 HR, 61 RBI, .774 SLG, .471 OBP) and Adrian Tovalin (.377 avg., 11 2B, 18 HR, 65 RBI, .778 SLG, .455 OBP) are the two huge bats, while Dixie is led by Logan Porter (.397 avg., 14 2B, 8 HR, 64 RBI, .641 SLG, .510 OBP), but every starter in Dixie's lineup is hitting over .315.

It will be a fun series to watch early next week, that is for sure.

Here are some other match-ups we will be keeping an eye on, as well as links and seeds for the conference tournaments that are taking place this weekend:

#11 Angelo State (36-10, 14-5 LSC, #1 SC) at #23 West Texas A&M (31-13, 12-6 LSC, #4 SC)
Lone Star Conference
Game One (Friday, 5/5, 6:30 p.m. CT): Live Stats | Live Video
Game Two (Saturday, 5/6, 4 p.m. CT): Live Stats | Live Video
Game Three (Saturday, 5/6, 6:30 p.m. CT): Live Stats | Live Video
Game Four (Sunday, 5/7, 1 p.m. CT): Live Stats | Live Video

#4 Emporia State (37-9, 26-6 MIAA, #1 C) at Southwest Baptist (30-16, 20-13 MIAA, #7 C)
Mia-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association
Game One (Friday, 5/5, 3 p.m. CT): Live Stats
Game Two (Saturday, 5/6, 2 p.m. CT): Live Stats
Game Three (Sunday, 5/7, 1 p.m. CT): Live Stats

Southern Indiana (29-16, 19-5 GLVC, #4 MW) at St. Joseph's (31-15, 13-11 GLVC, #5 MW)
Great Lakes Valley Conference
Game One (Friday, 5/5, 3 p.m. CT): Live Stats
Game Two (Saturday, 5/6, 3 p.m. CT): Live Stats
Game Three (Sunday, 5/7, 12 p.m. CT): Live Stats
Game Four (Sunday, 5/7, 3 p.m. CT): Live Stats

Gulf South Conference Tournament, May 6-9 (Click for tournament website)
#1 Delta State (#1 S) (Pool A)
#2 West Alabama (#6 S) (Pool B)
#3 North Alabama (#7 S) (Pool B)
#4 Valdosta State (#5 S) (Pool A)
#5 Union (#8 S) (Pool A)
#6 West Florida (Pool B)
#7 Mississippi College (Pool B)
#8 Alabama-Huntsville (Pool A)

Great American Conference Tournament, May 5-7 & May 11-13 (Click for tournament website)
#1 Southern Arkansas (#4 C)
#2 Arkansas Tech (#8 C)
#3 Arkansas-Monticello
#4 Henderson State
#5 SW Oklahoma State
#6 SE Oklahoma State
#7 Harding
#8 Ouachita Baptist

Central Athletic Collegiate Conference Tournament, May 6 & May 11-13 (Click for tournament website)
#1 Felician (#2 E)
#2 Wilmington
#3 Post
#4 Chestnut Hill
#5 Bloomfield
#6 Dominican
#7 Nyack
#8 Philadelphia U.

Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament, May 4-6 (Click for tournament website)
#1 Winston-Salem State (#6 A)
#2 Chowan
#3 Virginia State
#4 Saint Augustine's

Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, May 4-7 (Click for tournament website)
#1W Miles
#2W Kentucky State
#3W Tuskegee
#4W LeMoyne Owen
#1E Albany State
#2E Benedict
#3E Paine
#4E Claflin

Here is what the most recent Regional Rankings look like, released on Wednesday, May 4th:

1. Mercyhurst
2. West Chester
3. Millersville
4. Seton Hill
5. Lock Haven
6. Winston-Salem State
7. Shippensburg
8. Slippery Rock
9. Shepherd

1. Emporia State
2. Minnesota State
3. St. Cloud State
4. Southern Arkansas
5. Missouri Western
6. Central Missouri
7. Southwest Baptist
8. Arkansas Tech
9. Lindenwood
10. NW Missouri State

1. Southern New Hampshire
2. Felician
3. Southern Connecticut State
4. St. Thomas Aquinas
5. New Haven
6. Franklin Pierce
7. LIU Post
8. Le Moyne
9. Pace

1. Northwood
2. Wayne State (Mich.)
3. Bellarmine
4. Southern Indiana
5. St. Joseph's (Ind.)
6. Quincy
7. Drury
8. Walsh
9. Grand Valley State
10. Missouri S&T

1. Delta State
2. Tampa
3. Nova Southeastern
4. Florida Southern
5. Valdosta State
6. West Alabama
7. North Alabama
8. Union (Tenn.)
9. Florida Tech

South Central
1. Angelo State
2. Colorado Mesa
3. Lubbock Christian
4. West Texas A&M
5. Texas A&M-Kingsville
6. Tarleton State
7. Arkansas-Fort Smith
8. St. Edward's

1. Mount Olive
2. North Georgia
3. USC Aiken
4. Catawba
5. UNC Pembroke
6. North Greenville
7. Belmont Abbey
8. Lincoln Memorial
9. Georgia College

1. Chico State
2. Azusa Pacific
3. Dixie State
4. UC San Diego
5. California Baptist
6. Point Loma
7. Stanislaus State
8. Cal Poly Pomona

And here is what the upcoming week holds for the most recent Division II Top 25:

1. Tampa (32-11, 15-3 SSC, #2 S): Tampa continues conference play with three games at home against Eckerd over the weekend.

