ABCA Top 25
For the first time in the NCAA Division III era and likely for the first time in program history, Linfield has achieved a No. 1 ranking in the national polls, independently released early Tuesday morning by both D3baseball.com and the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Receiving nine first-place votes in the D3baseball.com poll, the Wildcats became the fourth team in four weeks to land the coveted, if volatile, top spot, leaping five places from last week’s Top 25 to unseat Salisbury. The Sea Gulls, who slipped to fourth this week, dropped two of three games over the weekend to unranked Capital Athletic Conference foe St. Mary’s (Md.).
In a clean sweep of the nation’s opinion, the ‘Cats vaulted from fourth to No. 1 in Week 2 of the ABCA/Collegiate Baseball Top 25, receiving five of 15 possible first-place votes to again replace previously top-ranked Salisbury.
Linfield is no stranger to the national scene in terms of both prestige and on-field performance. The Wildcats were ranked for nine straight weeks during the 2012 season, topping out at No. 2 in late February, and have made two NCAA Finals appearances in the past decade.
In all, Linfield has reached the postseason five times (2004, 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2011) since entering the Division III ranks, compiling a 15-12 record during that span. The Wildcats won regional crowns in both 2008 and 2010, and came close again in 2011, falling in the championship game to eventual national runner-up Chapman.
As members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, Linfield claimed the school’s first two national championships of any sport in 1966 and 1971.
Under sixth-year head coach and Linfield alumnus Scott Brosius, the ‘Cats have captured three Northwest Conference titles, totaled 176 victories (against 67 losses) and extended the program’s streak of 20-win seasons to 21 consecutive years.
Unranked and slotted third in the NWC coaches poll to start the year, Linfield has let its play do the talking, winning 16 of 17 games against Division III opponents since dropping its season opener to La Verne at the Arizona Desert Classic.
At the midway point of the Northwest Conference season, the Wildcats hold a two-game lead in the team standings with an 11-1 record against league foes and an 18-3 overall win-loss mark. Statistically, Linfield boasts the highest batting average (.326) and ERA (1.88) of the league’s nine teams, and ranks first in several additional categories.
Published weekly, the D3baseball.com Top 25 is voted on by a panel of 25 coaches, Sports Information Directors and media members from across the country.
NEXT: The ‘Cats play host to third-place Puget Sound (10-13, 5-4 NWC) in a three-game set. In a change-up from the normal conference schedule to avoid playing on Easter, the traditional Saturday doubleheader will be played on Friday, followed by a single game on Saturday. First pitch at Roy Helser Field is scheduled for noon both days.