KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Concordia (Calif.) is the unanimous No. 1 selection in the second regular-season edition of the 2013 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office Tuesday. Last week, the Eagles garnered their first top ranking since 2012 despite just five of the 21 first-place nods. Concordia is riding the nation’s longest win streak at 25 straight games.
Cal State San Marcos, with 565 total points, stays in the No. 2 slot. The Cougars are 26-4 overall and have won 19 of their last 20 contests. Moving up one position is No. 3 Rogers State (Okla.). The Hillcats gathered 544 total points and hold the best win percentage (.968) in the NAIA with a minimum of 10 games played.
No. 4 Lee (Tenn.) falls down one spot from last week. The Flames posted 525 total points. With 510 points, No. 5 Williams Baptist (Ark.) improves two positions for its highest mark in school history. The Eagles are 21-1 on the year and have won 19-straight games.
The 25-game win streak for Concordia has been due in large part to pitching. The Eagles’ pitching staff is No. 1 in the NAIA in ERA (0.73), strikeouts (243) and opponent batting average (.135) and is led by senior Katie Cotta. She tossed her school-record fourth-consecutive no-hitter in the 6-0 win over Biola (Calif.) March 19. During its win streak, the Eagles have out-scored their opponents 226-20 and recorded 15 shutouts during that span.
No. 10 Corban (Ore.) is the biggest upward mover – sliding seven spots. The Warriors are riding a 10-game win streak, which includes a two-game sweep of then-No. 8 Oregon Tech on March 22. Conversely, No. 15 Oregon Tech and No. 20 St. Gregory’s (Okla.) both fell the farthest, down seven positions.
No. 25 Spring Hill (Ala.) is back in the Top 25 after a long absence. The Badgers were last ranked April 19, 2006 at No. 25. No. 24 Concordia (Ore.), who was honored earlier today with the NAIA Pitcher and Player of the Week, last was ranked March 22, 2011 in the No. 11 position.
William Jessup (Calif.) (No. 24) and William Penn (Iowa) (No. 25) both fell out of the Top 25.
Twelve of 21 conferences/independent/unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The Southern States Athletic Conference boasted seven within the Top 25 to lead the way: Lee, No. 7 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.), No. 9 William Carey (Miss.), No. 14 Brenau (Ga.), No. 17 Belhaven (Miss.), No. 21 Mobile (Ala.) and Spring Hill. The Sooner Athletic Conference claims four ranked teams, while the Cascade Collegiate Conference lands a trio of programs.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences/independent /unaffiliated groupings. The third regular-season Top 25 will be announced on April 2.
To view the complete NAIA Coaches Top 25 Poll, click here.
Notes: (all information dating back to 2000) No. 3 Rogers State (Okla.) and No. 6 Lubbock Christian (Texas) do battle Saturday in the only top-10 matchup this week in NAIA Softball… There have been 33 teams ranked in the Top 25 in three polls this year (which includes the Preseason Top 25)… No. 11 Oklahoma City leads all active schools with 84-straight rankings, falling no lower than 18th during that stretch; Lubbock Christian and No. 9 William Carey (Miss.) are tied for third with 47-consecutive mentions and No. 1 Concordia (Calif.) is at 38-straight polls… With its first preseason No. 1 ranking in history back on Nov. 12, 2012, Cal State San Marcos is looking to become the first team to be on top of the preseason charts and win the national championship in the same season since Oklahoma City did so in 2002… There were 38 different teams ranked in 10 polls last year… Last year, there were five programs to hold the No. 1 ranking: Cal State San Marcos, Concordia (Calif.), Lubbock Christian (Texas), Oregon Tech and former member Shorter (Ga.)… Since 2000, there have been 11 teams to be on top of the polls: Concordia, Cal State San Marcos, former NAIA member California Baptist, Lubbock Christian, Mobile (Ala.), Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma City, Oregon Tech, former NAIA member Simon Fraser (B.C.), former member Shorter and Thomas (Ga.)… Former member California Baptist leads the way with 46 all-time No. 1 appearances, followed by Oklahoma City with 20, Simon Fraser with 18, Thomas with 13, Concordia with eight, Mobile with five and Lubbock Christian with four.
** courtesy of Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications and Sports Information