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Cougars Named World Series Top Seed

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Published
May 21, 2007
By
Joe Reinsch

AZUSA, Calif. -- The bracket for the 2007 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series was released Sunday afternoon, and Azusa Pacific received the top seed in the 10-team, double-elimination format tournament hosted by Lewis-Clark State in Lewiston, Idaho, marking the first time a GSAC school has earned the top seed at the NAIA World Series.

As 1 of the top 2 seeds, the Cougars will have a first-round bye, with their first action coming Saturday night, May 26, when they will take on the winner between Friday’s game between No. 8-seeded Lindenwood (Mo.) and No. 9-seeded Houston Baptist (Texas), in a 7 p.m. contest that wraps up the weekend’s action.

The Cougars, ranked No. 2 in the final NAIA Coaches poll and again in the NAIA’s Super Regional seedings, ascended to the No. 1 seed ahead of No. 2-seeded Spring Arbor (Mich.) and tournament host Lewis-Clark State. By contractual agreement with the NAIA, the host cannot receive higher than the No. 3 seed, which is where the Warriors were placed after their 3-game West Coast Super Regional series victory over Azusa Pacific.

“We all realize that Lewis-Clark State really deserves the top seed, but we are nonetheless grateful to the rating committee for putting us in this spot,” said Cougar head coach Paul Svagdis. “However, the seeding doesn’t really mean a whole lot to us. Patten, the lowest seed in our regional playoffs, came in and gave both teams it played very tough games, and once you get to a national playoff format, every team that has made it this far deserves a high level of respect. We will continue to treat each game the same way we have all season, and we know that we need to play hard and play the right way if we want to continue to be successful.”

The Cougars’ second game will be on Monday, May 28, at either noon or 3 p.m., depending on the Saturday result. If Azusa Pacific drops into the loser’s bracket, it will play the noon game. If the Cougars win their opening game Saturday night, they will play Monday at 3 p.m.

Azusa Pacific is fresh off a 3-game West Coast Super Regional meeting with Lewis-Clark State, which held the No. 1 ranking from wire-to-wire and had not allowed 10 runs in a single game in any of its 55 games entering the series. The Cougars bounced back from a 14-11 defeat in the opening game to post a 16-5 win over the Warriors that set up the decisive third game. Lewis-Clark State posted a 15-11 win to claim the super regional championship.

The super regional featured a Cougar offense that rewrote the program record books this season. In last week’s 3-game series alone, Azusa Pacific surpassed previous single-season team marks for hits, runs, home runs and runs batted in. Individually, 6 different Azusa Pacific single-season records have fallen to current Cougars led by co-GSAC Players of the Year Stephen Vogt, who broke the single-season hits and doubles records in the Region II Playoffs, and Scott Hodsdon, now the single-season record holder for home runs, runs batted in, runs scored and total bases. Hodsdon broke all but the RBI record in the super regional series, and he is also tied for the single-season shutouts record with 3.

The full bracket for the 2007 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series is available through this link, and full tournament information will be available through the official NAIA World Series website at www.naiaworldseries.com/.

The NAIA has partnered again with XOS Technologies to stream exclusive live video and audio of the 51st Annual Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series via the Internet. The NAIA and XOS will feature all tournament games through www.watchNAIA.com, a sports broadband video channel developed by XOS Technologies for the NAIA. The All-Tournament Pass is $23.95 and any single game may be purchased for $6.95.