NAIA batting champ Point Park ends year ranked No. 23 in final Top 25 Poll
First time since 1991 that Pioneers are ranked in final Top 25 poll for third year in a row
June 5, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. ET
PITTSBURGH -- The Point Park University baseball team, which led the country with a team batting average of .341, has ended the 2013 season ranked No. 23 in the NAIA Baseball Coaches' Postseason Top 25 Poll released Wednesday (June 5).
And with that, the Pioneers have achieved something that they had not done since perhaps the most successful period of the program in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
With its 39-16 overall record, KIAC Tournament championship and second-consecutive trip to the NAIA national tournament, Point Park is ranked in the final NAIA Top 25 Poll for the third season in a row. Not since 1991 -- when the Pioneers finished a stretch of five appearances in the NAIA World Series in six years -- had the program ended the year being nationally ranked for as many as three seasons in a row.
Point Park was also ranked at the end of the year for the three years from 1978-80 after the Pioneers made the NAIA World Series all three seasons.
Point Park was ranked No. 6 in the nation at the end of the 2012 season after making its 11th appearance in the NAIA World Series with a final record of 53-11. In 2011, Point Park ended the year ranked No. 23 in the nation at 38-13 but unfortunately was the first team left out of the NAIA national tournament at-large bids.
"It shows our consistency in our efforts to continue to compete nationally and keep Point Park baseball in NAIA national prominence," said fourth-year Point Park head coach Loren Torres on the three straight years in the final rankings.
"We feel good about the season we had in general," added Torres. "It was our first year in the KIAC. Winning the KIAC Tournament, winning our third straight conference championship and making it to the NAIA national tournament for the second year in a row shows that we are going to be consistent."
It was a banner year at the plate for Point Park, which hit an NAIA-best .341 as a team and had the NAIA individual batting champion in sophomore third baseman Jordan Crowell (.441), an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American.
The Pioneers ranked in the Top 10 of the NAIA statistical rankings in team batting average (1st, 341), runs per game (8th, 7.4), hits per game (8th, 10.2), RBIs per game (8th, 6.6) and total runs scored (10th, 408). Point Park was also in the Top 25 in total RBIs (12th, 365), total hits (20th, 559), slugging percentage (21st, .436) and fielding percentage (25th, .964). The Pioneers were 38th in team ERA (3.60).
"We are very proud to win the NAIA team batting title," said Torres, whose team has hit above .318 each of the last four years. "That is something that is tough to duplicate. We could hit for higher average next year and not win it. Those are things you take as they come and use them as reinforcement and loyalty to our philosophy and offensive approach at the plate.
"I am extremely proud of our players for being relentenless and competing at the plate. We talk a lot about putting pressure on the defense, but if there is one other thing we do offensively that plays a major role in this accomplishment is our effort to be competitive strong before we are technique strong. Hitting starts there. If one cannot compete, it does not matter how polished they are mechanically."
Point Park began 2013 ranked No. 6 in the NAIA Preseason Top 25 Poll. But the Pioneers started out 9-11 overall to drop out of the rankings. But on the strength of a 16-game win streak in April and at one point winning 29 of 31 games, Point Park battled back to get as high as No. 19 in the nation.
Point Park's 11 appearances in the NAIA World Series are fifth-most all-time in the NAIA. When Point Park reached the World Series in 2012, it was the first time there since 1998, snapping a 14-year drought. Before that, the Pioneers made the NAIA World Series 10 times in the 25 years from 1974-98 including eight of 14 years from 1978-91 and five of six years from 1986-91.
The Pioneers, who have an all-time record of 1,197-644-9 in 46 years of baseball, finished as high as third in the NAIA World Series in 1979 and 1986. Point Park's World Series appearances have come in 1974, '78, '79, '80, '86, '87, '88, '89, '91, '98 and 2012.
2012-13 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll – Postseason (June 5)
|RANK||LAST TIME||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Faulkner (Ala.) (20)||56-11||560|
|2||10||Lewis-Clark State (Idaho)||45-15||539|
|6||7||The Master’s (Calif.)||44-17||477|
|11||4||Lubbock Christian (Texas)||44-17||381|
|13||NR||Rogers State (Okla.)||36-24||341|
|18||11||Cal State San Marcos||35-12||257|
|20||22||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||45-20||224|
|23||19||Point Park (Pa.)||39-16||142|
Others receiving votes: William Carey (Miss.) 105; LSU Shreveport (La.) 99; San Diego Christian (Calif.) 81; Science & Arts (Okla.) 80; Ave Maria (Fla.) 66; Tabor (Kan.) 46; Indiana Tech 26; Taylor (Ind.) 18; Mayville State (N.D.) 13; Southern Poly (Ga.) 7; Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 3.