Tuesday, May 9, 2017

More Conference Champions Crowned; Plenty More to Come

A couple more conference tournaments wrapped up, and a couple are currently underway as we speak as we inch closer and closer to the end of the regular season. Delta State, Winston-Salem State and Miles all earned conference tournament victories and therefore regional tournament nods, while the GAC and CACC are in the midst of their tournaments right now after preliminary play-in rounds. Not to mention, Tampa has wrapped up the Sunshine State Conference title and auto-bid, while Azusa Pacific claimed the PacWest crown and auto-bid.


First, here is a look at the conference tournaments which finished up or got underway over the weekend, including three champions crowned. Miles wins the auto-bid from the SIAC and should have the final seed in the South Region, while Winston-Salem State and Delta State, both teams expected to reach the regionals, do so by virtue of winning their tournaments, with Delta State even winning a game where they were down 16-3 at one point. One thing to note is that in the CACC, Felician, the only regionally-ranked team in the field, was eliminated in the play-in round, and therefore a team that probably would not have been considered for the East Regional will get in via the CACC Tournament. The top four seeds all advanced in the GAC Tournament play-in round:

Gulf South Conference Tournament, May 6-9 (Click for tournament website)
Champion: #1 Delta State (#1 S)

Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament, May 4-6 (Click for tournament website)
Champion: #1 Winston-Salem State (#6 A)

Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament, May 4-7 (Click for tournament website)
Champion: #1W Miles

Great American Conference Tournament, May 5-7 & May 11-13 (Click for tournament website)
Remaining Teams
#1 Southern Arkansas (#4 C)
#2 Arkansas Tech (#8 C)
#3 Arkansas-Monticello
#4 Henderson State

Central Athletic Collegiate Conference Tournament, May 6 & May 11-13 (Click for tournament website)
Remaining Teams
#2 Wilmington
#4 Chestnut Hill
#6 Dominican
#8 Philadelphia U.

And here is a look at the most recent PerfectGame.org Top 25 rankings and how they fared this past weekend:

1. Tampa (34-12, 17-4 SSC, #2 S): Tampa took two-of-three from Eckerd at home, rolling in the first two games, 16-0 and 20-6, before falling 11-5 in the series finale. The Spartans have wrapped up the regular season title as they are up by 2.5 games with only three games remaining, but the second-place team, Nova Southeastern, is done with its season, so the worst Tampa can do is finish a game ahead.

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 (41-8, 34-4 CCAA, #1 W): Chico's winning streak reached 13 games after winning the first three contests of the weekend at Cal State Monterey Bay, 3-1, 7-2 and 5-2, then fell in the weekend finale, 17-4. They are the top seed in the upcoming CCAA Tournament.

4. Emporia State (40-9, 29-6 MIAA, #1 C): The Hornets brought out the big bats with a three-game sweep of Southwest Baptist, 11-9, 12-1 and 15-4. They wrapped up the regular season MIAA crown and are the top seed in the tournament.

5. Mercyhurst (34-4, 21-3 PSAC, #1 A): The Lakers' final four games were cancelled due to weather, but they still wrapped up the PSAC West and are the top seed in their division for this weekend's tournament.

6. USC Aiken (38-11, 17-7 PBC, #3 SE): The Pacers finished up their regular season with a pair of victories at home, with a 6-1 win over Wingate and an 8-2 triumph over Catawba. They are the #2 seed for the PBC Tournament.

7. Colorado Mesa (40-10, 32-4 RMAC, #2 SC): CMU wrapped up its regular season with three straight wins on the road at Metro State, 20-2, 5-3 and 7-2, before falling 4-3 in the series finale. They are the top seed for the RMAC Tournament.

8. Dixie State (36-12-1, 25-9-1 PacWest, #3 W): Dixie has officially locked up the runner-up spot in the PacWest after dropping two of the first three to Azusa Pacific. The Trailblazers took game one of the D2 Diamond Series of the Week from Azusa Pacific, 6-4, but fell in game two, 2-0. After a 4-1 loss in game three, the conference crown was decided.

