COMING UP: at No. 13 Lewis-Clark State, Friday, 6 p.m. (PT); at No. 13 at Lewis-Clark State (DH), Saturday, 1 p.m. (PT); at No. 13 Lewis-Clark State, 1 p.m. (PT)
LAST WEEK: at Northwest Nazarene (W 13-11)
LIVE STATS/LIVE AUDIO: Live Stats and Live Audio will be available for all four games this weekend at Lewis-Clark State. Live Stats can be accessed online at http://obt.lcsc.edu/live-stats/baseball/xlive.htm, while the 950 KOZE-AM radio broadcast in the Lewis-Clark Valley will be carried online at http://www.koze-sports.com with Brian Danner on the play-by-play.
NICHOLSON NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: For his efforts a week ago Monday vs. Simpson University, right-hander Taylor Nicholson (Emmett, Idaho / Columbia Basin CC) was honored as Red Lion-Cascade Conference Player of the Week. The junior was dominant in the 9-1 win, going eight shutout innings, limiting the Redhawks to just three hits and one runner in scoring position.
BIGGEST COMEBACK IN PROGRAM HISTORY?: After three innings on Tuesday, things looked bleak for the Coyotes, as Northwest Nazarene jumped out to an 8-0 lead, extending the margin to 11-2. However, The C of I did not quit – using a three-run fifth and a five-run sixth to get back in the game, using a two-run eighth to break an 11-11 tie for the victory. The nine-run deficit was the largest comeback by a C of I team since the 1990 season, when the Yotes trailed Eastern Oregon, 12-2, before a pair of five-run innings late helped the Purple and Gold to a 14-12 win. The key to Tuesday’s win was two-out hits, as all 13 runs scored by The C of I came with two outs, including the first 10 runs when rallies were started with two outs and no runners on.
BEST 23-GAME STARTS: Through 23 games, the Yotes have posted a 17-6 record this season – one of their better starts in the eight decades of recorded baseball history. The 1940 team had the best record through 22 games, going a perfect 22-0, while the 1997, 1998, and 2000 teams began 19-4. This season’s team, along with the 1996, 2001, and 2006 teams all have posted 17-6 marks. In the modern era, the best 30-game records are 25-5 in both 1998 and 2000.
OFF TO THE SITE OF THE WORLD SERIES: The Coyotes return to NAIA West play this weekend with a big series at Lewis-Clark State, their lone trip during the regular-season to Lewiston. The No. 13 ranked Warriors (18-5) have won 17 of their last 19 games, including a three-game sweep at Simpson over the weekend – with seven wins during the stretch coming by three or fewer runs. L-C has a potent offensive attack, hitting .313 as a team, with an NAIA West leading 24 home runs, as Alfonso Casillas (.364 6 HR 35 RBI), Trent Bridges (.379 4 HR 24 RBI), and Kyle Knigge (.385 2 HR 19 RBI) lead the attack. The Warrior arms are solid as always, led by the trio of Austin Pentecost (4-1 1.51 ERA), Anthony Armanino (3-0 1.99 ERA), and Michael Noteware (4-1 2.73 ERA). L-C won the only match-up between the teams this season, an 8-4 decision at the NAIA Desert Classic in February.
TRYING TO BUCK THE TREND VS. L-C: Over the past nine-plus years, the series between the teams has been one-sided, as L-C has won 59 of the last 64 meetings – though the Yotes picked up a 3-1 victory in Lewiston last season. During that extended period, games have been close, as The C of I lost nine of the games by one run and another five games in extra innings. The Yotes had their best efforts against the Warriors in 1999 and 2002, when the team claimed three victories over LCSC. Including the 8-4 win earlier this season, LC-State holds a 144-42-1 all-time series edge, dating back to 1940.
STILL IN THE GEM STATE: Since a season-opening four-game series in Arizona, the Coyotes have yet to leave Idaho over the past month and a half. In fact, The C of I will play 28-straight games in the Gem State before a trip to Oregon to meet Concordia at the end of the month. In all, 36 of the 54 games this season will be played in Idaho.
NAIA WEST / NATIONAL POLL: The NAIA conducted its conference and preseason national polls during November, with the Coyotes picked to finish second in the NAIA West. British Columbia earned top billing, followed by the Coyotes and Menlo, while Lewis-Clark State (which competes in the NAIA West schedule, but does not factor in the postseason), earned the top spot in their unaffiliated poll. Concordia was picked to finish fourth, followed by Simpson, Patten, Oregon Tech, and Corban. In the Top-25 poll, Oklahoma City earned the top spot – though five different teams earned first-place votes. Defending champ, Concordia (Calif.) was second, followed by Lee (Tenn.), Lubbock Christian (Texas), and Embry-Riddle (Fla.). Lewis-Clark State was No. 11 and British Columbia was No. 20, while the Yotes received one voter point. Two other Coyote opponents’ were in the tabulation – No. 17 Fresno Pacific (Calif.) and Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), which received votes. The first regular-season national poll will be released on March 27.
