Dayton, Tenn. – The national office announced on Tuesday, Mar. 7, the first regular-season edition of the 2017 NAIA Baseball Coaches' Top-25 Poll, and the Bryan College Lions made a historic leap from receiving votes to the 14th team in the nation. The No. 14 spot is the highest the Lions have been ranked in program history, bettering their previous mark when the checked in at No. 15 last season.
The Lions picked up 270 voting points, one more than No. 15 Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.) and 25 less than No. 13 Louisiana State University in Shreveport. On Wednesday, Mar. 8, Bryan outlasted the Blue Raiders of Lindsey Wilson 7-6 in a 10-inning thriller to extend their win-streak to 12 while notching the fifth victory the Lions have had against top-15 teams.
Tennessee Wesleyan University remains the top-ranked Appalachian Athletic Conference school with an overall record of 14-7 and conference record of 3-0, holding down 10th place. Reinhardt University (Ga.) cracked the top-25 at No. 24, controlling a notable 23-4 overall record and 3-0 record in conference play. Bryan has improved to 17-5 overall and 3-0 in AAC action. Truett-McConnell University is on the radar with an overall record of 17-6 and conference record of 2-1, which is good enough to receive votes.
The Lions are batting .306 this season and own a remarkable .532 slugging percentage that ranks them 13th in the NAIA in that category. Of their 182 total hits, 30 have traveled over the fence, 32 have been doubles, and six were triples. Their average of 1.42 homeruns per game is seventh best in the country. Teams have had difficulty with Bryan's base running with the Lions compiling 53 stolen bases (ninth in the NAIA), averaging 2.52 per game to place 12th in that column. They have outscored their opponents 150-113. Their 150 runs scored put them at 29th in the nation.
Current AAC and Tennessee Sports Writers Association Player of the Week, Wade Weinburger (FR/James Cistern, Bahamas), has had an impressive season so far, ranking 13th in the NAIA in homeruns with seven, 14th in total runs scored with 29, 23rd in both homers per game and runs scored per game with 1.38, 43rd in slugger percentage with .803, 46th in total bases with 53. CJ Owens (SR/Oakland, Calif.) is even with Weinburger with a team-high seven homeruns. He ranks 8th in the nation in homeruns per game, 27th in slugging percentage with .841, and 50th in runs batted in per game with 1.25. Justin Morhardt (JR/Winsted, Conn.) has been dangerous at the plate, swatting .525 to rank 11th in the NAIA in batting average, 24th in slugging percentage with .852, 40th in total hits with 32, 45th in total doubles with eight, and 48th in total bases with 52. Morhardt leads the conference with his batting average and on base percentage at .633, is second in slugging percentage, fourth in hits, and third in doubles.
Up next for the Lions is a three-game weekend series at conference foe Truett-McConnell on Friday and Saturday, Mar. 10-11. Friday's game is slated to start at 2pm, and the first pitch on Saturday is set for 1pm.
For a complete look at the Bryan Lions Baseball schedule, click here.
For the complete top-25 poll, click here.