Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mt. Olive and Lincoln Memorial Punch Their Regional Tickets

It was a banner weekend for the top teams, as the top four squads in last week's PerfectGame.org Division II Top 25 rankings went 12-0, setting themselves up for a huge finish as we head in to conference tournament play. We crowned two tournament champions this past weekend already, and we will have a plethora of more tournaments waging war this weekend.


First, we'd like to recap the two conference tournaments which finished up play and have resulted in the first two automatic bids to the regional tournaments.

In the Conference Carolinas, #1-seed Mount Olive suffered an opening-round 9-2 loss to Pfeiffer, but rebounded for five straight victories, including two against Belmont Abbey in the championship series, to wrap up the crown and most likely their spot at the top of the Southeast regional rankings.

In the South Atlantic Conference, it was a redemption story from Lincoln Memorial. The Railsplitters began the year in the PerfectGame.org Top 25, but dropped out quickly after a 1-7 start to the season. Since then, LMU has went 32-10, and they capped it off with a perfect run through the SAC Tournament, There, the Railsplitters posted an 11-7 win over Tusculum, a 13-0 victory over Newberry, a 10-6 win over top-seeded Catawba, and a tournament-clinching 9-4 triumph over Carson-Newman. LMU will now wait to see where it is seeded in the regional tournament in a couple weeks.

Second, we had one no-hitter to add to the growing list this year. West Liberty's Parker Dyson twirled a gem at home to put the big "0" on the board:

April 29th
West Liberty (3) vs Fairmont State (0)
Parker Dyson - 7 IP, 0 H, 3 BB, 7 K

Beyond those two tournaments, here are how the most recent PerfectGame.org Top 25 fared this past week.

1. Tampa (32-11, 15-3 SSC, #2 S): The Spartans brought out the bats for a three-game sweep of Palm Beach Atlantic on the road, sweeping the Sailfish 14-9, 12-6 and 11-9. Tampa has a 2.5-game lead in the conference with six to play.

2. North Georgia (40-8, 19-5 PBC, #2 SE): UNG finished the regular season at the 40-win plateau with a three-game sweep of Emmanuel, 4-1, 27-3 and 18-2. The Nighthawks will have this weekend off before beginning PBC Tournament play next week.

3. Chico State (38-7, 31-3 CCAA, #1 W): Chico will enter the final weekend of the regular season on a 10-game winning streak after sweeping Cal State Easy Bay to claim the CCAA regular season crown, 5-4, 14-4, 10-4 and 8-7.

4. Emporia State (37-9, 26-6 MIAA, #1 C): The Hornets lead the MIAA by three games after beating NW Missouri State 10-4 and 15-5 in the two games they were able to get on the field for. There's only three games left to play, so a victory can lock up the regular season crown.

5. Mercyhurst (34-4, 18-2 PSAC, #1 A): 'Hurst dropped the first game of the weekend against Pitt-Johnstown, 7-6, but rebounded for 12-0, 11-2 and 13-2 victories to finish the series. The Lakers have clinched the top spot in the PSAC West, and lead the entire conference by one game over West Chester.

6. USC Aiken (36-11, 17-7 PBC, #5 SE): The Pacers picked up two victories over Chowan over the weekend, 14-0 and 10-3.

7. Lubbock Christian (33-12, 16-5 Heartland, #3 SC): The Chaps were only able to win one-of-three on the road at Arkansas-Fort Smith, winning the middle contest 5-2, wrapped around 5-0 and 4-3 losses to create a logjam at the top of the Heartland Conference. LCU and St. Mary's are now tied at 16-5, with UAFS at 15-6 just behind them.

8. Colorado Mesa (37-9, 29-3 RMAC, #2 SC): CMU pushed its winning streak to 22 games with a series-opening victory against Colorado Mines, 7-5, but the Mavs dropped game two, 8-5, before ending the weekend with 13-4 and 8-7 victories.

9. Mount Olive (47-8, 25-2 Conf. Carolinas, #1 SE): UMO came back from a loss to open the Conference Carolinas Tournament, a 9-2 setback to Pfeiffer, with five straight victories to take the tournament crown. The Trojans beat Erskine (9-2), North Greenville (6-3) and Pfeiffer (16-2) before sweeping Belmont Abbey in the championship series, 6-1 and 5-4. They will await the seeding for the regional tournament, where they should be the top seed and hosts.

10. Dixie State (35-10-1, 24-7-1 PacWest, #3 W): The Trailblazers were off over the weekend as they recovered from their eight-game Hawaii road trip, where they went 6-1-1.