NAIA WEST TEAM STATISTICS:: Batting Average – C of I .330, LC-State .313, UBC .305, Simpson .279, Concordia .279, Corban .267, OIT .247, Patten .234, Menlo .215; Earned Run Average – L-C State 3.26, C of I 3.29, UBC 3.70, OIT 4.45, CRB 5.04, Patten 5.06, CU 5.24, Menlo 5.57, Simpson 7.58; Fielding Percentage – OIT .965, C of I .965, Menlo .964, Patten .962, CRB .961, UBC .961, L-C State .961, Simpson .955, CU .940.
RECORD BOOK: A pair of Coyotes have cracked the career record book nearing the midway point in the 2012 season. Izaac Garsez (Caldwell, Idaho / Caldwell HS) holds the career record for triples (22), while ranking No. 8 in stolen bases (51), and No. 9 in home runs (21). He is closing in on the Top-10 in at bats (506), runs scored (133), hits (176), doubles (31), and RBI (116). Chad Yeggy (Boise, Idaho / Centennial HS) is also among the career leaders, sitting in the No. 3 spot in saves (10) and No. 7 in appearances (65), while closing in on the Top-10 in wins (15) and innings pitched (166.2).
GAME RECAP – C OF I 13, NORTHWEST NAZARENE 11: Rallying from a nine-run deficit after three innings, The C of I scored 11 unanswered runs to stun rival Northwest Nazarene, 13-11, in Game 3 of the Canyon County Clash, Tuesday at Elmore Vail Field in Nampa. Three different Coyotes recorded four-hit games, as The C of I pounded out 18 hits to take a two games to one lead in the series. NNU jumped all over the Yotes in the first three innings, as an RBI single by Derek Bettinson and an RBI double by Fernando Robles in the opening frame helped the Crusaders to a 3-0 lead. The Division II school would extend the lead to 8-0 in the second, with Charlie Gorzo capping the frame with a three-run blast. After the Coyotes got an RBI single from Jarel Lewis (Boise, Idaho / Capital HS) and RBI double by Tanner Hodges (Sisters, Ore. / Mount Hood CC) in the third, NNU pushed the lead to 11-2 in the bottom of the inning on a Sean McDonald two-run single. While Taylor Nicholson kept the Crusaders at bay with three-plus innings of one-hit relief, the Yotes chipped away at the deficit. Two-out RBI singles in the fifth from Lewis and Jesse Dodd (Eagle, Idaho / Loyola Marymount U.), along with an RBI double from Hodges, cut the lead to 11-5. An inning later, Hodges cleared the bags with a two-out triple and Jeffrey Harris (Caldwell, Idaho / Wenatchee Valley CC) singled in a run, as the Yotes got within 11-10. Izaac Garsez tied the game in the seventh with a two-out RBI double, while The C of I took the lead for good in the eighth, as Zach Fabricius (Fruitland, Idaho / Treasure Valley CC) lifted a sacrifice fly and Brett Ward (Nampa, Idaho / Nampa HS) followed with an RBI single. Fabricius got the win, allowing just one hit in three shutout innings. Hodges went 4-for-5 with five RBI, Harris went 4-for-5 with two runs scored, and Garsez went 4-for-6 with three runs scored in the victory. McDonald went 4-for-6 with three RBI in the loss for NNU.
ABOUT THE COACH: The 2012 season marks the 25th year in The C of I baseball program for head coach Shawn Humberger, his 12th year as Coyote skipper. Last season, he led the squad to a 33-21 mark and advanced to the title game of the NAIA West Qualifying Tournament. During his tenure, Humberger has compiled a 382-246-1 record, including a third-place finish at the 2002 NAIA World Series and a trip to the 2010 NAIA National Tournament. He has been named CCC Coach of the Year on six different occasions (2002, 2005, 2006. 2007, 2008, and 2009), along with earning NAIA Region I Coach-of-the-Year and CCC Men's Coach-of-the-Year for all sports in 2002. A native of Twin Falls, Idaho, Humberger graduated from Twin Falls High, played for the College of Southern Idaho for two seasons, and played at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas for one year. In 1984, Humberger was part of the CSI national championship junior-college team. In addition, he was named to the 1985 Junior College All-America team. Humberger, a 1989 C of I graduate, also served as the facilities coordinator for the J.A. Albertson Activities Center for ten years, is a physical education instructor at the College, and coached Nampa's American Legion baseball program for eight seasons.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more information on The C of I baseball program, head to the official homepage of the Coyotes, http://www.collegeofidaho.edu/baseball.