9. Lubbock Christian (36-12, 19-5 Heartland, #3 SC): The Chaps wrapped up the Heartland Conference regular season crown with a three-game sweep of Rogers State, 5-3, 13-2 and 12-7, to claim the top seed in the tournament by a game.

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 (39-11, 17-6 LSC, #1 SC): Angelo took three-of-four on the road at West Texas A&M, with a 3-0 victory, 6-5 loss, and then 13-3 and 9-7 wins to earn a spectacular come-from-behind regular season Lone Star Conference title and earn the top seed in the tournament. They entered the weekend 1.5 games back of the leaders, Texas A&M-Kingsville, but the Javelinas got swept in their regular season finale series and Angelo moved in front to win the crown.

12. Azusa Pacific (40-9, 27-8 PacWest, #2 W): APU claimed the PacWest crown by virtue of winning two of the first three contests over Dixie State. The two teams split the first two games, with APU dropping the first contest 6-4 before picking up a 2-0 win in the second contest, then followed with a 4-1 win in game three.

13. Nova Southeastern (33-16, 16-8 SSC, #3 S): The Sharks ended their regular season with a series victory over Florida Tech, with 7-6 and 11-6 victories followed by a 21-5 loss. They will sit tight and await the regional tournament seedings in the South.

14. Minnesota State (40-9, 35-5 NSIC, #2 C): MSU ended its regular season with a four-game split on the road at Augustana, with a 1-0 loss, 4-3 win, 6-5 loss and 8-3 victory. They easily claimed the top seed in the NSIC Tournament, however, winning the conference by six games.

15. West Chester (33-9, 22-6 PSAC, #2 A): The Golden Rams split four games with Lock Haven, falling 8-7 and 5-1 in the road doubleheader before claiming 11-2 and 8-3 victories in the home doubleheader. They earned the PSAC East championship and are the top seed in their division for the tournament.

16. Delta State (41-11, 25-8 GSC, #1 S): Delta State rolled through the Gulf South Conference Tournament, going 4-0 en route to a tournament championship. They beat Alabama-Huntsville (9-2), Union (6-1) and Valdosta State (19-17) along with a championship victory over West Alabama (6-3). The game against Valdosta State was certifiably insane, as Delta actually trailed 16-3 at one point in that contest.

17. Southern Arkansas (38-12, 28-5 GAC, #4 C): The Muleriders advanced to the tournament portion of the GAC finals, sweeping Ouachita Baptist, 6-5 and 14-2.

18. Florida Southern (33-13, 11-10 SSC, #4 S): FSC entered the weekend on a five-game losing streak, but came away with a three-game sweep of Barry, 7-2, 5-1 and 10-6.

19. UC San Diego (32-15, 24-13 CCAA, #4 W): The Tritons finished up regular season play with a series victory over Cal State San Bernardino, winning 19-5, 16-4 and 20-1 before an 11-3 loss to end the weekend. They are the #3 seed in this week's CCAA Tournament.

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 (40-7, 25-2 NE-10, #1 E): The Penmen swept through their final regular season games, with a 3-1 win over Franklin Pierce, and a three-game sweep of Merrimack, 6-2, 5-4 and 17-3. They then took down Bentley in the opening round of the NE-10 Championship, 2-1 in 10 innings, where they are the top seed in the Northeast Division.

22. Northwood (39-11, 26-6 GLIAC, #1 MW): Northwood won its first ever GLIAC baseball championship in style, rolling through a four-game sweep of Findlay, 1-0, 13-5, 8-4 and 7-4. They are the top seed in the upcoming GLIAC Tournament.

23. West Texas A&M (32-16, 13-9 LSC, #4 SC): The Buffs dropped three-of-four at home to Angelo State, picking up a 6-5 victory in game two, but dropping 3-0, 13-3 and 9-7 games outside of that. Due to that, they are the #3 seed in the Lone Star Conference Tournament.

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 (33-16, 24-11 PacWest, #5 W): CBU split the first two games of their season finale series with Concordia, taking game one 9-4 and dropping game two 7-6. The Lancers rebounded for a 5-0 victory in game three, with one more to play.

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