11. Angelo State (36-10, 14-5 LSC, #1 SC): The Rams padded their conference record with a four-game sweep of UT-Permian Basin, 15-1, 12-1, 4-2 and 8-5, but remain 1.5 games out of the lead with four games to play.

12. Azusa Pacific (38-8, 25-7 PacWest, #2 W): APU picked up a huge series sweep of Concordia, 7-4, 11-6, 11-1 and 12-1, and lead the PacWest by the slimmest of margins.

13. Florida Southern (30-13, 8-10 SSC, #3 S): The Mocs got caught with a three-game sweep at the hands of #17 Nova Southeastern, as FSC fell 9-8, 7-2 and 13-8 over the weekend to the Sharks.

14. UC San Diego (29-14, 21-12 CCAA, #4 W): The Tritons only picked up a victory in the series-opener against Cal State Los Angeles, 9-3. UCSD dropped the final three games of the weekend, 8-7, 9-4 and 2-1, and two games behind the lead in the CCAA South.

15. Southern Arkansas (36-12, 28-5 GAC, #5 C): SAU ended the regular season with a series victory over Arkansas-Monticello, as the Muleriders picked up 13-12 and 14-2 wins before falling 15-4 to end the weekend.

16. Delta State (37-11, 25-8 GSC, #1 S): The Statesmen ended the regular season with a series victory over Mississippi College. Delta State dropped the opener, 10-3, but came back for 13-2 and 5-2 wins in the final two games of the weekend.

17. Nova Southeastern (31-15, 14-7 SSC, #4 S): The Sharks picked up a big series sweep over #13 Florida Southern, 9-8, 7-2 and 13-8, and trail the conference-leading Tampa Spartans by 2.5 games with three to play.

18. Georgia College (31-13, 16-8 PBC, #8 SE): Georgia College took a surprisingly series loss on the road at Auburn-Montgomery, only winning the series finale, 5-2. They dropped the first two games of the weekend, 5-1 and 3-2.

19. Minnesota State (38-7, 33-3 NSIC, #2 C): MSU has claimed the regular season NSIC crown, as it is now leading the conference by six games with four to play after a four-game sweep of Upper Iowa, 17-7, 6-4, 3-0 and 12-2.

20. West Chester (31-7, 20-4 PSAC, #2 A): The Golden Rams rolled through a four-game sweep of Mansfield, 5-4, 4-0, 9-3 and 4-1, then picked up a 9-5 victory on the road at Wilmington. They have a four-game lead in the PSAC East with four to play, and trail Mercyhurst by only one game for the overall lead in the conference.

21. Northwood (35-11, 22-6 GLIAC, #1 MW): Northwood split a four-game series with Ohio Dominican at home, alternating wins and losses, with a 10-2 loss, 9-4 win, 3-0 loss, and 13-6 win over the weekend. The Timberwolves lead the GLIAC by three games with four games to play, as they search for their school's first GLIAC baseball title ever, regular-season or tournament.

22. West Texas A&M (31-13, 12-6 LSC, #4 SC): The Buffs split our D2 Diamond Series of the Week, picking up 4-2 and 6-1 victories over Texas A&M-Kingsville before dropping the final two contests, 7-6 and 3-2. The Buffs trail the conference-leading Javelinas by four games with four to play.

23. Central Missouri (30-15, 21-12 MIAA, #3 C): The Mules got swept at the hands of Missouri Western, 4-3, 8-7 and 9-3.

24. Belmont Abbey (33-17, 19-8 Conf. Carolinas, #7 SE): Abbey is on the regional tournament bubble, and the Crusaders reached the Conference Carolinas Tournament championship series, but will have to hold tight to see if it will be enough. The Crusaders beat Barton (5-3), North Greenville (22-12), and Pfeiffer (11-9) to reach the championship series, before falling to Mount Olive in two straight games, 6-1 and 5-4, as UMO captured the tournament crown.

25. Southern New Hampshire (36-7, 22-2 NE-10, #1 E): SNHU wrapped up a perfect week of play, and the Penmen are on an 11-game winning streak. SNHU beat Saint Michael's in a doubleheader, 6-5 and 6-2, swept three games from Assumption, 12-6, 5-4 and 14-4, then picked up a single game victory over Franklin Pierce, 3-1. The Penmen have wrapped up the best overall NE-10 record with a five-game lead and only three to play, and they lead the NE-10 Northeast division-specific record by two games.

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