Baseball Unanimously Selected No. 1 in the KCAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Oklahoma Wesleyan baseball has been selected No. 1 by the coaches in the KCAC Preseason Poll. The Eagles were unanimously picked after receiving all 10 of the first places votes.

Courtesy of the KCAC.

WICHITA, Kan. – The Oklahoma Wesleyan University baseball team was selected as the No. 1 team in the KCAC Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Poll, the conference office announced Wednesday. The Eagles took home the KCAC regular season title with a 22-6 conference record.

 

Oklahoma Wesleyan went on to host an NAIA Opening Round as the No. 1 seed, defeating Midland (10-5) and Indiana Tech (15-14) the first two days, before falling to Indiana Tech, 18-14, to force an if necessary game. The Eagles took the final game from the Warriors, 14-6, to move on to the Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series. Oklahoma Wesleyan lost two-straight games in the Avista-NAIA World Series, ending its season at 50-9.

 

The Eagles finished the season No. 9 in the 2017 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Postseason Top 25 Poll. Oklahoma Wesleyan returns the NAIA National Player of the Year, Christopher Acosta-Tapia, who ended 2017 leading the NAIA in doubles (27), total bases (208) and runs scored (89). He also ranked among the top 10 nationally in 11 other categories. Acosta-Tapia played a key role in Oklahoma Wesleyan’s first-ever Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference title and its run through the playoffs, including the program’s second trip to the Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series.

 

Tabor College was selected second in the conference after a 19-9 conference record and a 44-17 overall record last season. The Bluejays hosted an NAIA Opening Round for the second-straight season, going 3-2 as the No. 3 seed. Tabor Made it to the final game in the opening round but fell to Missouri Baptist, 9-6, to end its season. The Bluejays were led by first team All-KCAC selection, Jordan Harris. The Tulsa, Okla. native, earned NAIA first team All-American honors leading Tabor in batting average (0.447), hits (101), home runs (15), RBI (77), and slugging percentage (0.743). Harris ranked third nationally in hits per game (1.712), fifth in total hits (5), seventh in RBI, eighth in batting average, and ninth in total bases (168).

 

Friends University was picked third in the coaches’ poll after posting a 33-22 overall and 16-10 KCAC record last season. The Falcons went 0-2 in the KCAC Baseball Championship, falling to Sterling (6-8) in game one, and Oklahoma Wesleyan (7-14) in game two. Friends went on to the NAIA Opening Round as the No. 4 seed in the Oklahoma City bracket. The Falcons defeated College of Idaho, 5-1 in game one, before falling to Oklahoma City, 10-5 in game two. Friends defeated College of Idaho (9-6), but fell to Campbellsville, 8-6, ending its season. The Falcons recently receiving votes in the 2018 NAIA Baseball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll.

 

Senior catcher, John Gardner, returns for the Eagles and was recently named to the NAIA Preseason All-America team after finishing the 2017 season with a 0.390 batting average and leading the team in RBI (60), home runs (14), and slugging percentage (0.648). Gardner finished the season ranked 32nd nationally in total hits (83), 33rd in hits per game (1.509), 40th in total bases per game (2.509), and 43rd in home runs.

 

Institution Total    First Place Votes
1. Oklahoma Wesleyan University 72 10
2. Tabor College 63
3. Friends University 49
4. York College 44
5. Sterling College 42
6. Kansas Wesleyan University 18
7. McPherson College 17
8. Bethany College 6
9. Ottawa University 5
10. Southwestern College 4
11. University of Saint Mary 1