This Week in Warrrior Athletics
Baseball: at West Coast Super Regional, Azusa, Calif.: vs. Azusa Pacific, Wednesday, May 16, 7:05 p.m.; vs. Azusa Pacific, Thursday, May 17 7:05 p.m.; vs. Azusa Pacific, Friday, May 18, 7:05 p.m. (if necessary).
Men’s and women’s tennis – At NAIA national tournaments, Mobile, Ala.: LCSC women vs. Auburn-Montgomery, Tuesday, May 15, 11 a.m.
Women’s golf – At NAIA national tournament, Tuesday, May 15-Friday, May 18, San Diego.
With one postseason title under its belt, LCSC will go after No. 2 this week when it takes on Azusa Pacific University in the West Coast Super Regional in Azusa, Calif.
The best-of-three series opens Wednesday and will have single games each day at 7:05 p.m. The second game is Thursday and the if-necessary game is Friday.
Although both teams already have qualified for the 51st annual Avista NAIA World Series, this is an intriguing matchup between the top two teams in the NAIA. The Warriors, 51-4 are the defending national champions and have been ranked No. 1 all season. Azusa Pacific, 49-6, has held down the No. 2 spot since late March.
LCSC is assured a berth in the World Series as the tournament host, while Azusa is guaranteed at least one of the two at-large berths should it fall to LCSC. If LCSC wins the Super Regional, there will be three at-large berths awarded, all to the top ranked teams that failed to win their respective Super Regional. Both Azusa Pacific and Spring Arbor of Michigan are the top two ranked teams outside of LCSC.
Ironically, Azusa Pacific will be making its first trip to the Series in 23 years. Its last appearance was in 1984, the first time the World Series was held in Lewiston. Azusa lost to LCSC in the championship game. That was LCSC’s first title and the program has gone on to capture 14 titles overall.
Prior to this season, Azusa Pacific had not won a postseason game since 2001, and the Cougars are making their first postseason appearance since 2003, which was coach Paul Svadis’ first year at the helm.
The Cougars are looking to win 50 games in a season for the first time in program history.
The two teams have one common opponent in California Baptist. Azusa Pacific went 3-1 against Cal Baptist, while LCSC went 2-1, but outscored Cal Baptist 34-12.
Both teams are led by infielders from Visalia, Calif. Catcher-first baseman Stephen Vogt leads the Cougars with a .478 average (96-of-201). He has 23 doubles, 14 homes runs and 68 RBI. He also has a slugging percentage of .811 and an on-base percentage of .584
LCSC third baseman Beau Mills is enjoying a phenomenal year as well. He’s hitting .462 (98-of-212) with 87 runs scores, 21 doubles, 31 home runs and 106 RBI. He has a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .551 on-base percentage.
The two teams also have aces that match up well. APU’s Jonny Bravo, a sophomore left-hander, is 11-0 with a 3.07 earned run average and one save. He has pitched 67.1 innings and has allowed 65 hits and 23 walks. He has struck out 52.
LCSC junior right-hander Chris Kissock is 11-1 with a 1.87 ERA and also one save. He has pitched 82 innings and allowed 67 hits and 24 walks. He has struck out 60. Kissock also is well rested because he didn’t pitch in last week’s regional tournament.
Azusa Pacific brings a three-game win streak into the Super Regional and has won 29 of its last 31 games. The Cougars are hitting .351 as a team and have outscored the opposition 520-235. APU has a team ERA of 3.68 and the pitching staff has allowed 129 walks compared to 368 strikeouts.
LCSC is riding a seven-game win streak and has won 31 of 33 games. The Warriors are hitting .332 and have outscored the opposition 537-153 this year. The pitching staff features six pitchers who have thrown at least 39 innings with ERAs under 3.00. The staff has a 2.27 ERA and has struck out 488 batters, compared to 142 walks.
Men’s and women’s tennis:
The Warrior women’s tennis team defeated Lee University of Tennessee 6-3 in Monday’s opening round of the NAIA national tournament.
LCSC’s reward? A match against top-seed and defending champion Auburn-Montgomery.
The Warriors will take with Auburn-Montgomery at 11 a.m., Pacific Time on Tuesday in the tournament’s second round. The top eight seeds in the tournament received byes on Monday.
The Warriors started off by winning two of three doubles matches, and then won the first three singles matches in claiming the win.
No. 1 player Maria Resende won both her singles and doubles match, as did Jamie Chad.
The Warrior men didn’t fare as well, falling to Webber International of Florida 6-3 on Monday. The loss ended the season for the Warrior men, who were making their eighth straight national appearance.
Cedric Dufour was a double winner for the Warriors. He teamed up with Ari Zaslow for the Warriors’ only doubles victory with an 8-3 win. He then swept his singles match by scores of 6-3 and 6-2.
LCSC’s other win came in No. 1 singes as Boria Molas claimed a 6-0, 7-6 win over Enrique Catter.
The Warriors’ downfall came in the third set of singles play where they lost all three third sets by identical 6-4 scores.
Webber International advances to meet No. 3 seed Embry Riddle of Florida in Tuesday’s second round.
LCSC is looking to improve on its seventh place finish from a year ago when the four-day NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship Tournament opens Tuesday at San Diego’s Lake San Marcos Country Club.
The 72-hole tournament will feature 18 holes each day on the par-72 course, which features tree-lined fairways and some water hazards. Twenty three teams and seven individuals qualified for the tournament in regional play.
Five individuals comprise a team, but only the top four scores each day will be used for the overall team score.
LCSC finished third in the Region I tournament and is ranked 10th in the final NAIA poll. The team took part in a practice round on Monday and later attended the tournament banquet.
“I think we are peaking at the right time,” says LCSC women’s coach Steve Tilden. “We need to be consistent in all four rounds to have a good tournament.”
The Warriors are led by sophomore Juanita Villa, who finished third at the Region I tournament for the second straight year. Junior Samara Kluever will be participating in her third straight national tournament as will Kara Player, who is the only senior on LCSC’s roster this year. The other two players participating at nationals are junior Chantelle Beveridge and freshman Cortney Shrout, who had a strong regional tournament and placed in the top 10.
“All of the girls have confidence in one another, which mentally is very helpful,” Tilden says. “Last year we placed seventh at the national tournament and the girls have set a goal to finish better this year.”
This is the third time in four years the women’s team has participated at the national tournament.