2. North Georgia (40-8, 19-5 PBC, #2 SE): The Nighthawks will await the Peach Belt Conference Tournament, which begins on Wednesday (May 10) when they face Georgia Southwestern.

3. Chico State (38-7, 31-3 CCAA, #1 W): Chico takes its 10-game winning streak on the road to finish out the regular season, with four games at Cal State-Monterey Bay.

4. Emporia State (37-9, 26-6 MIAA, #1 C): The Hornets, featured above, are heading to Southwest Baptist to take on the Bearcats in three games to end the regular season.

5. Mercyhurst (34-4, 18-2 PSAC, #1 A): The final weekend of the regular season is on the docket for the Lakers, as they'll play a four-game split series with California (Pa.), the first two at home and the latter on the road.

6. USC Aiken (36-11, 17-7 PBC, #3 SE): The Pacers will finish up the regular season with a single game on Friday (May 5) against Wingate and on Saturday (May 6) against Catawba, both at home. They'll then head to the PBC Tournament, with a first-round match-up against Lander.

7. Colorado Mesa (37-9, 29-3 RMAC, #2 SC): The Mavericks will be taking their RMAC victory lap with four games on the road at Metro State.

8. Dixie State (35-10-1, 24-7-1 PacWest, #3 W): Dixie State is in a de-facto PacWest Championship series, as the top two teams in the conference without a tournament are doing battle. The Trailblazers are on the road to face #12 Azusa Pacific for four games Monday-Wednesday in our D2 Diamond Series of the Week.

9. Lubbock Christian (33-12, 16-5 Heartland, #3 SC): Three more regular season games to finish out the season for the Chaps, as they'll welcome in to town Rogers State.

10. Mount Olive (47-8, 25-2 Conf. Carolinas, #1 SE): UMO is sitting tight at home for a while until the final regional rankings are released. They should be comfortably in the top spot in the Southeast Region, and should earn hosting duties.

11. Angelo State (36-10, 14-5 LSC, #1 SC): Angelo heads to West Texas A&M to end the season with four games against the #23 Buffs, where both teams have an outside chance to chase down Texas A&M-Kingsville for the LSC crown.

12. Azusa Pacific (38-8, 25-7 PacWest, #2 W): As mentioned above, the Cougars are in a comfortable spot, taking on the PacWest-leading #8 Dixie State in four games at home to end the regular season, trailing by essentially a half-game. Our D2 Diamond Series of the Week should be a good one, as the two teams face off four times Monday-Wednesday.

13. Nova Southeastern (31-15, 14-7 SSC, #3 S): The Sharks are ending their regular season t his weekend at home, with three games against Florida Tech.

14. Minnesota State (38-7, 33-3 NSIC, #2 C): The Mavericks are riding a 10-game winning streak and end their regular season with four games on the road against Augustana, the #2 team in the NSIC.

15. West Chester (31-7, 20-4 PSAC, #2 A): West Chester ends its regular season with four games against Lock Haven, the first two at home and the second two on the road.

16. Delta State (37-11, 25-8 GSC, #1 S): The top-ranked team in the South Region begins Gulf South Conference Tournament play, where they are the top of Pool A and will take on Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday (May 6), Union on Sunday (May 7) and Valdosta State on Monday (May 8) before potentially playing in the title game on Tuesday (May 9).

17. Southern Arkansas (36-12, 28-5 GAC, #4 C): The Muleriders begin GAC Tournament play with a best-of-three series against Ouachita Baptist.

18. Florida Southern (30-13, 8-10 SSC, #4 S): FSC is on a five-game drought, but it is a little more understanding when you consider they were against Tampa and Nova Southeastern. The Mocs will try to get back on track this weekend with three games at home against Barry.

19. UC San Diego (29-14, 21-12 CCAA, #4 W): The Tritons will finish up the regular season with four games against Cal State-San Bernardino, the first two on the road and the final two at home. CCAA Tournament play begins Wednesday.

20. Georgia College (31-13, 16-8 PBC, #9 SE): Georgia College needs to make a big run in the PBC Tournament to get in to the regional picture. They'll begin the tournament on Wednesday (May 10) against Flagler.

21. Southern New Hampshire (36-7, 22-2 NE-10, #1 E): The Penmen play their final regular season games of the year at home against Merrimack, with a single game on Thursday (May 4) and a doubleheader on Saturday (May 6).

22. Northwood (35-11, 22-6 GLIAC, #1 MW): Northwood, the GLIAC leads by three games with four to play, need only a single victory for a share of the first baseball conference title in school history. They'll take on Findlay in four games at home this weekend.

23. West Texas A&M (31-13, 12-6 LSC, #4 SC): The Buffs will be hosting #11 Angelo State in a four-game series to end the regular season this weekend.

24. Belmont Abbey (33-17, 19-8 Conf. Carolinas, #7 SE): The Crusaders finished as the tournament runners-up in the Conference Carolinas Tournament, and will now be holding their breath as they wait word on if they will make the Southeast Regional Tournament.

25. California Baptist (31-15, 22-10 PacWest, #5 W): CBU will be finishing the regular season, and a late push to the postseason, with four games on the road at Concordia.

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